Book Review: ‘Furiously Happy’ by Jenny Lawson

Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson

The author of this book, Jenny Lawson, is also known as The Bloggess. Yup, make sure you check out her blog *wink*. Her first book ‘Let’s Pretend This Never Happened’ was a #1 New York Times bestseller. And I won’t be surprised if this book rises to the top of the charts too. It’s hilarious. I even read it twice. The funniest part of it all has to be the fact that I enjoy reading what a woman has to say about her struggles with depression and anxiety. And I feel relieved I don’t have any of those illnesses she’s living with – and it’s quite a long list too! But ultimately, I feel happy for her that she has a husband (Victor) who loves her, quirks and all. 🙂

I’m one of those crazy (hur hur) folks who love to read books from cover to cover. This means that I read the ‘Praise’ section as well, and I love knowing what other people have to say about the book before I read it myself. In ‘Furiously Happy’, the author wrote her own (fake) “Advance Praise” for the book, pretending to be Charles Dickens, Ernest Hemingway, Jane Austen, Dorothy Parker, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Stephen King, William Shakespeare, and her current shrink. LOL! This sets the tone for what is to come in the rest of the book! She says this is one “funny book about living with mental illness”. I like that she ‘lives’ with it, instead of suffering from it, and so we can all laugh together. 🙂

Furiously Happy is, in her own words, “about taking those moments when things are fine and making them amazing, because those moments are what make us who we are, and they’re the same moments we take into battle with us when our brains declare war on our very existence. It’s the difference between “surviving life” and “living life”.

She reminds me to make that decision to be ridiculously happy, no matter what.

Jenny has been described by her doctors as “a high-functioning depressive with severe anxiety disorder, moderate clinical depression, and mild self-harm issues that stem from an impulse-control disorder”. And if that doesn’t sound bad enough, she also has avoidant personality disorder, occasional depersonalization disorder, rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune issues, mild OCD and trichotillomania.

She’s also allergic to latex so condoms might give her a vaginal rash. She has chronic insomnia. She has a tendency to pick at her cuticles till they bleed, then pick at the scabs when she is nervous. She will also pull her hair out and scratch her scalp and forehead. Apparently, it’s something called Dematillomania: “an impulse control disorder that makes you want to scratch your skin off”.

In this book, she also shares about the time her gallbladder had started to gangrene. And if you think that’s the end of her health woes, she shares that when she goes underwater, she’ll always get an ear infection. And oh, she’s “dangerously lactose intolerant” and lives with “a host of phobias”. I bet you’re wondering, just like I am… How can this woman still be alive?


“And when we see celebrities who fall victim to depression’s lies we think to ourselves, “How in the world could they have killed themselves? They had everything.” But they didn’t. They didn’t have a cure for an illness that convinced them they were better off dead.”


But I’m glad she shares these things. It’s how I can begin to understand why people like successful actor Robin Williams would want to kill themselves. How is it possible that they choose to end their lives despite their success and the millions of people around the world who adore them? Now I know.

And I do suspect that she knows (new) readers like me would be skeptical about the amazing things she says happened to her. Thankfully, she provides pictures in the book to prove to skeptics that she did indeed encounter a pharmacist at the drive-through who eats dog biscuits, catch live catfish in a water-filled canoe in the backyard, take a photo with a koala while wearing a koala costume, and frolic in the outback while wearing a kangaroo suit. All these events are properly documented and supported with black-and-white photographs. 😀 So she’s not that crazy after all 🙂

I love when she spouts such truths as “when I’m fatter my wrinkles disappear”. Hahaha! It’s what I’ve always thought but never found the guts to reveal to a fat person I meet who’s lamenting the fact the he/she is old. If you don’t have wrinkles, stop saying you’re old, please.


“…appreciate the fact that what drives you is very different from what you’re told should make you happy. You learn that it’s okay to prefer your personal idea of heaven (live-tweeting zombie movies from under a blanket of kittens) rather than someone else’s idea that fame/fortune/parties are the pinnacle that we should all reach for. And there’s something surprisingly freeing about that”


More quotable quotes from this outstanding book:

“It doesn’t mean I’m a failure at appreciating the good things in life. It means I’m successful in recognizing what the good things in life are for me.”

“Don’t sabotage yourself. There are plenty of other people willing to do that for free.”

“…stop judging yourself against shiny people. Avoid the shiny people. The shiny people are a lie. Or get to know them enough to realize they aren’t so shiny after all.”

All in all, I think everyone should read this book because it’s hilarious! And also because this woman does the insane things I wish I had the guts to do, like be photographed with a koala while wearing a koala costume. Sometimes we should all allow ourselves to be a little crazy. 😀


Grab a copy of ‘Furiously Happy’ at all good bookstores at just S$27.99, before GST. 🙂

It’s totally worth the pricetag! 😀


2 thoughts on “Book Review: ‘Furiously Happy’ by Jenny Lawson

    • Hahaha! She’s super funny. When I find one of those books that make me chuckle (out loud), I just hafta read them more than once. 😀

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