While I was registering people to vote in Half Price Books, people kept asking me about a book signing for Furiously Happy. I'd never heard of the book or read Jenny Lawson's blog, but the crazy raccoon on the cover, and her legions of devotes fans, made me curious. I was even more intrigued when I discovered that my lovely and talented friend Sarah Mensinga did the inside cover drawings. So I decided to buy the book and check it out.
While it's not the kind of book I usually read (I prefer scifi/fantasy to memoir), I ended up really loving it. Lawson has an amazing sense of humor, which makes her writing hilariously funny even when she's writing about terrible, dark things. I could relate to her struggles with depression, and the shame of not fitting in. Yet Lawson's snappy intelligence and sharp observations makes this book about more than just depression or mental illness. In her offbeat way, Lawson pokes fun at our uptight society as well. I particularly loved the part about her getting attacked by swans (yes, swans can be aggressive. They're very territorial). It reminded me of another book I like, The Seventh Bride.
Still, I could only bring myself to read this book in small doses. It's mix of pain and fierce joy made it a bit of an intense read, and Lawson's manic escapades felt very over the top (in a delightful, but in-your-face way). It felt a bit like a roller coaster read that never seemed to stop. Overall, I enjoyed this book, and I'd recommend it to anyone with a quirky sense of humor, or who's ever struggled with mental illness, or who knows anyone who's struggled with mental illness. Lawson clings to life and joy with the strength and ferocity of someone who know how hard won those things can be. I think I'm going to read her first book, Let's Pretend This Never Happened, next.