I love listening to comedic biographical audiobooks, better yet are comedic audiobooks read by the author themselves. I think it adds a more genuine quality to the listening experience because only authors truly know how they meant something to be interpreted. On an especially bleak day this fall I needed something uplifting and turned to Jenny Lawson’s newest book Furiously Happy. Jenny Lawson’s first title, Let’s Pretend this Never Happened, chronicles the bizarre things that seem to always happen to Lawson. From digging up a dead pet in her backyard so vultures won’t get it, to buying lots of taxidermied animals through the internet, Lawson has a lot of weird things happen to her. You’ll find the same love of taxidermy and strange happenings in her second book, but Lawson gets bit more personal this time about her mental health struggles.
The title of her second book comes from a blog post on one of her especially dark days. She is in the midst of a depression so dark she wasn’t seeing anyway out of it and instead of giving in and falling further into the black hole she makes a choice, be happy. Be so furiously happy that there is no room for darkness. Within hours of the blog post attached to #FuriouslyHappy thousands of messages poured in relating to Lawson’s experience and offering support.
The fame of her blog and the success of her first book put the spotlight on how many people suffer with anxiety, depression, and other mental disorders that are often misunderstood or diminished by those unfamiliar with the symptoms. Lawson delivers a slightly uncomfortable look at what dealing with these disorders does to your body, your family, and your friends. She is brave and honest about her attempts to hurt herself, the days when she isn’t able to leave her bed, and how much she hates and loves being successful. She approaches these setbacks not with defeat but with the knowledge that tomorrow is a new and hopefully better day.
Her awkwardness is relatable as I’m sure everyone has had a moment where they’ve said something they regret or made a fool of themselves and can’t hide. Perhaps we haven’t all pulled a taxidermied raccoon claw from our bags during a huge press conference for a newly published book; but the metaphor is there. We’ve all done embarrassing things because we are all human. Getting up, moving forward, and trying to make better tomorrows is the overall message in this hilarious book where almost anything could come out of Jenny Lawson’s mouth. Really, she says some ridiculous things.
Formats Available: Book, eBook
(Note: LFPL does not have this title in Audiobook format at the moment)
Reviewed by Lindsay, Southwest Branch