Let me start by saying that this book needs one long trigger warning. Jenny Lawson actually starts the book by imploring with you not to read it. This is a "funny book about horrible things." Some of those terrible things have to do with mental illness, self-harm and other related issues. If you struggle with any of those things and reading about them makes you feel worse, I have to side with Jenny on this one, please do not read this book.
Now that we've taken care of business, I'll tell you four reasons you SHOULD read this book.
1. It may be one long trigger, but it's the funniest trigger I've ever read.
I laughed the whole way through this book. Jenny is candid, honest, slightly delusional, and candid and honest about all of her delusions. She flawlessly transitions between humorous anecdotes and intimate explorations into the darker depths of her psyche.
2. It de-stigmatizes and normalizes
If you have very little experience with poor mental health or a lot of experience having your mental health stigmatized, this book is an educational breath of fresh air. While so much of the book is anecdotal and relies on Jenny's perspective on her own mental health to tell the story, it subtly weaves in discussions of challenges many people who struggle with mental health face. Because mental health is so personal and no one human has the same experience, it can feel very lonely and hard to understand your own journey, let alone someone elses'. Furiously Happy simultaneously made me feel less alone and better able to support my friends and family with experiences very different from my own.
3. It actively acknowledges that there are things that can be done
While Jenny is very open and honest about the parts of her life and her mental health that feel very much out of her control, she writes A LOT about the things that are. She writes about medication, therapists, coping mechanisms and allowing her friends and family to keep her accountable.
4. It encourages
Honestly, if you don't have time to read this entire book, just read the epilogue. If you're having the worst day of your life and feel like you can't do it anymore, drive to Barnes and Noble, find Furiously Happy, turn to page 323 and read the crap out of the epilogue. It will remind you why you've been trying so hard all this time and why you decided not to give up the last time.
I loved this book. There are painful moments when Jenny walks you through some of her darkest and most helpless times and there are hilarious ones where she takes you through some of her happiest and fondest memories. I appreciate her willingness to share the good and the bad in such a balanced way, her devotion to exposing the unrealistic expectation for consistency in life, and her unapologetic love affair with being furiously happy.