We received this review written from a young SOVA blogging ambassador. It’s about the mental-health writing of New York Times bestselling author Jenny Lawson, also famously known as “The Bloggess.” Lawson has been writing about her experiences for almost 10 years, and her frankness, irreverence, and humor have gained her a large following. Check her out!
A few years ago, a friend introduced me to Jenny Lawson’s writing, and her books have since become my go-to recommendations for everyone. Lawson is a blogger with a long history of anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, psychosis, and other psychiatric disorders. She has put together the stories from her blogs into 3 books, taking the reader through her HILARIOUS daily encounters with her husband, friends, therapists, and strangers. These books are seriously laugh-out-loud funny. Stories include fainting onto a cat at the vet from anxiety and accidentally crashing a funeral.
Lawson’s writing started out with her fantastic blog. Her first book, Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, is slightly funnier in my opinion, but Furiously Happy focuses a little more on mental illness. She also has a third book, You Are Here, which is more of an adult coloring book filled with positivity quotes and self-care tips. These books stand alone — no need to read them in order! Her writing is a must-read for many reasons:
- The amount of laughter she generates is self-care at its finest. You may never laugh harder from another book, and it will brighten your day.
- The stories are short, breezy reads that are great for unwinding.
- You see the inner workings of a mind that has mental illness. This point is especially important for people who can’t relate personally to mental illness. The reader will be able to better understand what a friend is going through and better know how to help. It’s Mental Health Empathy 101.
- You are reminded that it’s possible to push through whatever life throws at you. Furiously Happy has a lot of great reflections about stigma, taking medication, self-harm, getting better, and most importantly, how to still enjoy life when you’re having a rough time.
- You will learn the story behind that ridiculous raccoon on the cover (his name is Rory).
In one of my favorite stories from Furiously Happy, Lawson asks her husband if his life would be easier without her. He replied, “It might be easier. But it wouldn’t be better” (318). That’s how I’ve come to think about my own mental illness. Of course, my life would be easier if I didn’t have to give in to obsessions and compulsions, or lose hours of studying time because I’ve lost all motivation. But I would never trade those things for the empathy and kindness that I have gained from being knocked down countless times.
Jenny Lawson’s memoirs say exactly what every sufferer is thinking. She gives us raw emotion, both good and bad, to show the truth behind the stigma. I think it is so amazing that she can find humor in what could be a debilitating circumstance, and I wish that more of us could do the same. Do yourself a favor and pick up one of these books — you will not regret it!
Have you or your child ever read Jenny Lawson’s work? Have I convinced you to give her a read? Any other mental health writers you’d recommend?