I first came across Jenny Lawson – better known as The Bloggess – through a blog post of hers that went viral. In the Travelling Red Dress, Jenny extolled the importance of indulging our passions, however impractical they may seem.
And the more I thought about it the more I realized how often we deny ourselves that red dress and all the other capricious, ridiculous, overindulgent and silly things that we desperately want but never let ourselves have because they are simply “not sensible”.
That philosophy is what underlies Furiously Happy.
Lawson is unashamedly frank (in both her blog and this book) about her battles with mental illness. She has been diagnosed with an entire tick list of conditions including depression and anxiety and she is keen to destigmatise mental health issues. She has several stories of how her openness and the community she has cultivated on her blog has helped people who were feeling alone and isolated.
Lawson’s message is clear. Her mental health issues are not just something to be battled, but are part of who she is. Her experience of living with them has shaped her as a person, and she freely accepts that light and shade, while giving an uncompromising glimpse into the challenges she faces in her darkest moments. But as with all of Lawson’s writing, her book contains an uplifting, funny and sideways look at life as well. Expect taxidermy, cats, arguments with her husband and strange adventures.
Focusing on being furiously happy helps Lawson through her dark times, but it also makes her the cool friend you wished you knew in real life. This is not just a book about battling mental illness. Furiously Happy is a manifesto for finding and cultivating joy in our lives and making the most of every moment we have.
Goodreads rating: 5*