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

5 Stars and a tremendous Thank You to the author.

As someone who has very dear loved ones with various different forms of mental illness but having never truly suffered from it myself, this book was a window into their world.  A way to give me a small sample of what they deal with on a daily basis and how real the struggle is to just even appear to be normal and have their shit together.  To hope that they too have the strength to own their crazy and be okay with it.  To remember that this world is so much better with them in it and there may be easier ways but they definitely won’t be better.

The author talks about being furiously happy.  Taking those moments where the depression and anxiety are somewhat dormant and testing the limits and doing things that she may have never otherwise done just to say that she’s taking control of her life and is going to make memories of happy times and fun things so that when she’s in the depths of darkness, she can look back on things like having Rory the grinning stuffed raccoon ride her cats in an amazing cat rodeo and see that little glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel.  Full disclosure…I want to meet Rory and Rory II, they sound like they would be awesome to hang out with.

There’s an amazing section where the author includes an appendix in the middle of the book.  This appendix is an interview with the author where she’s interviewed by her husband.  The interaction is hilarious but her insight and her ability to make a ‘normal’ person understand what she and others face on a daily basis is just astounding.  I can only hope that I can take some of what I’ve learned by reading this book and using it to help myself understand those who I know are suffering with similar problems and do everything I can to help.  Even if that means letting them curl up in a ball and hide in their room, shutting out the world.  And that’s okay.

I think that she has an amazing voice and it’s very clear that this book, while absolutely hilarious, is also one person’s story about their own mental illness.  Something that’s been treated with so much stigma that most people hide it away and never tell anyone about it.  I would recommend this book to anyone who suffers from mental illness, cares for someone who suffers or just wants to know more about what life is like having to live in a body that constantly lies to you and wants you to harm yourself and just give up.  There is plenty of laughter (the people on the bus looked at me funny) and plenty of times where you just want to reach through and give her a hug.

The epilogue was incredibly emotional and it’s definitely a section I will find myself reading from time to time because it truly is that poignant.  The final words are probably one of the strongest statements I’ve ever read.  “Sometimes we walk in sunlight with everyone else.  Sometimes we live underwater and fight and grow.  And sometimes…sometimes we fly.”

I can’t recommend this book highly enough.  I’m actually getting copies for those loved ones that I mentioned.  They may or may not read it, but if they do, it will remind them that they are not alone.  That there are other people out there who understand, who know what they go through on a daily basis.  They don’t have to feel bad or broken.  They can own their crazy and be furiously happy because of and in spite of it.

Now where can I find a koala jumpsuit…


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Filed under Biography/Memoir, Humor