Review: Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson

by Joli

Furiously Happy is, in my humble opinion, something that should be read by anyone who struggles with any kind of depression, anxiety, or other mental illness, as well as those close to someone who does. Lawson uses absurd and hilarious stories along with some really serious truth nuggets to shine a light on the stigma of mental illness, and what it’s really like to live with it.

The daughter of a taxidermist, Lawson loves taxidermied animals (mostly the craziest looking ones she can find). That’s why the cover of the book features a taxidermied raccoon with a crazy look on his face and his hands in the air :D. The premise behind the term “furiously happy” is this: Lawson is determined to make the good days of her life so furiously happy that they carry her right through the bad ones. She takes those good days and she fills them with moments to remember, and that’s what she thinks about during the next week when she’s too anxious and depressed to leave her bed. No matter how dark the current day, she knows that those moments will come again on the next good day.

One of my favorite paragraphs:

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.

That passage is so beautiful, I can’t even come up with the words to describe it.

Then there are passages that are so funny, I couldn’t stop the LOLing! Seriously, this book is hilarious. There are jokes and stories about everything from “lady gardens” and koala costumes to pocketless pants and ponies on planes. It’s absurd. And I loved it.

Another part I have to share:

It is an amazing gift to be able to recognize that the things that make you the happiest are so much easier to grasp than you thought. There is such freedom in being able to celebrate and appreciate the unique moments that recharge you and give you peace and joy. Sure, some people want red carpets and paparazzi. Turns out I just want banana Popsicles dipped in Malibu rum. It doesn’t mean I’m a failure at appreciating the good things in life. It means I’m successful in recognizing what the good things in life are for me.

AH I loved this part. It’s like she’s in my brain! This is a realization I’ve really made over the past 6 months or so. Happiness to me is a book and a crossword puzzle and a quiet day at home, or a bike ride to the lake with my husband, or a wine and cheese date with a friend or two. It’s not particularly glamorous, and that’s the way I like it.

Reading this book helped me appreciate myself and my quirks and any chemical imbalances that happen to live in my brain more than I did before. Having fairly recently gone through getting diagnosed with an anxiety issue, I really connected with this book. Everything that she talked about just really hit home. And for that, plus hilarity, I give this book 4 stars out of 5.

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4 comments

Kathleen April 30, 2016 - 5:26 am

You’ve got me, Joli! I’m adding this one to my to-read pile. Sounds like a combo plate of two of my fave genres – memoir and self-help. One of my favorite happiness boosters is remembering Gretchen Rubin’s ideas on “fun” – fun is not a universal experience. What’s super fun to one person may not be fun for you. And that’s okay! I think of this truth nearly daily. 😉

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Joli April 30, 2016 - 7:30 am

Oo do it, I bet you’re really like this one :] Aw that’s lovely!! I’ve had Rubin’s The Happiness Project on my list but just haven’t gotten to it. Perhaps I’ll have to bump it up a bit!

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Jenn @ Quite a Novel Idea May 8, 2016 - 8:07 pm

What a great review Joli! The title alone got my attention but books on this topic are sooooo important. And even more than that, I feel it’s important that is well written. Love the quotes you mentioned!! They were spot on and so beautifully articulated *swoons*
Will definitely be adding this to my TBR list 🙂

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Joli May 9, 2016 - 7:46 am

Thanks Jenn!! I agree 100%. – so important. There are actually a good number of people who’ve mentioned to Lawson that reading her book saved their lives. It’s really incredible. She has a great blog as well: http://thebloggess.com

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