Friday, 13 May 2016

Review: Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things by Jenny Lawson

Title: Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things
Author: Jenny Lawson
Publisher: Picador
Pages: 256
Genres: Non Fiction, Memoir

Furiously Happy
In Let's Pretend This Never Happened, Jenny Lawson regaled readers with uproarious stories of her bizarre childhood. In her new book, Furiously Happy, she explores her lifelong battle with mental illness. A hysterical, ridiculous book about crippling depression and anxiety? That sounds like a terrible idea. And terrible ideas are what Jenny does best.

As Jenny says: "You can't experience pain without also experiencing the baffling and ridiculous moments of being fiercely, unapologetically, intensely and (above all) furiously happy." It's a philosophy that has – quite literally – saved her life.

Jenny's first book, Let's Pretend This Never Happened, was ostensibly about family, but deep down it was about celebrating your own weirdness. Furiously Happy is a book about mental illness, but under the surface it's about embracing joy in fantastic and outrageous ways. And who doesn't need a bit more of that?
Jenny Lawson fearlessly discusses her struggles with mental health through this humorous collection of anecdotes and other assorted randomness. I had never heard of Jenny before reading this book but she is has such a unique voice; I found myself bursting out into laughter on several occasions. To be honest I did find the insanity just a bit draining at times and I felt sorry for Victor. I could not live with with her that's for sure!

Most of the stories were completely random and didn't really relate to each other which I don't think really worked for me personally; I felt like after a hundred pages It was beginning to feel like too much of a good thing. I think I may have enjoyed this book more if I had read her first book, Let's Pretend This Never Happened as I would have had more background information because I had a lot of questions such as, why does she like taxidermy so much? I don't think I'll ever understand it.

As for the stories themselves, I really appreciated an inside look into Jenny's everyday life. She writes with such candid frankness about dealing with depression, anxiety, arthritis and at times her humour felt a bit forced and I found myself wondering whether she acts so outlandishly in order to write about it later. Despite this I still think that Furiously Happy was thoroughly enjoyable, and has motivated me to read her first book ASAP.


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