Welcome to “Read This, Read That,” where I invite friends, bloggers, and bibliophiles of all sorts to share some of their favorite books or writing with Mode and the Like. From novels and poems to cookbooks and art tomes, you’ll find a diverse selection of recommended reading in this feature.
Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson
recommended by Shelby
A chuckle perhaps has escaped when reading some of the recent books that I’ve added to my shelves, but nothing compares to the almost wetting of myself and tears running down my face as I read Lawson’s latest book, Furiously Happy. Never have I ever felt more connected to a book—heck, to an author—than perhaps the vampiric stint I went through in middle school. In Furiously Happy, Lawson sets out on an impossible task: make the modern world understand the beauty of her mental illness.
This is an autobiography, but really it’s a biography of my life that Lawson must have been watching from the oak tree in my backyard. I completely understand on many emotional levels exactly what she talks about when she mentions the crazy shit she has done thanks to her illnesses. Being a diagnosed “crazy” person myself, I am completely aware of the skepticism that comes with the label “depression.” In fact, that skepticism, which Lawson touches on as well, is still present in my day-to-day life as I take my expensive medication, talk to my expensive therapist, and wonder if am I really that crazy that I need to do these outlandish things. Could this just be a sugar pill and wouldn’t it have the same effect? What if I’m part of “Big Pharmacy’s” plan to make everyone believe they’re insane to some extent and need drugs? I sit and ponder these thoughts too often and Lawson assured me that this is all too common for her as well.
For once, someone has taken the truly scary sides of depression such as self-harm, suicidal thoughts, it being hereditary, etc., and forced it into a different, brighter picture. I laugh alongside her hilarious moments of insomnia and the wonderfully detailed descriptions of her cats and husband, but I also feel that she has described depression in a way that is easy to swallow, having been sugarcoated so deliciously in the chapter before. Lawson’s work is a treat; her style is conversational, yet serious when it needs to be; her chapters breeze by to the point that I needed to stop reading for fear I was going to finish too soon. She makes me feel okay that I do weird things at all hours of the day thanks to my mental illness and she wants everyone to feel that way as well.
A recent literature graduate with no plans for the near future, Shelby is an aspiring novelist herself who enjoys sleeping and eating, talking with her therapist and cat (two separate beings, most of the time), driving around and forgetting where she was going, laying out in the sun reading, and staring into her boyfriend’s eyes.
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