book review

Book Review: Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson

“I’m fucking done with sadness, and I don’t know what’s up the ass of the universe lately but I’ve HAD IT. I AM GOING TO BE FURIOUSLY HAPPY, OUT OF SHEER SPITE.

Poignant and upliffting during the chapters where she speaks of her mental illnesses and the struggle that accompanies them, but utterly lacking in all other aspects this book was just a tad bit disappointing. The part of me that connected with those chapters on mental illness will tell you she loved this. The part of me that struggled through the other chapters will tell you this was a disappointing read. I think the problem was that I went into it expecting for it to be a full book of those chapters and that’s where it ended up falling flat for me.

Highlighting the negatives first, I’ve no idea if Jenny Lawson is 100% the person found in these pages of the book so I don’t want to judge her too badly, but at one point it stopped being funny and started feeling much like I was reading furiously happy.jpegabout an incredibly exaggerated character rather than a real person. She just does not shine or come across very well in the chapters where she’s not solely focusing on speaking about her mental illnesses. The trip to Australia chapter is the one that had me put the book down for a week or so because I just couldn’t deal with how whiny she came across.

Then a few days ago I decided to pick it up again, but this time in audiobook thinking that it might be better and dear God was I wrong. Her voice was so incredibly grating and legitimately sounds like a stereotypical teenage girl. I only powered through the rest of the audiobook because I sure as hell was not going to sit down and read the rest of the book when I could very well be getting chores done while listening to it instead. And of course, in those chapters that were heavy I sat down and read along and cried and forgot all about the things I didn’t like about the book.

Despite the problems I had, it was still a solid read and that’s because those chapters that didn’t annoy the crap out of me hit really close to home. I have so many quotes underlined that made me feel understood. Things that I’d never been able to put into words were suddenly right there in front of me phrased perfectly. Things that I’d thought about and said before that people around me didn’t understand were validated.

I’ve made it no secret on this blog that I suffer from mental illnesses. My diagnosis in full is that of generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, depression, and a mild social anxiety disorder (I’ve done a lot of exposure therapy that’s helped reduce it) so this book despite it all meant a lot to me. I don’t usually delve into books about mental illness because I’m afraid that it might trigger me and it took two years after purchasing this book for me to pluck up the courage to read it, but I’ve never been so glad I did. No book out there has made me feel the way this one has about my mental health and that’s why it was still a success to me.

It’s important to talk about mental illness. It’s important to fight the stigma surrounding the topic and to have conversations like the one in this book to help people know that their feelings and their struggles are validated. It’s important to speak about suicide and suicidal thoughts openly. It’s important to normalize conversations about mental health so people feel trusting in speaking out about these issues and are more likely to not feel ashamed about finding help. I may not have enjoyed several aspects of this book, but the aspects of it that resonated with me were all that mattered in the end.

At the end of the day it was a 3.5 star rating for me. It could have easily been a 4 or 4.5, but unfortunately I can’t just base my rating on the things that I did enjoy and disregard the things that left me feeling disappointed.

If you don’t mind a little humor thrown in when speaking about mental illnesses I’d say give this book a shot. It’s slow in places, but in the places where it’s not I’m sure you’ll find yourself within its pages just like I did.

To everyone out there fighting this battle, I stand with you. And just like how I’m rooting for myself, I’m rooting for you ❤️

Bonus: Favorite Quotes!

  • “I’ve often thought that people with severe depression have developed such a well for experiencing extreme emotion that they might be able to experience extreme joy in a way that “normal” people might also never understand, and that’s what FURIOUSLY HAPPY is all about.” Pg. xviii
  • “I survived and I remind myself that each time we go through this, we get a little stronger. We learn new tricks on the battlefield. We learn them in terrible ways, but we use them. We don’t struggle in vain.” Pg. xxi
  • “I know that when my anxiety attacks hit, my body isn’t actually going to kill me, in spite of how it feels. I know that when I get suicidal thoughts stuck in my head I have to tell someone else who can help because depression is a cunning manipulator. I know that depression lies to you.” Pg. 46
  • “You’re supposed to be sad when things are shitty, but if you’re sad when you have everything you’re supposed to want? That’s utterly terrifying.” Pg. 240

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