cover image Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things

Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things

Jenny Lawson. Flatiron, $26.99 (352p) ISBN 978-1-250-07700-4

Popular blogger/author Lawson (Let's Pretend This Didn't Happen) writes that this "funny book" about mental illness is not so much a sequel to her last book, but rather "a collection of bizarre essays and conversations and confused thoughts stuck together by spilled boxed wine and the frustrated tears of baffled editors." While followers of Lawson's blog will be familiar with her fascination with unusual topics (e.g., stuffed critters, the mysteries of Japanese toilets), newcomers may initially be jolted by the author's litany of diagnoses (depression, anxiety, autoimmune disorders, phobias, insomnia, etc.) as well as her unique ability to turn life's lemons into hilarious stories. Lawson decides that rather than wave a white flag, she will combat mental illness by being "furiously happy." Helping her stuffed raccoons ride on her cats, visiting Australia in a koala bear costume, and battling menacing swans are just a few of the ways she creates humor in a life that might defeat a less inventive individual. She also shares days of darkness, social anxiety, and a range of fears that sometimes keep her housebound. Though mostly comedic, the text also addresses such serious issues as self-injury and why mental illness is misunderstood. Lawson insightfully explores the ways in which dark moments serve to make the lighter times all the brighter. (Sept.)