Ahoy there me mateys! For those of ye who are new to me log, a word: though this log’s focus is on sci-fi, fantasy, and young adult, this Captain does have broader reading tastes. Occasionally I will share some novels that I enjoyed that are off the charts (a non sci-fi, fantasy, or young adult novel), as it were. So today I bring ye:
furiously happy (Jenny Lawson)
Mental illness is not a laughing matter. Well, unless ye read this book that is. Ye see mateys, this book has a psychotic raccoon on the cover. I picked it up because I a) heard it was funny and b) thought it was a young adult book that had something to do with silly raccoons. No joke.
Well turns out it is a memoir by a woman named Jenny who has a lot of mental illnesses, an actual taxidermied raccoon named Rory who is the featured on the cover of this novel, and many crazy stories to share.
As the author states in her disclaimers at the beginning of the book:
This is a funny book about living with mental illness. It sounds like a terrible combination, but personally, I’m mentally ill and some of the most hysterical people I know are as well. So if you don’t like the book then maybe you’re just not crazy enough to enjoy it. Either way, you win
I must be crazy because I found a lot of the stories to be laugh out loud funny. I had to read whole sections out loud to the first mate because they were just too good not to share. And while the situations the author finds herself in are sometimes absurd and seemingly unreal, I still found them extremely human at the same time and relatable.
Feeling unproductive as a grownup? Check. Being unable to sleep for long stretches at a time? Check. Not wanting to be around people – ever? Check. Embracing the quirkiness of being who ye are? Check.
Add in things that wouldn’t occur to me or haven’t happened to me like:
- dressing up as a koala in Australia while attempting to hold koalas
- participating in a sleep study that sounds more like a horror movie
- leaving voicemail messages for yerself at 2:00 in the morning
- dealing with killer cannibal swans
- pondering how to survive the zombie apocalypse, the airport, and the zombie apocalypse at the airport (okay I may have done this one)
Seriously I am not funny enough to do the humor in this book justice. But the humor is not the whole point. At the root of the book, there is a woman embracing life in spite of all of the difficulties life has thrown at her. Whether it is her anxiety or depression or just the day to day struggle to exist, underneath is a love for life and a determination to win through in the end. To be furiously happy and savor the moments she can. That is the true joy in the book. As she says:
Be bizarre. Be weird. Be proud of the uniquely beautiful way that you are broken.
Be furiously happy.
To see another review of this book by a member of me crew, Emma-Louise “Elou” Carroll, visit:
Goodreads has this to say about the novel:
In her new book, FURIOUSLY HAPPY, Jenny explores her lifelong battle with mental illness. A hysterical, ridiculous book about crippling depression and anxiety? That sounds like a terrible idea. And terrible ideas are what Jenny does best.
According to Jenny: “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 a book about mental illness, but under the surface it’s about embracing joy in fantastic and outrageous ways-and who doesn’t need a bit more of that?
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