"In Furiously Happy, #1 New York Times bestselling author Jenny Lawson explores her lifelong battle with mental illness. A hysterical, ridiculous book about crippling depression and anxiety? That sounds like a terrible idea. But terrible ideas are what Jenny does best.As Jenny says: "Some people might think that being 'furiously happy' is just an excuse to be stupid and irresponsible and invite a herd of kangaroos over to your house without telling your husband first because you suspect he would say no since he's never particularly liked kangaroos. And that would be ridiculous because no one would invite a herd of kangaroos into their house. Two is the limit. I speak from personal experience. My husband says that none is the new limit. I say he should have been clearer about that before I rented all those kangaroos. "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."Lawson is beloved around the world for her inimitable humor and honesty, and in Furiously Happy, she is at her snort-inducing funniest. This is a book about embracing everything that makes us who we are - the beautiful and the flawed - and then using it to find joy in fantastic and outrageous ways. Because as Jenny's mom says, "Maybe 'crazy' isn't so bad after all." Sometimes crazy is just right"--
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Those coming to this book expecting a repeat of Let's Pretend This Never Happened may be surprised by this volume, which definitely includes lots of Lawson's wacky and hilarious stories, but also gets really real about her struggles with mental illness. This honesty definitely gives a different feel to her zany adventures. But in a good way. It will probably also give you a new appreciation for therapists, twitter, and taxidermy.
The kind of book you'll want to read aloud to everyone around you, but makes it very difficult because you'll be laughing too hard.
I shoulda known though. Jenny Lawson is The Bloggess. What works reading occasionally when someone posts a link to a particularly clever or silly blog post does not work
It doesn't help that most of her silliness just isn't all that clever. Here's an example: "If the plural of “octopus” is “octopi” then why isn’t the plural of “rabbit” “rabbi”? Is it just because “octopuses” is too much fun to say?"
Or the extended story about how she woke up unable to move either arm because she'd cut off circulation to them. And then hides on the floor where she's fallen because that's easier than just telling her husband that her arms are temporarily numb.
I mean, whatever gets her through her day is fine with me. But the overall effect of what I read is much like when people decide their dreams are a riveting story they have to tell you. My nightmares are goddamn scary to me, but boring to anyone else.
I set it aside about 15% through.
I recommended this book to my bi-monthly book club and so we have our meeting about it at the
This boowas both not what I expected and also what I expected all rolled into one hilariously deep book about mental illness and Lawson. I expected the humor and tales about Lawson and her life, I expected the chat about mental illness, I did not expect for it to be just what I needed when I read it.
She embraces her issues in a way that is comforting and writes about them in a way that is both encouraging and impressionable. What I think is really great about this book is that it is a little bit of everything- humor in the weird, sad, and ill but also an attempt to help others in a fun way.
Like I mentioned, this was both hilarious and deep and that juxtaposition really makes this book what it is - you get the Bloggess but you also get a self -help book (or a book that helps you understand - because we know everyone reading is not as messed up as we are, but could always learn more about illness). Some of the stories are a bit much and some hit very close to home. I really enjoyed it a lot and recommend it if you read her previous book and enjoyed it, enjoy her blog, or if you just need a pick me up.
I read online that some people read it and didn't 'get it' and as much as that upsets me, I also understand. This book will not be for everyone. If you suffer with mental illness I think that you will 'get it'; if you don't, it may be a bit overwhelming and over the top (but that also probably mean you have never read a book by Jenny or her blog either and you are missing out). She has a very strange sense of humor, she takes these very real things and spins them but is still able to address her issues and in a very roundabout way - cope.
Some chapters talk specifically about mental illness, but the majority are funny anecdotes. The book is jam-packed with all kinds of critters ranging from living to taxidermied to costumes, including Rory the scary as hell taxidermied raccoon on the front cover. There are also random observational rants, e.g. about female clothes not having pockets, and a pocketbook being neither pocket nor book. She talked about being bewildered by a Japanese computerized toilet, leaving me wanting to shout me too soul-sister!
She challenges some of the stigma around mental illness and its treatment. She sarcastically observed that if someone’s cancer returned, “it’s probably just a reaction to too much gluten or not praying correctly. Right?” And then there was the gem about dealing with medication side effects “which can include ‘feeling excessively stabby’ when coupled with some asshole telling you that ‘your medication not working is just proof you don’t really need medication at all.'”
