Furiously Happy

Author:  Jenny Lawson

Published By: Flatiron Books

Reviewed by Melissa Minners

                Depression - it affects so many people and very few understand how hard it is to get through a day when in the throws of it.  Jenny Lawson suffers from depression, anxiety disorders and a number of other issues and yet somehow she finds humor in it all.  In her second book, Furiously Happy, she pokes fun at depression and disorders while still delivering uplifting messages to all who follow her.

                The first thing you will notice about Furiously Happy is the cartoon representation of a furiously happy raccoon on the cover.  Open that cover and you will see the same raccoon riding on the back of a cat at the Midnight Cat Rodeo.  What looks like a funny cartoon becomes hilarious when you realize that the Midnight Cat Rodeo is a real thing for Jenny Lawson who owns two taxidermied raccoons in just the same pose as that on the cover of her book.  In one of the chapters in the book, she discusses how she came up with the idea of a cat rodeo and began experimenting in her kitchen in the wee hours of the morning.

                She also discusses a number of serious issues like Rheumatoid Arthritis, OCD, ADD, phobias and more, but she does so with humor.  Fear of new places and fitting in is lessened by a story about attack swans and possums in swimming pools.  The Midnight Cat Rodeo story explains Lawson's sleep disorder...and possibly a little of her OCD.  To learn what it is like living with clinical depression, we are treated to a hysterical interview conducted by Lawson's husband. 

                There are serious moments such as a discussion of the author's issues with self-abuse, inability to be completely happy with herself more than four times a month, phobias that other people may never understand and more.  But each of these discussions are interspersed between hilarious tales of a trip through Australia, Japanese toilets, her father's quirkiness, silly airline rules regarding things you are allowed to have in your luggage, the zombie apocalypse, the things Lawson says to her therapist and what she really means, arguments with her husband and more.

                Furiously Happy was a gift from a special person who knows that I would appreciate the humor and the meaning behind this book.  Jenny Lawson, though she may not always realize or remember it, has a gift - the gift of seeing the humorous moments in her mental illness and sharing it in a way that inspires people.  Also, by reeling in the less informed or understanding folks out there who have no idea what depression or anxiety disorders are really about (You know, the people who think you can just get over these things if you set your mind to it.) with humor, she can now tackle the more serious issues of her illness in a way that doesn't put that reader off and may actually educate them. 

                Jenny Lawson makes the usual stigma associated with mental illness go away with the humorous tales she tells mixed along with the informative, aiding those who suffer in the same way while also tackling the ignorance many have when dealing with the issue.  I enjoyed this Furiously Happy from start to finish and recommend it to anyone who knows someone suffering from depression, is suffering from depression or just needs a good laugh or two. 


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