Review: Furiously Happy

Furiously

  • Author: Jenny Lawson
  • ISBN: 9781447238355
  • Genre: Non-Fiction/Memoir
  • Pages: 276

I used one of my Audible credits to get this book after listening to Let’s Pretend This Never Happened.

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.”

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? – Goodreads synopsis

I enjoyed Furiously Happy even more than her first book.  I didn’t think that was possible, but apparently it is.  This book also solidified me as a fan of Jenny Lawson.  I’m a religious reader of her blog and follower of her Twitter and Instagram accounts.  I got ridiculously excited when I found out she’s coming out with a new book, which just happens to be a coloring book.  I pre-ordered it as soon as pay day, and I was actually anxious about not having the money to pre-order as soon as it was available.  As if, somehow, it would disappear before I could claim my future copy of it?

For the first time, I’ve read of someone else who got so angry about her brain chemistry messing up or getting in the way of her living her life the way she wants to that she decided to give it the finger.  As she says in the first chapter, being “furiously happy” isn’t a cure, it’s a weapon.  It’s also the realization that being “crazy” is ok.  If there is such a thing as the perfect book for just about anyone suffering from Anxiety, Depression, PTSD, chronic medical conditions, phobias, etc., this is the book.  It’s an amazing and wonderful reminder that humor and accepting yourself as you are is the best way to get through the craziness of life.

One day I will own Furiously Happy in paperback so I can re-read with highlighter and pen in hand and also read out loud all the passages that I want the Boyfriend to hear.  Until then, I’ll just re-listen to bits and pieces of the audiobook whenever I need a reminder to be furiously happy.

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Review: The World’s Strongest Librarian

Strongest

  • Author: Josh Hanagarne
  • ISBN: 9781592407873
  • Publisher: Avery
  • Genre: Non-Fiction/Memoir
  • Pages: 291

 

An inspiring story of how a Mormon kid with Tourette’s found salvation in books and weight-lifting.

The World’s Strongest Librarian illuminates the mysteries of this little-understood disorder, as well as the very different worlds of strongman training and modern libraries. With humor and candor, this unlikely hero traces his journey to overcome his disability — and navigate his wavering Mormon faith — to find love and create a life worth living. – Goodreads synopsis

Awhile back, Audible was having a sale, and I got The World’s Strongest Librarian for less than $5.  Had I not been looking for inexpensive audiobooks to help me get through my daily commute, I might not have ever come across this gem of a memoir.

Honestly, I probably wouldn’t have even picked this one up if it wasn’t about a librarian.  I’m not Mormon, or Christian for that matter, and though Tourette’s is an interesting disability, I didn’t think it was interesting enough to warrant reading a book about it.  Well, I was wrong.  First of all, his struggles with faith resonated with me because I was raised Catholic, and while I eventually found what I was looking for in Buddhism, the run of emotions, thoughts, and questions Hanagarne experiences throughout the book were similar to my own.  Secondly, I understood in a very clinical way what Tourette’s is, but I never thought about how it could affect every area of a person’s life.  While it’s a physical disability, it seems to have the same stigma attached to it as the majority of mental disabilities.  Just as many people ask those dealing with Depression why can’t they just be happy, I get the impression that the same people probably want to ask why can’t you just stop doing [insert physical/vocal tick here].

To me, this book proves that having a support network of family and/or friends is one of the most important elements in determining how well someone handles just about anything that life can throw your way.  It also proves that books and libraries are just as important because ultimately we each have to find our own way and what works for us.  What better place than the library to find the resources to do that?  If you need convincing, check out The World’s Strongest Librarian.

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Review: Let’s Pretend This Never Happened

Pretend

  • Author: Jenny Lawson
  • ISBN: 9780399159015
  • Pages: 318
  • Genre: Memoir/Humour

The above ISBN is for the hardcover edition, but I listened to the audiobook I purchased.

For fans of Tina Fey and David Sedaris—Internet star Jenny Lawson, aka The Bloggess, makes her literary debut.

Jenny Lawson realized that the most mortifying moments of our lives—the ones we’d like to pretend never happened—are in fact the ones that define us. In the #1 New York Times bestseller, Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, Lawson takes readers on a hilarious journey recalling her bizarre upbringing in rural Texas, her devastatingly awkward high school years, and her relationship with her long-suffering husband, Victor. Chapters include: “Stanley the Magical, Talking Squirrel”; “A Series of Angry Post-It Notes to My Husband”; “My Vagina Is Fine. Thanks for Asking”; “And Then I Snuck a Dead Cuban Alligator on an Airplane.”  – Goodreads

I’ve been a fan of The Bloggess for a very short time, having only come across Jenny Lawson’s blog a little less than a year ago.  Not long after reading a few of her posts, I wanted to read her books.  I especially wanted to read Furiously Happy, but being the crazy type of person that has to read things in order, I chose Let’s Pretend This Never Happened first.  I also decided to go with the audiobook instead of the paperback because Jenny narrates it herself.

I love audiobooks narrated by the author.  While sometimes that’s the last person who should be narrating a book, most of the time, they’re the best option because, hello, they wrote the book.  The author knows all their own natural pauses and cadence, and so you find out how the book should sound.  Also, there’s no way I’m listening to a humorous memoir by a Texan narrated by someone who isn’t a Texan.  Had Jenny Lawson not narrated her own audiobook, I probably would have just waited to buy the paperback next year when, and if, I was no longer participating in the Shelf Love Challenge.  Instead, I used my Audible credit like it was about to expire or the audiobook was going to be removed or something.

Let’s Pretend This Never Happened is for everyone who has had a crazy life or thinks they’ve had a crazy life.  It’s also for everyone who suffers or has suffered from Depression, PTSD, anxiety, or rare diseases for which there is no cure.  For you, get ready to meet a person who understands just what you’re going through and will make you laugh until you’re rolling on the floor, crying, and probably peeing your pants.  I don’t know how I was able to drive to and from work for the week it took me to get through this book, but I didn’t have any road rage while I did it.  I was too busy laughing.

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Review: My Life on the Road

Life

  • Author: Gloria Steinem
  • ISBN: 9780679456209
  • Genre: Non-Fiction/Memoir
  • Pages: 276

I received this book from the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

I don’t often read non-fiction, and I’m even less likely to read a memoir.  However, I’ve considered myself to be a Feminist for most of my life, and when I saw Gloria Steinem’s new book on Netgalley, I had to request it.   Beyond a few minor details, I don’t know much about her, and I’ve never read any of her other books.

She’s an excellent writer and story teller.  That alone makes My Life on the Road worth reading.  She’s led a life of travel to the point that I think a better title might be “The Road: My Life.”  So, if you’re looking for a good armchair travel experience, this book is it.  Though the writing style is considerably different, I would say the book as a whole is similar to Henry Rollins’ Smile, You’re Traveling.  The only issue I had with My Life on the Road was Steinem’s very biased portrayal of political events.  Not having known much about a couple of the events she wrote about, I later learned through some research that, though she was factually accurate, she didn’t give the full story, and her incomplete version was a bit misleading.  With that being said, I wasn’t expecting a bias-free book.  This is still a memoir, and, therefore, mostly her personal opinions and observations.  Besides, when have politics ever been unbiased?  Ultimately, the result is that I became interested in learning more about the subjects she discussed, and that’s a win-win as far as I’m concerned.

A lot of celebrity memoirs have been released within the past couple of years, and it seems to be the new trend.  Even if you’re not a Feminist, but you love a bit of armchair travel, this one is an excellent choice.

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