Jenny Lawson is a woman with a mission. This mission first became clear in her childhood memoir, Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, which took odd, sometimes difficult times, and made laugh-out-loud but touching humour out of them. Lawson is determined, despite sometimes crippling mental health issues, to do a Thoreau on it and suck out all the marrow of life – but, unsurprisingly, she’s funnier than Thoreau, and would probably throw in a pun about marrow for you, to boot.
Her new memoir, Furiously Happy, is for when we need reminding that we’re all weird, and that, as Lawson puts it, ‘there are advantages to being “a bit touched”’.
Short, blog-style essays offer stories plucked from her adult life as she does more than try to cope with sometime debilitating depression and anxiety. Lawson is determined to find joy wherever she can (cue the title). The book is happy proof that it really, really helps to be able to see the funny side of as many things as possible – and that this ability may be the difference between your perception of something as a disaster or just mere trouble.
As with all great humour, hidden among the laughs are some very serious points.
Slipped in at the end of a hilarious episode involving a panic attack, as she tries to hide from the world in a hotel room, are these wise lines: ‘Maybe one day… I’ll be able to relax and enjoy my life without letting fear keep me from living it. Maybe one day I’ll easily acknowledge the frank truth… that I have no other choice but to breathe and move forward.’
Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson (Picador, £12.99), is available now