Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Book Review: Furiously Happy by The Bloggess

Let me start by saying I should have written this review months ago, so if you could all just close your eyes and pretend it's still early June, that'd be greeeeeat.

(Er, except for the closing your eyes part.)

(Wow, I did not think this plan through.)


Nearly three months ago I received a most amazing gift from Jenny Lawson, aka The Bloggess:

What. I'm not crying. YOU'RE CRYING.

I don't know Jenny personally, but sometimes we trade tweets, and our overlapping readership gives me that cozy "friend-of-a-friend" vibe. I adore what she's done to help destigmatize (which IS SO a word, spell check) mental health struggles online, and every day I aspire to Jenny's level of honest, shocking hilarity.

Jenny's first book, Let's Pretend This Never Happened, is akin to comedy crack. It's potent, exhilarating, best ingested in small doses, and may result in a bad taxidermy collection. I read it in two sittings back when it first came out, which gave me the literary equivalent of a wine slushie brain freeze: too much, too fast. So if you haven't read Let's Pretend yet, DO - but give yourself breaks.

By contrast, Furiously Happy allows a more breath-able pace. Jenny has shifted the focus more inward here, sharing her personal struggles and revealing some serious health issues that she's only hinted at in the past. And in classic Bloggess style, she'll have you howling with laughter over the most horrible, cringe-worthy things. Like passing out - with much moaning and flailing - during her Pap Smears, or how her body straight up tries to kill her every time she falls asleep. (At least, that was my take-away.) Then there are the scary ambulance rides in the middle of the night, hospital stays and surgeries, and even some accounts of self-harm that come with a necessary trigger warning.

Without exception, though, Jenny's sense of humor prevails. She never delves into self-pity; she never asks for your sympathy. If anything, you'll be envying her strength and bravery and outrageous antics. (Not everyone has the guts to stick a realistic third nipple on her stomach while being prepped for surgery.)

This book is Jenny's victory march. It's her defiance, her resolve, and her pride. And it is beautiful.

There are also plenty of conversations with Victor, Jenny's long-suffering husband, plus tales of more bad taxidermy, home remodeling, thoughts on the TSA, a memorable travel log of her trip to the Australian outback, and so much more. The chapters are short, zippy, and perfect for quick (in)sanity breaks. If you already know and like Jenny's blog, buying this book is a no-brainer. If you don't know The Bloggess, then go read this post right now, and THEN buy her book.

Did I mention the cover has sparkly gold confetti all over it? With a happy dead raccoon? 'CUZ IT DOES.

Furiously Happy releases on the 22nd of this month, and the hardcover will list for $26.99. Pre-order it now at your local bookstore, or you can find it here on Amazon for about $16.


  1. She is absolutely hilarious! I just checked out her blog, and I was laughing so hard I had tears coming out of my eyes. I will buy her book for sure.

  2. I am so jealous that you got an early copy. I can't wait for mine to arrive. And I love that you linked the Beyonce the Metal Chicken post because it is by far my favorite post of hers ever, even more than the ongoing saga of trying to get Nathan Fillion to take a picture with twine, and that's saying a lot.

    Also, I have been reading blogs by both of you religiously for a few years and you are both two of the few people I actually follow on Twitter, so it seems to me like you two should be best friends. And maybe you would be if you were geographically closer. And I choose to believe that you would be my best friends, too, if I didn't live even further away from both of you. Perhaps that's wishful thinking, but I choose to believe it.

  3. I pre-ordered! I'm going to the Houston signing!

    I love it when my Jen and Jenny worlds collide.

  4. I preordered months ago, can't wait to get my copy next week!!!!

    1. ... And thank you, because it has been too long since I read the Beyoncé post! I should bookmark it at work for when I'm having a bad day.

  5. Oh I love that you two know each other, and am so jealous of your preview copy!! Cannot wait to read the new book. I tore through 'Let's Pretend' so many times already. You Jens are obviously why the internet rocks so much.