You know those silent moments that crop up every so often when you’re seeing your therapist? Jenny knows how to fills those awkward silences with panache, with such observations as: “Is it normal to regret not making a sex tape when you were younger and your boobs still pointed vaguely at the ceiling when you were on your back? Because I feel like no one ever talks about that.”
She points out that seemingly having it all doesn’t mean not being depressed of anxious. She admitted that “I only have a few days a month where I actually feel like I was good at life… The other days I feel like I’m barely accomplishing the minimum or that I’m a loser.”
I don’t usually rely quite so heavily on quotes when writing reviews, but Jenny’s words are far funnier than mine, and I wanted to share some of my favourites. This book is laugh out loud hilarious, and a delightfully sneaky way of attacking stigma without being primarily about mental health. You will read more about taxidermy than you could ever imagined, and you might even be tempted to get your very own taxidermied armadillo purse (yup, that’s a real thing, Google it).
God, I hope you do. Well, that's how I feel about this book. Now, granted, I actually hated the musical Cats, and walked out at intermission, so in theory that phrase
That's right, this book is better than kittens. I laughed, and I cried, and damn if I'm not seriously considering "It might be easier. But it wouldn't be better." for my next tattoo.
I listened to Ms. Lawson read her first book "Let's Pretend this Never Happened" a couple of years ago, and loved it. I hadn't known of The Bloggess before the book, but I subscribed to her blog immediately upon finishing it. I follow her on twitter, and am continually impressed by the way she supports people she's never met. Her 'Depression Lies' ... campaign? I don't even know what to call it, but I know that it has helped and continues to help people.
This book is lovely. It is laugh-out loud funny - I had to read the felted vagina section out loud to my husband, because, I mean, come on - and painfully honest. It's over 300 pages long and yet still ended too soon. I want to keep the book because I know I'll enjoy reading it again, but I also want to give it to everyone else to read. But then she won't get the money from the sale. What to do...
Surprise, friends! You're all getting Furiously Happy for the holidays
The Bloggess Jenny Lawson
Hard to review objectively about this one. As a fellow sufferer, I am thrilled that Jenny Lawson is dispersing the clouds of taboo casting dark shadows over the subject of mental illness. As a fellow sufferer, I am grateful to Jenny Lawson for naming and claiming the “shame spiral”--the downalator of disgrace and painful emotions that oppress us over and above the mental illness itself. The worst kind of double dipping! The downward pull of depression, the stinging needles of anxiety, these are difficult enough to bear on their own. To pile shame on top is adding injury to injury.
Fed up with being crippled, Lawson decided she would show the “shiny people”, i.e. happy, functional people, by being “furiously happy”. It might be an inside joke....I get it. You’re unresponsive to so much stuff normal people enjoy and when you finally land on something that appeals to you, your reaction makes you seem “hyper”.
A glance at FURIOUSLY HAPPY’s contents lays open Lawson’s ownership of bizarre, laugh-out-loud humour: Koalas Are Full of Chlamydia; Voodoo Vagina; Cat Lamination. When the front door bell rings, Lawson freezes like a deer in headlights. Of course she doesn’t answer it. She likes to stop by the local animal shelter and dress herself in ferrets. She tries to convince her husband, Victor, to get another cat (they have 3 already) and name it THE PRESIDENT so she can say things like: “I like sleeping with the President but why do I always wake up with his butt on my face?”
The subtitle of FURIOUSLY HAPPY is: A Funny Book About Horrible Things. Lawson describes self-harming episodes, pulling out her hair, picking skin off her face and hands. She admits to feeling successful only 3-4 days a month. The other days she feels she’s barely accomplishing the minimum or that she’s a loser. As I read, I found myself wondering how Lawson can write a blog, have a twitter with 431K followers, be on Instagram with 21.2K followers AND publish TWO bestselling books (LET’S PRETEND THIS NEVER HAPPENED came first) on 3 to 4 “successful” days a month. Doesn’t that make her a “shiny” person?
Quotables abound. I expect to see this artfully calligraphed on thousands of Pinterest boards:
"You are you. You’re more you than yesterday but not as much as tomorrow. Keep going. You’re on the right track."
