Thursday, September 16, 2021

Broken (in the best possible way) by Jenny Lawson


I read and loved FURIOUSLY HAPPY when I was in a pretty bad period of depression and it did for me what HYPERBOLE AND A HALF did-- it made me laugh, even as it made me feel seen. When one of Jenny Lawson's follow-up memoirs went on sale, I bought it immediately without even checking to see what it was about, because the warm, glowy feelings I had from FURIOUSLY were so strong.

Sadly, I didn't really enjoy this one much at all. There's a scene in the TV show The Critic where Jay's boss, Duke, wants the ratings to go up and starts harassing Jay to be more funny. After a pretty lame pun, Duke demands, on-air, "Where's the joke?" to which Jay sheepishly says, "It's really more of a bon-mot." Duke is not amused. I felt a lot like Duke while reading this book, waiting for a joke that never arrived. Especially since the author's zany, stream-of-consciousness humor felt so forced and unlike her previous book.

There were a few sections about this book that were really good. I think her open letter to her insurance provider should be printed out and everyone should be made to read it (especially politicians and law-makers). I also liked the sections where she talks openly about mental health and chronic pain, because those are things that should be normalized, and the more people do that, the more natural it seems. The cringe compilation she got from her followers sharing some of their top embarrassing moments was also pretty great-- although in that section, the humor really wasn't hers. Bits and pieces of the writing in other sections wrenched a smile or a raised eyebrow but overall, this was a miss for me.

2 to 2.5 out of 5 stars

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