  6. I read "Let's Pretend" on an airplane, and was trying so hard not to screech with laughter that I had tears streaming down my face, I'm sure I was making bizarre grimaces, and a couple -- who am I kidding? -- a few gutteral snorts escaped. I was just glad they didn't divert the plane and have me removed by Homeland Security. I can't wait for the new book.

  7. You and Jenny Lawson have both made me feel much more sane and normal despite my (as of yet not officially diagnosed or treated) anxiety issues. You have both given me much needed laughs, strength, and a sense of not being alone at critical moments in my life. Your impact is far greater than I think either of you will ever realize! I already have your books and a nifty Epbot pin (yay Pittsburgh book signing!) and I cannot wait to get both of Jenny's books! Sending much love and cyber-hugs!

  8. I got an advanced copy from work (though preordered months ago) and have been reading for about a week in small doses when I commute. Today I read the bit about her falling out of the tree during photo shoot and laughed so hard I was crying. That sure kept my fellow commuters at their distance. :)

  9. Thanks for reminding me about the Bloggess. I used to follow her blog almost as closely as I follow yours, but when I changed jobs a couple of years ago, I lost all my bookmarks and my brain pulled a big blank when I tried to remember my daily blog sites. Hard to believe anyone could forget Jenny, but the mind works in mysterious ways. I shall use my recent birthday book store gift card to purchase this book! was waiting for just the right book to spend it on!

  10. I have you to thank, Jen, for introducing me to Jenny's wonderful sense of humor. You first introduced me to the Beyonce post, and I was hooked after that. I now read every post you both make, and love every minute! :D

  11. I had never been to her blog - just visited and was laughing, then crying, within 10 minutes. Amazeballs.

  12. You and Jenny seem to be kindred spirits in many ways. I am eagerly awaiting my copy of FH and her stop in LA. I could totally see you writing an Epbot-themed book with Figment on the cover (Furiously Figment? Figmentally Happy?). :)

    This summer while I've been sick, I went back to the beginning of Jenny's blog and read everything -- comments included -- with a notebook next to me to write down references to other websites, blogs, books, movies, etc. I've done the same with CW and Epbot. I admire you both for your courage, honesty and openness regarding your struggles with mental illness.


  13. P.S. Knock! Knock! Mother-Figment! ;)

  14. OMG you had to reference the single funniest Bloggess post ever?! Here I am, typically weeping in a late-night wash of self-loathing, and you have to post the absolute funniest thing I've ever seen on the internet? Alternately, and also simultaneously, THANK YOU and YOU SUCK!! (Lego-movie-head-spinning-sigh), now I officially HAVE to buy both of her books! Seeing as how I'd only ever heard of The Blogess through Epbot, gee thanks (again) Jen! Thanks bunches!

  15. I just saw this book today in Walmart and if I'd had money I'd have bought it ON YOUR RECOMMENDATION ALONE! :D How's that for power, Jen?

  16. I think this is my new bible. "now hand me those eyeballs" I'm pimping it to everyone I know who have had any struggle with any mental illness. I read it in a day (snorting in the dr's waiting room among other inappropriate places) I'm reading again, and again.
    I've realized a lot of Jenny's issues are mine, too. To a lesser degree, but I have an explanation for the things I do (thanks Jenny)

  17. when I see the cover of this book I think of #DeadraccoonTO...did you hear about it? http://www.buzzfeed.com/craigsilverman/the-definitive-oral-history-of-deadraccoonto#.mvx88ZXGAg
    Canadians are a weird and wonderful bunch. :)

  18. Certainly the best nonfiction that I have read in 2015, Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things by Jenny Lawson can be read as an entertainment memoir and also to gain new insights into what it means to live with mental illness. Furiously delightful, funny, inspiring and intelligent, author Jenny Lawson knows how to entertain, and engage her readers.


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