FURIOUSLY HAPPY is not meant to be read in one sitting nor will it appeal to everyone. I enjoyed it; as someone living with depression and anxiety, I am encouraged by the way Lawson manages to transform her struggles with mental illness into I Love Lucy comedic episodes. She’s given hope to thousands of her readers. Even more importantly, Lawson’s writing is helping to eradicate the social disgrace of mental illness. She deserves to have another cat!
I hope Furiously Happy will find a huge audience.
Favorite quote: "I am Furiously Happy.
I loved Let's Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir, I LOVED Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things. Lawson amazingly balances the reality of her mental illness with the hilarity of what it takes to live a furiously happy life. I laughed to
I appreciate Lawson sharing her story because mental illness IS far too often kept hidden away or ignored. I've lived with anxiety since before I knew it had a name. I've experienced very real Depression...some doctors would even suggest that I should be constantly medicated and not lightly. Everyone handles their illness differently and, like Lawson discusses, everyone's issues manifest themselves in wildly varying ways. I'm not a fan of medication, I've often found they make everything worse and after one medication it's scary to try another.
This isn't about me though, this is about an amazing book that will make you laugh until you ugly cry. Whether you live with mental illness or not: READ THIS BOOK. Because let's be honest, if you don't experience anxiety or depression or OCD or something, chances are high that you know someone that DOES live with mental illness of some kind.
(I wish the cover had the bottom half of a raccoon's face because I WANT a raccoon selfie and to freak people out while I'm reading this book...talk about an awesome opportunity for #bookface missed.)
10/03 10.0% "Yep. I'm that person laughing out loud at The Starbucks inside Target. Dog biscuits." 4 comments
10/05 47.0% "I just laughed so hard Jesse rolled over to make sure I was ok. Tears, trouble breathing, so funny."
10/07 59.0% "I don't know about you, but I'd rather call myself overgravitated than overweight any day. Good word creation, Lawson."
There are no words to express my admiration for this real and honest writer
By being open and honest about her fight with mental illness' she is making a difference. The more we open up, the better chance we have of ending the stigma
A must read for those fighting mental illness and
To be honest, this was a life changing book for me. It has inspired me to make so many positive changes
Encourages you to accept and love who you are, no matter how damaged you are. At the same time encourages you to fight to get better
How can you not love a women who watches Doctor Who to feel better - ok Jenny, lets agree that I will let you lick David Tennant's face, but I get to keep him after that (Yes, this is a joke people)
I cried and laughed and often at the same time
It gives me hope and makes me look at everyone in a new light - and might make me feel more compassionate while working retail
FYI - those I love will all be getting a copy for Christmas
Also I recommend this to those who don't understand or feel any compassion to those suffering
Most important thing to take from this book is "Depression Lies" - yes friends I will be getting a tattoo of this as well
Raw and honest
Thank you Jenny. I too have been there on those dark nights, where that inner voice tells me horrible things about myself and tells me I should just give up. Thank you for making me feel like I am not alone, thank you for encouraging me to laugh and speak up about my quirks, and please remember, I too am here if you ever need someone to talk to. Depression lies and we should hunt that asshole depression down
Encourages empathy & that my friends is worth the price of the book - we all need this
I really enjoyed and appreciated her what depression is like analogies
All I can say is "Pinata Stupid Stake."
Folder of 24 - that is enough reason to buy this book
The Not So Good Stuff
Ummm, maybe not the best audio book to listen to while walking in public. Lets just say people will stare because you will be double over laughing so hard tears will be streaming down your face
If you don't love this or take some kinda understanding for this, I don't want to know you. Yes that is harsh, but as I mentioned, this book encouraged me to make so many changes
“Without the dark there isn’t light. Without the pain there is no relief. And I remind myself that I’m lucky to be able to feel such great sorrow, and also such great happiness. I can grab on to each moment of joy and live in those moments because I have seen the bright contrast from dark to light and back again. I am privileged to be able to recognize that the sound of laughter is a blessing and a song, and to realize that the bright hours spent with my family and friends are extraordinary treasures to be saved, because those same moments are a medicine, a balm. Those moments are a promise that life is worth fighting for, and that promise is what pulls me through when depression distorts reality and tries to convince me otherwise.”
