Readers familiar with Jenny Lawson, as either The Bloggess or the author of the 2012 bestseller Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, are aware that she has created a tribe of perfectly flawed followers by telling hilarious stories about some of the darkest times in her life. Furiously Happy is similar in focus—you’ll find taxidermy, riotous fights with husband Victor and funny if slightly scary family stories—but Lawson’s latest book is even more open about the challenges posed by illness. It will make you laugh to the point of tears, but it could also help you make it through the toughest stuff life has to offer.
Lawson’s diagnosed illnesses, mental and physical, stack like layers of a wedding cake, and she often finds herself in the midst of a panic attack or rheumatoid arthritis flare-up while facing the public demands of her job. “It’s hard to understand anyone’s being depressed or anxious when they’ve been given a gift it seems anyone would kill for. . . . But still, it happens,” she writes. As a result, she has learned to show up for life even when it’s scary, but also to savor time at home, reach out to folks on Twitter for support on bad days and pay very close attention when things are going well.
This adds up to a kind of mission statement, a commitment to wild joy in the face of adversity. If the downside of being a Bloggess is tough, the perks include asking the IRS for stuffed armadillo deductions, dressing as a koala to the great confusion of the Australian tourist industry and having the kind of connections needed to get new limbs made for a dead raccoon who suffered a postmortem rollercoaster mishap. Living well may be the best revenge but instead, why not be “furiously happy”?