Monday, December 7, 2015

Furiously Happy - Review

Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things by Jenny Lawson
Rating: 4 Stars
Source: Library
Description:  In Let's Pretend This Never Happened, Jenny Lawson baffled readers with stories about growing up the daughter of a taxidermist.  In her new book, Furiously Happy, Jenny 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.  According to Jenny: "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."
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 more of that? (from Goodreads)

Genre: Nonfiction/Humor

Why I Picked This Book:  I've been a follower of Lawson's blog - The Bloggess - for years and I enjoyed her previous book.

My Impression:  I'm never quite sure what to expect with Lawson.  Sometimes you get total hilarity with rented kangaroos, taxidermied animals with pun-tastic names,or metal chickens.  Sometimes you get a brutally honest and poignantly real tale of struggle with mental illness.  Sometimes you get a bit of both.  Whatever it is I always find it entertaining and interesting and Furiously Happy was no different.  For starters I love the whole concept of Furiously Happy which she talks about in this book.  Furiously Happy is kind of being aggressively happy.  It's figuring out what makes you happy and seizing it and celebrating it.  My version of Furiously Happy will probably involve less taxidermy than Lawson's but it's definitely something I think we could use more of.

While I enjoyed this read it lacked the loose structure of Let's Pretend This Never Happened, and at times could feel a little repetitive.  This book focuses more on Lawson's struggle with mental illness particularly after her blog and first book have become successful.  Lawson does a really wonderful job of speaking about her struggles particularly with depression and anxiety in ways that make it easier for those that don't suffer from those particular demons to understand.  Not only that, but she manages to pull all that into discussions of how to fix problems with jerks in airports (I'm definitely for the pinata stick), running after actual kangaroos in Australia while wearing a kangaroo suit, and a visiting bobcat.
Would I Read More of this Series/Author?: Absolutely!  In fact I'd love to get a copy of this book in audio format.

Would I Recommend this Book?: Definitely!  Go check out her blog - The Bloggess - to see what you think.  These books work great in print but I think would be fantastic in audio.


  1. I loved this! I read this before her first book but loved both. The audio was amazing. I do agree about being a tad repetitive though. Great review!!

  2. I should really give her books a try... bet they would be good on audio! Great review, Katherine.

  3. I loved the first book, which I listened to on audio and recently used one of my Audible credits to get this one. I look forward to listening to it. I enjoy Jenny's blog now and then, but admit I am more apt to read her Tweets on Twitter.

  4. I've never read this author, but I truly love the idea of looking at mental illness and being able to laugh about it. Great review, because it makes me want to read her work. Hugs...

  5. I'm interested in her take on mental illness (and didn't we used to cross the street and get nervous when that phrase was applied to folks in past years?). I (and a few members of my extended family) fall into that category... and yet I'm not ashamed of it. We are who we are, and more important is how we adjust to what we've been dealt with in life.

    After one of my children got a diagnosis of Asperger Syndrome my world was never the same, but it taught me that it's okay to act "weird" or "wacky" in public, obsess about things that aren't popular, and just enjoy life.

    Thanks for sharing such a good review. I might read one or both of these now; before your review I definitely thought they weren't for me, now I've changed my mind.

  6. Kudos to her for being so open about her mental illness struggles.

  7. And the cover is always fun to look at. If only raccoons were that friendly in real life, LOL.

  8. I keep seeing this everywhere. I love the cover and it's so intriguing. Glad to know you liked it.

  9. Another Netgalley too late! I get swayed by covers non NetG and EW because a lot of cheesy books have cheap, or cheesy, looking covers, so I steer clear of them. This was one of those covers (in my eye) and I didn't request it when it first showed up. Then I started seeing great reviews for it so I scampered back to NG and requested it, but I don't think they came back to look for more requests before it archived. I hope it is on special at some point as an ebook. Thanks for the informative review. :)

  10. I liked the premise of this and parts of it, but did feel it was somewhat too loosely structured and repetitive (more like a collection of blog posts, perhaps?).

  11. That was a great review. I first became acquainted with her blog through the metal chicken story. That was circulated and then I visited her site. Love it. I have not read her first book though but plan to after your glowing review.

  12. I have not tried this author, but have been curious about it so I appreciate not only your review but the background on this author.