If you know who The Bloggess is you probably already have this book or are on the library wait list for it. If you don’t know who she is, I hope I do her justice in this review.
I’m not sure how I discovered Jenny Lawson. I’m guessing someone posted something on Facebook and I wandered over to her site. And then I stayed there for hours, laughing until I cried and then going into that thing where you’re laughing so hard that you start to get scared that you’re hurting yourself internally and that makes it even funnier and now you’re just sobbing and you can’t stop. The only thing that makes this kind of a laugh better is when it happens at work and you have to keep it together because you can’t lose it that hard when you’re at your desk and people don’t know what you’re doing, but you’re pretty sure they aren’t hoping you’re reading a blog when you should be doing work related things. And now you’re red and tears are pouring down your face and you’re praying that the phone doesn’t ring because there is no way you can get enough air into your lungs to choke out your company approved greeting. If you’re really, really lucky, an office friend will realize you’re breaking down and send you an email asking you WTF is going on over there and you’ll email back “GO TO http://thebloggess.com/ RIGHT NOW!!!” and then you’ll hear her start to stifle shrieking laughter and you’ll mentally highfive each other over your cubicle walls.
But anyway, I discovered The Bloggess and was so smitten that I wrote her a fan message over on FB and friended her there. I don’t know how popular she was before, but suddenly it seemed like everyone was talking about her. A whole bunch of lucky ones had known about her for a long time. She’s been writing for years, although I’m currently not smart enough to figure out when her theblogges.com blog started.
I read her other work from time to time, but I follow her main Bloggess site the most. I love it because it’s a wonderful mix of childhood memories, stories of what’s going on in her day-to-day life, crazy imaginations of what’s going on in her day-to-day life, thought dumps, and just regular writing. It’s intimate and welcoming and often shriek out loud funny. But not always. Sometimes it’s painful and dark and honest, and that makes me love her so much more. She’s open about her chronic pain and depression and selfharm and has become a lifeline for many people. Literally a lifeline for some who were ready to die but realized through her and her readers that they weren’t alone. And she stresses that it’s not about her and that it is about her readers. She writes, but we’ve created the community. And it’s a beautiful community and welcoming and broken and healing. I don’t know if people understand how comforting it is when people speak of the dark times, especially when these people seem to be surrounded by light. It is possible to have a day filled with amazing energy and hope and smiles, and then to wake up the next morning and be too depressed to move. You think there’s something wrong with you that’s never happened to anyone else and it’s confusing and scary, but if you’re lucky you find a community like The Bloggess’ readers and you hear all these other stories and you start to think that maybe you can believe that depression is a lying bastard.
And then you read a post about how she found another giant mushroom that looked like a boob and you hopefully begin to know that depression is a lying bastard.
So… her book. I got the audio version and if you have the choice, get the audio version. She sings the chapter titles. There’s a bonus chapter. There are delightful rambling outtakes at the end. And honestly, when you learn the story of how a child ran into a eviscerated deer and got stuck inside and then threw up in there and then was covered in deer blood and who knows what else and also her own vomit and then her dad just hosed her and the deer off and then later they ate the deer, don’t you want to hear that story told out loud by the person it happened to?
Like her blog, there are hilarious moments and there are heartbreaking moments. The chapters with her husband Victor are outstanding. And yes, Beyoncé the Giant Metal Chicken is in here. And when Jenny tells the story, it’s even funnier.
Read her blog. Get this book. Laugh and cry and be a better person.