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Why don’t you read this

Why don’t you read this
The front cover has a picture of a raccoon, a taxidermized raccoon to be exact, with outstretched arms and a huge grin. The blurb has raving reviews from Neil Gaiman and Brene Brown. It’s a book that instantly grabs your attention. And I’m glad it did as I was having quite the reader’s slump when I came across it. This book got me out of it and how. It was funny, insightful, and educational. In ‘Furiously Happy’ Jenny Lawson explores her lifelong battle with mental illness. The title is based on her #furiouslyhappy movement which trended on Twitter. The theme of the movement was that people take their lives back from the ‘monster of depression’. She wanted to be furiously happy to make good moments amazing. It’s not a sequel to her first book, ‘Let’s Pretend This Didn’t Happen’ but rather a collection of bizarre essays and random thoughts. Lawson talks about her depression and anxiety and makes you laugh. You feel guilty for laughing but Lawson is witty and you just can’t help it. But that doesn’t mean she isn’t empathetic. She gives mental health its due. She makes you mull over just how important talking about depression and anxiety is so that people don’t shy away from getting the help they need.

At times you forget you are reading a book on an important issue. It feels like you are witnessing an argument between the author and her husband, Victor, or watching her make a fool of herself in the cutest way possible. But Lawson’s stories are inspiring. She is also very real and honest about some personal things. And, whenever she can, she lives her life, furiously happy. Reading the book makes you realize that you too should go out there and be furiously happy. The least you can do is try to fill your memory bank with good stuff so that you can deal with the hard times.

I’ve watched my family and friends struggle with mental illness. While I’d like to believe that I’ve always extended the support they needed, reading Furiously Happy has given me a much deeper understanding of just what they might be dealing with. Her book is an important read to normalize and destigmatize mental illness. It gives readers an insider’s perspective. There were a few chapters that I didn’t enjoy because Lawson has no filter and her language can come off as offensive. But that doesn’t mean someone else won’t be able to see themselves or their loved ones in those moments. I wish I had read this book sooner. Now, I wish for everyone to read it. Four stars Non-fiction Furiously Happy Jenny Lawson Published: 2015 Publisher: Picador Pages: 329, Paperback