Furiously Happy, by Jenny Lawson

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I’d like to get back to writing real reviews rather than mini-reviews – at least for some books. I’ll use a line of questioning outline in Susan Wise Bauer’s The Well Educated Mind.

Summary: Blogger Jenny Lawson writes an hysterical memoir about her adventures while trying to be furiously happy. She is a warrior for destigmatizing mental illness, and this subject is the main point of her memoir. She wants to be furiously happy rather than wallowing in self-pity.

Review:

👽 Is there meaning to the title or cover?
Yes, the cover is a happy raccoon, which represents her own stuffed raccoon which she uses for all sorts of pranks and shenanigans. (She is a taxidermist.)
The title is the main point of her book – instead of wallowing in self-pity about mental illness, we should try to be furiously happy despite the mental illness. Let go of our inhibitions and be happy in the face of adversity (and especially the face of people who don’t like you).
👽 What are the central events of the book?
It’s hard to pinpoint the central events of this book. It, of course, centers around her deciding to be furiously happy – so she starts going on adventures even though they are outside of her comfort zone. Adventures like going to Australia despite her agoraphobia. Fun like wearing a koala suit while going to see the koalas.
👽 What historical events coincide – or merge – with these personal events?
Well, the book was written around 2015, so I’d say the major events that were going on in Obama-era times was the Great Recession, though I don’t recall her mentioning it.
👽 Who is the most important person (or people) in the writer’s life? What events form the outline of that story?
Her husband is the most important person in her life – considering how many times he was mentioned in the memoir. He is a Republican, and she is a Democrat; he is sensible, and she is often irrational.
👽 What is the theme that ties the narrative together?
The theme of the book is being furiously happy, of course. 🙂
👽 Where is the life’s turning point?
In this memoir, it’s when she decides to become furiously happy.
👽 For what does the writer apologize? In apologizing, how does the writer justify?
The writer doesn’t really apologize, but I suppose she offers excuses for being so deeply depressed that she had to decide to be furiously happy out of spite. She justifies this by having an array of mental illnesses and sleeping disorders. She also excuses herself for bugging her husband with shenanigans by pointing out that it’s her way of fighting her depression.
👽 What is the model – the ideal – for this person’s life?
The ideal, I guess, would be perfect mental health. But that’s not going to happen, so she settles for being furiously happy.
👽 What is the place where the writer has arrived, found closure, discovered rest?
Lawson has developed as a blogger and gotten a strong following due to her efforts to destigmatize mental illness and encourage people to be furiously happy.
👽 What are the three moments / time frames of the work?
This story’s timeline is all out of order, as far as I can determine. But I suppose they would center around her deciding to be furiously happy. She talks very little about her time before deciding to be furiously happy. She was deeply depressed at that time. The book is almost a set of short essays about events in her life while attempting to be furiously happy.
👽 Where does the writer’s judgement lie?
I guess if she judged anyone, it was people who stigmatize mental illness and people who want her to be unhappy. These people were not talked much about in her memoir, but she dropped hints of them on occasion.
👽 Do you reach a different conclusion than the author about the pattern of his / her life?
Nope
👽 What have you brought away from this story?
That a good sense of humor can solve many problems. 🙂

Nonfiction November 2019 Week 2 (A little late)

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Week 2: (Nov. 4 to 8) – Book Pairing (Sarah of Sarah’s Book Shelves): This week, pair up a nonfiction book with a fiction title. It can be a “If you loved this book, read this!” or just two titles that you think would go well together. Maybe it’s a historical novel and you’d like to get the real history by reading a nonfiction version of the story.

 

Completed

First, a pair I’d like to read. I have been fascinated at the concept behind The Janissary Tree (a mystery novel set in 1830’s Istanbul) for a while, and it would be fun to pair that with an historical book on the Ottoman Empire. This empire has been haunting the imagination of historical fiction writers for quite a while – I wish there were as many fantastic history books on the subject as there are fiction, but most have a poor rating. I’m trying to find one that appeals. Any suggestions other than the book above?

 

Completed

Since the third book in the Wolf Hall trilogy is finally coming out in March, I may listen to the first two, along with a biography of Thomas Cromwell this coming year. This one looks well-written.

 

 

Update November 9, 2019

This has been a pretty uneventful week. In fact, yesterday I took these pictures of the family specifically because I had nothing new for the blog. 🤪 Of course, the first is of M and me. He actually sat by me of his own accord. I don’t recall him ever doing that in the past. (I met him when he was 5, and he was a little skeptical of the stepmom thing.) The second picture is Aaron and D, followed by a picture of IL.

I did get a lot of audiobook listening in last week, as well as more than usual reading. (I decided it’s not “cheating” to use some of the baby’s nap-time for reading. He takes two naps, so I can always do some cleaning during the other nap.)

Currently Reading

Currently Reading

Completed last week

Completed

Acquired

Just The Dark Fantastic (shown above) from the library.

 

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Tynga’s Reviews

Nonfiction November Week 1 (A Little Late)

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Well, I decided a little late to jump on the Nonfiction November bandwagon. I’ll just do a little catch-up.

Week 1: (Oct. 28 to Nov. 1) – Your Year in Nonfiction (Julz of Julz Reads): Take a look back at your year of nonfiction and reflect on the following questions – What was your favorite nonfiction read of the year? Do you have a particular topic you’ve been attracted to more this year? What nonfiction book have you recommended the most? What are you hoping to get out of participating in Nonfiction November?

Completed

These are the nonfiction books I read this year. Few, I know. But I’ll do better next year, I hope.

What was your favorite nonfiction read of the year?

My favorite of the year was American Overdose. So tragic and eye-opening.

Do you have a particular topic you’ve been attracted to more this year?

I guess all of these books have a theme: they are about prejudice. Whether it be racial, gender, or occupation prejudice – it all sucks.

What nonfiction book have you recommended the most?

Of these, I’d say Radium Girls was the most readable.

What are you hoping to get out of participating in Nonfiction November?

Since moving to WordPress, I haven’t had opportunity to connect with people with similar reading interests. This is my attempt to do so.

Infidel, by Pornsak Pichetshote

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Summary: Aisha, an American-Muslim woman, moves into an old apartment building with her fiance, future step-daughter, and future mother-in-law. As she notices an undercurrent of xenophobia in bother her MIL and the other apartment dwellers, she also starts seeing ghosts. The “nightmares” and “hallucinations” get worse and worse, until they are impossible to ignore.

My thoughts: Brilliant. I loved the artwork. I loved the concept. This is an intelligent graphic novel for “woke” people. Highly recommended.

 

 

The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things, by Carolyn Mackler

Summary: Virginia feels isolated from her family. They are thin, beautiful over-achievers; she feels like a chubby under-achiever. When her rugby star brother is found guilty of something terrible, she needs to rearrange her views of who her family is, and ultimately who she is.

My Thoughts: This was an excellent stotry, I see why it’s an award-winner. Although I’m not from an over-acheiving family, nor was I chubby, I could still relate to a lot of her experiences and feelings. This was a touching story.

 

4 and half snowflakes

Update November 1, 2019

I was going to write a review today, but I am so sad. A boy was struck and killed in front of D & M’s school today and on his 13th birthday, too! 😭😭😭 My prayers go out to his family.

However, I will still update you on some happier stuff, as it is the season. We carved pumpkins, of course.

Mine

D’s

M’s

Aaron’s

Note, I carved mine without drawing on it first. That’s some skillful free-hand carving, if I do say so myself.

And we trick-or-treated, of course.

That’s a crocheted Loki’s helm. Not my work. 😁

And I fed IL his first Reeses Peanut Buttr Cup (naughty me).