A Review About A Funny Book About Horrible Things

In the final weeks of 2020, I started reading my latest snag from the local library, recommended to me by a mentor. The book was about 320 pages, and had a crazed-looking raccoon on the cover, arms outstretched as if it was about to go into a hug. Golden shimmering “confetti” dotted the cover around the raccoon, and in big, bold white letters, “FURIOUSLY HAPPY A Funny Book About Horrible Things” took up attention in the middle. Jenny Lawson, the author, was also noted as a #1 New York Times bestselling author of Let’s Pretend This Never Happened. Reviews filled the back of the cover, where multiple famed authors wrote their testimonials to Lawson’s comedic writing, her relatable stories, and her emotional experiences. 

Textbooks Photo by freestocks from Unsplash Furiously Happy is, as its title suggests, a funny book about horrible things. One of the core themes going on in the story Lawson knows as her life, and her other literary projects, is her constant battle with mental health, and the effects of chronic pain on her daily life. On top of that, she has book tours to complete, promotional activities to attend, a husband to stay married to, a daughter to take care of, various cats to play with, and a taxidermied raccoon to hold late-night rodeos with the aforementioned cats. There’s a lot of stuff that people just expect her to grab hold of, but it’s just really hard when life decides to pit itself against you. 

On a slightly more serious note, I really didn’t have that many expectations for the book, despite the glowing reviews from my mentor, and the authors’ quotes plastered on the back. Now, after two weeks of poring through all 325 pages, I can rightfully say that I’m thrilled to be a fan of Lawson’s work. I’m currently one of her 462.5 thousand Twitter followers, and have been reading post after post on her blog, The Bloggess. 

virtual runway show Photo by NeONBRAND from Unsplash Basically, this book is just a collection of a bunch of memorable events from Lawson’s life, from hilarious retellings of her childhood, to unique conversations she has with her therapist, or, in her words, her "shrink”. One of my favorite chapters is one of the first, and sets the tone for how the rest of this book was going to be. Titled, “I’ve Found a Kindred Soul and He Has a Very Healthy Coat,” the chapter details a certain encounter Lawson had while trying to pick up her medications from the pharmacy drive-through window. A black and white photo on the same page shows a very prominently-opened box of dog biscuits right next to the register. Lawson (and I) both puzzle over as to why the hell this box is on the register -- maybe someone decided to return the box opened? Then, in Lawson’s words, “... the pharmacist came back and while he was ringing me[Lawson] up he reached over and picked up a handful of broken dog biscuits… AND. ATE. THEM.”

She decided not to question the pharmacist himself, because she thought that one shouldn’t accuse the man giving you drugs if they were eating dog food. But throughout the car ride home, and for the rest of the day, this dog biscuit incident was the only thing she could focus on. 

“WHY THE DOG BISCUITS?”

“Can I ask this pharmacist if the other pharmacist who eats dog food is around, because I need to know the story?” 

Are Milk-Bones just really delicious and cheap cookies that no one else will steal from you? You don’t come across questions like these everyday. It’s little moments (and big revelations) like these, peppered throughout the book, that makes it such a furiously little rectangle of joy to read through. 

woman with bangs smiling Photo by Hannah Gullixson from Unsplash If you managed to get to the end of this extremely-late-night and late-in-general article draft, congratulations! I love and appreciate you for reading up to here. Also, you probably found this book at least somewhat intriguing from the little introduction I teased to you here. You should read it! I was able to snag a hardcover copy from my local library, but if you want to buy it, you could click through these Amazon and ThriftBooks links for a little online shopping. I shared a small and somewhat-befuddling moment, but this memoir is a great read, and hopefully will make you, too, furiously happy.