I really needed to know about Jenny Lawson a long time ago. She’s a blogger who became famous, partly because she’s insanely funny, partly because of the conversation she fosters about mental illness. Like her legions of followers, what I found in her writing is recognition and validation.
I read Furiously Happy first, and was so struck by it that I interrupted all my other reading to get Let’s Pretend This Never Happened that same weekend. They are both completely bonkers, in a fabulous way (see, for example, the author’s own personal taxidermied animals on the covers). But I think Let’s Pretend suffered from the timing, because I connected very strongly with Furiously Happy, and it would have been difficult for any similar book to follow.
If I had read Let’s Pretend first, I probably would have been floored by the nonsensical humor, absurd anecdotes, and—perhaps most of all—the conversations between her and her husband. (Like this one.) I’m glad to have read both books, and glad that I liked her second book better, because that bodes well for our progressing together (Jenny Lawson and me). Her first book was funny, but Furiously Happy was important to me.
I’m figuring out all this stuff on my own—things like social anxiety and generalized anxiety and being an introvert—so finding out that other people are the same way is a big deal. Even more important is seeing how other people deal with it, and discovering that you can change your idea of what “handling it” looks like. Somehow I’ve been under the impression, all this time, that having things under control meant no one else could tell I had any limitations. I always had to have a cover, an excuse that a “normal” person would buy. This was obviously exhausting, not to mention unsustainable. Everything Jenny Lawson writes chips away at that burden, but Furiously Happy does it with specific and hilarious focus.
This book might be important to you too, if you have anxiety, or if you know someone who has anxiety—and maybe also if you don’t know anyone with anxiety, because it might turn out that you know someone like me, very private and terrible at communicating their needs, and in reading this book you’ll recognize their behaviors and be suddenly able to understand things about them that have always confused or frustrated you. Whether you’re anticipating that possibility or reading purely for pleasure, I think it’s worth the time.