Open the book, turn a couple pages and you will find advanced praise for Jenny Lawson’s Furiously Happy.
“Jesus gave me this book when he was done with it, saying, “You have got to read this shit, Kevin. It’s fucking fantastic.” Jesus is terrible with names. —ERNEST HEMINGWAY
That was all it took. I was hooked and reeled in. I loved that line. I laughed out loud at that line. I texted people that line. I recited that line to my fiancée
Lawson wrote a joke I wished I had written, but not never thought of myself. I may or may not, at that moment, have formed an immediate crush on her.
Not one of those creepy kind of crushes, of course. At least I don’t think it is. Then again, no one thinks their crush on someone is creepy. Usually we consider them charming. Adorable, even. Who doesn’t love a boiled rabbit, right? Then again, after some thought, maybe it’s best that the one being respectively crushed upon determines the creep level. More so crush-ee than crush-er, so to speak. So, I reckon you’ll have to ask her. That being said, my crush is predominantly the literary kind, the intellectual kind and the kind that wears a travelling red dress.
After several hours switching from audio book to eReader, and three hundred plus pages later, that schoolboy crush transformed into a world of respect.
From the outset of Furiously Happy, Lawson lets us know she is living life with a mental illness and these are her stories. Granted, there are a few directions she can take this, but Lawson points her compass toward an easygoing wit. She supports it with a stream of examples while filling awkward silences with inappropriate blurts.
Here is her objective.
“I’m starting a whole movement right now. The FURIOUSLY HAPPY movement. And it’s going to be awesome because first of all, we’re all going to be VEHEMENTLY happy, and secondly because it will freak the shit out of everyone that hates you because those assholes don’t want to see you even vaguely amused, much less furiously happy, and it will make their world turn a little sideways and will probably scare the shit out of them. Which will make you even more happy. Legitimately. “
There were times I found her truth exposing. As if her emotions stood before me naked and raw. She has been scratched, cut and bruised. It was like she went 15 emotional rounds with George Foreman (the boxer, not his grill) and at no point did we ever hear Howard Cosell utter “Down Goes Lawson.”
Throughout her book we learn this is her pain. She shows us her frustration and suffering. She shows us her heart. She gives us her awesome sense of humor and when I say awesome I don’t mean rad or bitchin’. I mean it in its truest definition, as extremely impressive, and inspiring with great admiration.
“We all get our share of tragedy or insanity or drama, but what we do with the horror makes all the difference.”
Full disclosure here, I battle with depression as well. I have for 18 years. Not to the extent that Lawson does, however, but I feel we all have our own individual crosses to bear. Depression is mine. After some time and work with my doctors, I have found the right balance and once again perspective is mine again. But there are times and events that can change that and it is a never-ending process of trying to get well.
So much of what she wrote spoke to me. As outgoing and talkative as I am, I’m not always open to discussing this issue of mine with others. But when I read Furiously Happy, I felt like she was talking to me and quite honestly, it helped.
“Depression is like … when you don’t want cheese anymore. Even though it’s cheese.”
See? See? OMG I swear! It’s like she KNOWS me.
This book is 300+ pages of an unrestrained treatise into the troubling, but oh so beautiful, soul of an incredible woman. And whether she is donning a traveling red dress, or photobombing an exhausted koala while dressed as a one herself, I think Jenny Lawson is one amazing human being…
…and I am ferociously grateful she wrote Furiously Happy.