Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things

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.

An Amazon Best Book of September 2015: Jenny Lawson follows up her marvelous debut Let’s Pretend This Never Happened with her determination to be furiously happy: she will seize the strangest and most glorious moments of her life while she stares down her depression, severe anxiety, avoidant personality disorder, and much more—and dares it to stop her. Furiously Happy is not only a battle cry but a delirious seesaw of a memoir. One moment you swoop upward as Lawson relates her attempts to hold a koala in Australia while wearing a koala costume and explains her quirky love for taxidermied animals (who must be dead from natural causes only), and you’re giggling like a three-year-old. Then your stomach drops like an artillery shell when Lawson exposes the dark side of her mental illnesses: trying not to cut herself and holing up in her bedroom for days on end. The ups and downs make this a difficult book to read all in one go. However, Lawson uses both her hilarious and heartbreaking episodes to camouflage so many life lessons and biting observations. (A poignant example: when cancer victims don’t respond to medication, no one blames the cancer victim; people with mental illness don’t get the same respect.) This is a book you’ll want to savor. Whether or not you too suffer from depression, you’ll turn the last page fired up by Lawson’s conviction that you can be furiously happy no matter what life hurls at you.–Adrian Liang

Nanci Arvizu, Writing and Reviews Editor

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3 Comments

  1. FUNNY, INSPIRING AND INTELLIGENT! What an amazing read Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things by Jenny Lawson turns out to be! While it is as perceptive and riotously funny as her earlier book, Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, it is more insightful and touching. It has more than its fair share of laugh-out-louds but this book is not just about making the readers laugh, Jenny Lawson teaches valuable lessons about mental health and how it feels to live with it. 

  2. Funny, but… Like Lawson’s first book, Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, Furiously Happy is furiously funny. Since I share the author’s outlandish sense of humor, I thought this book and its premise of coping with mental illness would be uplifting. However, reading this book made me feel that she is more than a bit disconnected from the average person’s experience with anxiety/depression/chronic insomnia. 

  3. Hysterical and Insightful Jenny Lawson is back in another spectacular book in which she chronicles her life, but this time through the lens of someone who struggles with anxiety. Well; she did that last time, but this time, it is an underlying theme/focus of her writing, and I might add, it’s quite spectacular. 

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