Recommended Reading: Jenny Lawson’s “Furiously Happy”

furiously happy

Like Hamlet Von Schnitzel from Lawson’s first book,  Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, Rory Racoon is a real piece of mad genius taxidermy.

I’ve read plenty of funny books but only a select few have made me laugh out loud.  Chelsea Handler’s pre-fame memoir My Horizontal Life was one.  Chuck Palahniuk’s darkly comic novel Choke was another.  David Sedaris’s memoirs Me Talk Pretty One Day and Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim both did.  These are the titles I laughed at even in public, weird looks from strangers be damned, and read aloud in private so we could laugh together.

Jenny Lawson’s debut memoir, Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, didn’t just make me laugh out loud, it made me laugh until tears stood in my eyes.

If you’ve never read Jenny Lawson the obvious comparison would be David Sedaris: a head full of “bad” wiring spun into comedic gold, the absurdity of the mundane, a family – blood-related and otherwise – who offer redemption in the form of unconditional love.  But here’s the thing: as much as I love reading Sedaris and watching him perform his work aloud, I never closed one of his books and felt better or stronger for having read it.  I finished  Furiously Happy a better version of myself than the man who started it.  Lawson’s frankness about battling her demons made me realize that fighting my own demons is not pointless, or hopeless.

In all that humor, she somehow managed to inspire me, too.

Furiously Happy carves its own genre – part humorous memoir, part glittering emblem for functional mental illness, part inspirational standard for how to live well.  And somehow, through an unknowable alchemy of dark humor and joyous brute will, it’s all funny.

And it made me laugh out loud.


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