Review: Furiously Happy, by Jenny Lawson

As Goodreads describes it, Furiously Happy is “A hysterical, ridiculous book about crippling depression and anxiety.” Furiously Happy not only celebrates that life is possible during and after a bout with mental illness but also points out that there are things to be more serious about when talking about the topic. Jenny Lawson lives with a number of chronic health issues, including depression and anxiety, but while the disorders sometimes bring her down temporarily, she always gets back up again to live life to her fullest ability – and in this book, talks the rest of us through the process.

I found this book to be hilarious, sad, and thought-provoking…sometimes all within the same chapter. Jenny is self-deprecating but also makes sure to point out when she needs to go easier on herself and be more understanding of herself and her mental illnesses. She also is encouraging to her readers and fans who have mental illnesses, sharing positive messages throughout the book.

Also, if you have read Jenny’s first book, Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, you know that Jenny is the daughter of a taxidermist and loves taxidermied animals. Those animals make an appearance again in Furiously Happy with a number of different ones showing up throughout the book. These provided a great deal of the comedy for me, because of her antics with the animals, though, admittedly, some parts were a little bit too much for my stomach to handle, just because I’m not a big fan of the practice of taxidermy. However, nothing was terribly graphic about the book – it’s just my preference there.

Overall, I feel this book is an important one to read not only for those with mental illness if you’re looking to see that you’re not, in fact alone, but also for caretakers and family of those with mental illness, to read a direct account from someone who has mental illness. While admittedly Jenny comes across as a bit silly sometimes, I found her amusing and related to much of the underlying message behind her words.

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