"Be bizarre. Be weird. Be proud of the uniquely beautiful way that you are broken."
"He looked like he was the most excited member of your surprise party, or like a Time Lord in the process of regenerating."
"That's why you have to rely on friends and family and strangers to help you when you can't help yourself."
I am reviewing this because I think it is a must have book. Nobody payed me shit or purchased this for me, I just love it so much I have to share - Now get yourself to a bookstore and buy the damn thing, ok. Preferably my store Chapters Shawnessy as I vowed to sell 100 copies in 3 months
While this book is nominally about Lawson’s battle with mental illness (depression,
But I have to say, unlike a number of reviewers, I found the chapters on her mental illness struggles funny, too. Not in the point-and-laugh sort of way, but in the “oh, yes, I have TOTALLY had that conversation/anxiety attack/mortifying event!!” way. Because while everyone’s mental illness is peculiar to themselves, there are some traits we all tend to have and can identify with. And somehow knowing that this woman has done the things she has makes me feel normal. Sort of.
The title, ‘Furiously Happy’, comes from her way of dealing with life. She knows that she will continue to have a lot of bad days, whether they be from depression or anxiety. So on her good or even so-so days, she tries to make the most of it and be furiously happy, not just cruise on auto-pilot. And that seems like a pretty good plan.
Some parts of this book are outright hilarious and will inevitably make you crack up in a public place where people will look at you funny. Mostly though, the humor in Furiously Happy is pure silliness, and if you like Lawson’s blog, then you’ll like this too. If you’re already a regular reader of the blog, you may find this book a tad repetitive. However, I still had a ton of fun listening to the audiobook. Lawson’s narration is more practiced this time, and I appreciate that she took the time to explain why it’s so important to her to read her own story. All in all, a great listen.
The author's attitude towards mental illness, and acceptance of her own, was refreshing to a degree, but it sometimes felt like she was basking in it rather than accepting it and learning to live with it. I don't think this is actually true – from some of her writing, it's obvious that she is working hard to mitigate the negative effects, or at least learn how to live well despite the negative effects. And she does embrace the positive aspects, including her wonderful imagination and sense of humor.
This is an honest, no-holds-barred look at the life of someone who accepts that she does not fit into the mold of “normal,” and by doing that, assures others, especially those who feel estranged from life because of their differences, that you don't have to be normal to have a good life.
And it will make you laugh
While “Furiously Happy” is Lawson’s second book, one does not have to have read her first one to quickly find one entrapped in her fascinating misadventures that many a time bring a smile to your face. The degrees of amusement go from the mildly fun to cringe-worthy hilarity—think Ross in the last three seasons of Friends—in a rollercoaster of events from Lawson’s own childhood to being a wife and mother herself. Between the humor are chapters in which Lawson talks about her numerous mental illnesses and their resulting dark side. For those not aware of Lawson’s health, she is upfront at the very beginning on why she is writing this book and it’s her own dealing with her mental illness that makes her want to live as the book says furiously happy.
While this rollercoaster of emotion prevents reading this book in a single setting—it took me many in all honestly—that’s okay because Lawson wants her readers to think. Here is a woman who is many mental illnesses, she is taking medication and getting therapy but when she has one of her bad days or spells she can look back at all the funny things she’s done in her life by just living furiously happy to keep her from doing anything hurtful to herself. For readers dealing with some of the same issues as her, the knowledge that someone else is feeling like them and keeps on going is a positive. And for readers like myself who do not suffer any mental illnesses, this book is a challenge to take steps to help our friends and family who do deal with mental health if we aren’t already as well as taking advantage of our own good fortune to live “Furiously Happy” because you never know when you might need those humorous memories.
For those who are trying to figure out whether they should read this book or not, it has tons of profanity, taxidermy, mental illness, and at least a couple of mentions of vaginas. It also has extremely funny stories and practical advice. Most of all, it has an author who loves people even though she sometimes has a hard time being around them. I haven't read her first book yet, but I plan to. And I'm trying to talk my daughter into reading this soon.
Ms. Lawson, I have always lived in Central Texas, so I totally get what you mean about possums. And I'm completely down with enchilada cupcakes. We'll get right to work on that.