misery loves hilarity
Written by: Hailey Levy
Ah, the perfect book. What is 'the perfect book?' To some people, the perfect book is one so good, that you can't possibly put it down. A book that doesn't make you read and re-read the same sentence for thirty minutes, or put it down and forget about it for three years. That book, my friends, is Furiously Happy. It’s eye-catching front cover is covered in bold, brash writing that reads “Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things,” and features a crazy, cross-eyed raccoon – if that doesn't immediately sell you, what will? The front cover alone will peak your curiosity, and subconsciously trigger your inner-crazy; the makings of an adventure waiting to be embarked on.
The preface tries to turn you away; to dissuade you from embarking on this journey of really funny and horrible misfortunes, as it reads, "No, no. I insist you stop right now. Still here? Awesome. Now you're not allowed to blame me for anything in this book because I told you to stop reading and you just kept going." Immediately, she's got you hooked without even trying. It's like that red button that mom tells you not to press. Must. Press. Button.
Lawson manages to take an extremely taboo topic that isn't spoken about all too often; mental illness, and turn it into something, well, hilarious. In a series of personal essays and short stories, Lawson is entirely self-aware of her situation; she often notes that her various mental illnesses are not to be taken lightly, but just as she manages to tear at the heartstrings, she packs the punch with a self-deprecating line that makes you laugh uncomfortably for maybe just a second, and then embrace the hilarity that ensues. She'll tell you about the time she was up until 3:00 AM having a dead raccoon rodeo in her kitchen with Rory the Dead Raccoon (a taxidermy raccoon), and about every real argument she has with her husband Victor, and you realize that even though you don't own a dead raccoon - you can totally relate.
Lawson knows she's human, and she knows she suffers from a messy mix of mental illness', but she's here to show you that even through the pain, and all the crap that she's dealt - there's always a time to laugh, to be ridiculous, and to just feel whatever feelings you need to feel. With lines like, “I AM GOING TO BE FURIOUSLY HAPPY, OUT OF SHEER SPITE,” and, “Normal is boring. Weird is better. Goats are awesome, but only in small quantities.” It's easy to know that throughout the entire book, Jenny is here to be your friend and confidant. She's odd, she's quirky, she swears like a sailor, she's honest and raw, and she let's you know that you're not alone. She won't sugarcoat anything; battling mental illness is incredibly hard and some days, she finds herself bedridden and hiding from audiences at conferences - she'll give it to you straight. And there's something refreshing about her brashness that makes you simultaneously uncomfortable and at ease. She's the laugh you need on the subway, she's the cry you need when you need to cry (and let's be real, everyone needs a good cry), and she's your metaphorical shoulder to lean on to let you know that hey, maybe you're crazy, but aren't we all?
A complete page-turner, packed with enough emotion and laughter to confuse the hell out of you, you’ll put this book down and immediately feel inspired to grab life by the horns. Lawson will give you the balls to say 'yes' to the things you’re too afraid to do, to laugh when you should (and when you shouldn't), and to embrace your weirdness. By the end of page 329, you will embrace the art of being Furiously Happy too, guaranteed.
"Furiously Happy is a book about embracing everything that makes us who we are - the beautiful and the flawed - and then using it to find joy in fantastic and outrageous ways. Because, as Jenny's mom says, "Maybe 'crazy' isn't so bad after all." Sometimes crazy is just right." - Furiously Happy, Jenny Lawson.