Wednesday, May 4, 2016

The Book Review Club (May 2016)

Welcome to the May edition of The Book Review Club! My marvelous critique partner, Kathy Aarons, wrote today's review about a book she can't stop talking about. I mean, you have to really love a book to beg me to let you write a review for the blog. Well, maybe not so much "beg" as in you owe me. But, hey, it's all good. Also, I just started the book in question, and it's pretty amazing thus far! So, without further ado (love that phrase!), take it away, Kathy!

by Jenny Lawson  (adult, essays)

From Amazon: In FURIOUSLY HAPPY, #1 New York Times bestselling author Jenny Lawson explores her lifelong battle with mental illness. A hysterical, ridiculous book about crippling depression and anxiety? That sounds like a terrible idea. But terrible ideas are what Jenny does best.

I really enjoyed Jenny Lawson's memoir, LET'S PRETEND THIS NEVER HAPPENED, which delves into her eccentric childhood growing up in western Texas.

But even that didn't prepare me for all the truly laugh-out-loud moments of her recent book, FURIOUSLY HAPPY: A FUNNY BOOK ABOUT HORRIBLE THINGS.

FURIOUSLY HAPPY is a collection of essays that illustrate Lawson's wacky sense of humor, which is at its best when describing arguments with her husband. I can't help but think he's both the luckiest and most put-upon husband alive. I tried reading a few pages to my husband, but couldn't get through them because I was laughing so hard I couldn't speak.

While these humorous vignettes are worth the purchase price, what makes this book truly important is Lawson's brutally honest explorations of her mental illness. Right when I was crying with laughter, I'd be crying for an entirely different reason.

The combination of humorous stories about koalas with chlamydia interspersed with heart-breaking descriptions of her depression, anxiety and wish to self-harm, made me want to give the author a hug and a high five at the same time.

The expression "furiously happy" comes from a taxidermied raccoon named Rory, whose frozen smile and jazz hands appear to show determination to have a fun time no matter what. Lawson uses it to tell herself and demonstrate to her readers that her mental illness doesn't have to control her life. That sometimes you can choose to be happy even in the face of terrible depression or anxiety. She discusses how she's learned to deal with her complicated issues, but never preaches or pretends to know how any other sufferers should deal with theirs.

I've been recommending this book to everyone I know, whether they suffer from mental illness or not, because it can help anyone understand the day-to-day struggles of someone who does.

And it will make you laugh while you do.

From Barrie: If you're looking for Kathy, author of the nationally bestselling Chocolate Covered Mystery series (yes, I'm proud!), you'll find her on TwitterFacebook or on her website. And Jenny Lawson blogs regularly here: The Bloggess

(Dear FCC: Kathy borrowed this book from the library. Then, she went out and bought two copies. She spends a small (or large, if you believe her husband!) fortune on books.)

And now....onto the rest of our reviews. Please click through. You won't want to miss a single one!

Alyssa Goodnight: THANKS FOR THE TROUBLE by Tommy Wallach (YA, contemporary)

Ellen Booraem: INSTEAD OF THREE WISHES BY Megan Whelan Turner
                                                                                      (MG, fantasy, short stories)
Sarah Laurence: OUTRUN THE MOON by Stacey Lee (YA, historical)

                                                                                      (MG, paranormal mystery/thriller)

Jody Feldman: SCYAMORE ROW by John Grisham (thriller)

Linda McLaughlin: WHEN A SCOT TIES THE KNOT by Tessa Dare (romance)

Lucy Sartain of Ranting and Raving: THE NEXT by Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney (contemporary)

Patti Abbott:  MY BRILLIANT FRIEND by Elena Ferrante (contemporary, Italian)

Rob Costello: AN ENGLISH GHOST STORY (horror)

Ray Potthoff: AND THEN ALL HELL BROKE LOOSE by Richard Engel

Note to Reviewers: Any errors (broken link, missed review, etc), just shoot me an email or leave a comment. Thank you so much for your reviews!


  1. Kathy, there has been a lot of buzz about this book on Goodreads so it was interesting to see why. It sounds like a most original premise. Although I don't usually read essays, you made me want to check this book out.

    Barrie, thanks for hosting the book review club!

  2. Sounds like a great book--I'm going to pick this one up! Thanks for reviewing!

  3. I really need to check this one out. Thanks for the review!

  4. One of the ladies in my Eclectic Readers Group reported on this book, and it sounds just wonderful. Great review.

  5. Thanks for reviewing, Kathy. This sounds like a great book!

  6. I don't normally read essays either, but this is one of my favorite all time books!

  7. Perhaps my caretaker role these days could use a shot of this kind of humor...:)


Comments are always welcome!