Published by Pan Macmillan on September 24, 2015
Genres: Biography & Memoir, General, Humor, Personal Memoirs
Length: 8 hours, 20 minutes
Source: I purchased a copy of this book.
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In Let's Pretend This Never Happened, Jenny Lawson regaled readers with uproarious stories of her bizarre childhood. In her new book, Furiously Happy, she 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. As Jenny says: 'You can't experience pain without also experiencing the baffling and ridiculous moments of being fiercely, unapologetically, intensely and (above all) furiously happy.' It's a philosophy that has - quite literally - saved her life. Jenny's first book, Let's Pretend This Never Happened, was ostensibly about family, but deep down it was about celebrating your own weirdness. 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?
Meh. Furiously Happy annoyed me, but overall I think “it was okay” (hence the two stars on Goodreads).
Maybe my biggest mistake was listening to the audiobook. Lawson narrates her own book, and so much of the time, she speaks in uptalk. You know, when everything sounds like it ends in a question mark? Then there were awkwardly inserted swear words? Which came across like someone trying too hard to sound cool? And edgy? And funny?
It wasn’t funny, though. The humor fell completely flat. And Lawson has so many outrageous stories that, delivered in this annoying inflection, I couldn’t help but wonder if the stories were true (or at least naturally occurring). Was I being given “The Bloggess” the brand—the schtick—or was this the real Jenny Lawson?
But, she grabbed me in the intro when she explained the title of the book as it relates to depression and anxiety. That was good stuff. So I forged on. Lawson made important points regarding the shame associated with taking medication for mental illnesses, and the ridiculous reasoning we tend to use on ourselves and others.
Halfway through, though, I simply couldn’t take the uptalk anymore, and I couldn’t understand why she was talking about the things she was talking about. So I skipped ahead to mental health chapters. Those were good, but they didn’t make up enough of the memoir, not by a long shot. Most of the stories felt completely random and contrived. I’ve read her blog for years, so I thought I was used to her writing style and sense of humor…maybe the audiobook was a poor choice.
Have you read Furiously Happy? What did you think? Do you notice when people speak in uptalk?