Taxidermy monstrosities. Fainting spells in the stirrups at the gynecologist’s office. Wild adventures in the Australian Outback while dressed in a full kangaroo furry suit. Chronic illness, both mental and physical.
What do all these things have in common? They’re all part of the day-to-day life of Jenny Lawson, aka The Bloggess. Furiously Happy, the highly anticipated follow up to her first NY Times best-selling memoir Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, is a joyfully funny book for both old and new fans.
Depression sucks, and lies. So does anxiety. Lawson never shies from either of these realities. But Furiously Happy is her commitment and call-to-action, a refusal to let either condition triumph. Full of whimsy and slice-of-life vignettes from a wonderfully bizarre woman, this memoir is at times poignant, at others silly, and often a hearty combination of both.
Furiously Happy was borne of a moment when Lawson, already having had a tough year, was handed a letter explaining that one of her close friends had died. At a cross-roads, she decided she could either surrender to despair or declare a fierce fuck-you to the abyss and make a concerted effort to not just survive but be furiously happy.
Most of my favorite people are dangerously fucked-up but you’d never guess because we’ve learned to bare it so honestly that it becomes the new normal. Like John Hughes wrote in The Breakfast Club, ‘We’re all pretty bizarre. Some of us are just better at hiding it.’ Except go back and cross out the word ‘hiding.'”
Furiously Happy is about “taking those moments when things are fine and making them amazing, because those moments are what make us who we are, and they’re the same moments we take into battle with us when our brains declare war on our very existence. It’s the difference between “surviving life” and “living life”. It’s the difference between “taking a shower” and “teaching your monkey butler how to shampoo your hair.” It’s the difference between being “sane” and being “furiously happy.
As someone who suffers from both depression and severe, almost crippling social anxiety, I feel infinitely less alone and like a carnival side show when I realize that so many people read and relate to struggles like hers. And it helps immensely to be able to point to a book that tackle the subject with so much humor and good will when people who don’t suffer from mental illness want to get a better understanding.