Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson
Furiously Happy had me from the title. Or, perhaps it was the stuffed raccoon on the front cover? Hard call. But a happy read was high among my hopes. Following on from the success of her earlier book, Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, Jenny Lawson delivers again with a hilarious romp of a read that will have you curled over with laughter and gasping for breath. Laughing must be the best exercise for the stomach muscles as mine felt sore from laughing so much given the constant and unrelenting serves of hilarity. Lawson has a way with the ridiculous, setting up outrageous scenarios that grow in absurdity to such an extent that even your wildest imagination couldn’t prepare you for where she’s going to take you. Seriously, Lawson is so unpredictable that I’m certain she even takes herself by surprise!
The comedic episodes in this book deserve to be experienced fully in the context in which they are written so there’ll be no spoilers from me. Suffice to say, this book is more than just a work of comedy. Followers of Lawson’s blog The Bloggess will know of her life-long struggle with depression and anxiety. Lawson is up-front about her mental health issues and there is an honesty about her struggle that is real and humanising.
For Lawson, it is the polarity of experience that allows her to delve deep into her suffering and to scale the heights of ‘furiously happy’ too. In her manic state Lawson is outrageous, eccentric and very funny. But her down times, as she relates them in the book, are desperately sad. I couldn’t help but feel joy and empathy for her in equal measure. In the words of Ron Weasley, when you read this book, ‘You’re gonna suffer … but you’re gonna be happy about it.’
Natalie Platten works as a bookseller at Readings Malvern.