“Furiously Happy” by Jenny Lawson
The golden front cover with a grinning raccoon about to hug you – or claw you – is bold and eye-catching. “Rory’s tiny arms perpetually reached out as if to say, ‘OHMYGOD, YOU ARE MY FAVORITE. PERSON. EVER. PLEASE LET ME CHEW YOUR FACE OFF WITH MY LOVE,'” author and bloggess Jenny Lawson pronounces.
I found myself laughing out loud as I read “Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things” (2015). It’s an outrageously funny book about living with mental illness and Lawson’s war against “the monster of depression.” Lawson is hilariously irreverent and randomly awesome with this collection of essays, conversations, and random thoughts.
Lawson faces daily struggles with depression, ADD, sleep disorder, rheumatoid arthritis, and anxiety disorders, but she has decided to be vehemently, passionately, crazy happy and embrace being not normal. She is honest about her depression and anxiety. She doesn’t try to give people advice, but she does offer a small glimpse into her out-of-control emotions and anxieties.
Her life is filled with the ordinary: her conservative, responsible, patient husband Victor; her 10-year old daughter Hailey; her cats, Ferris Mewler and Hunter S. Thomcat. It’s enlivened by the strange: notably two taxidermied raccoons, Rory and Rory Too, with manic smiles and jazz-hands.
And it’s true: weird things happen to her and crazy things are drawn to her. I enjoyed her story of a dog biscuit-eating drive-through pharmacist; the phone messages she leaves for herself; the midnight cat rodeo with a taxidermied raccoon; her made-up words like “concoctulary” (concocted + vocabulary); and her clever rants about bragging pants, her battles with spell-check, and her trip to Australia. I was excited that she knows author Neil Gaiman well enough to text him and get a reply (some really good advice, too: “Pretend you’re good at it.”).
Reading the book, I realized that there are five perks to being Jenny Lawson: 1. She makes a living (blogging and writing books) out of being crazy. And it’s tax-deductible, if she can remember to keep her receipts. 2. She can say outrageous things because she’s crazy, and gets to live life with “Tiny Babies” filters. 3. She can, no must, eat cheesecake so that her fans and readers won’t be disappointed if she loses weight. 4. She recognizes what the good things in life are for her. 5. She knows she is not alone. Life might be easier without her, but it wouldn’t be better.
Lawson is definitely someone I’d like to spend a day with, but I would be afraid to read her blog the next day.
What makes you furiously happy? Do weird things happen to you or are you the responsible one who watches the weirdness around you?