Thursday, July 27, 2017

The Book Review and the Caterpillar

My Review for Furiousy Happy by Jenny Lawson:

I found the first third of the book difficult to get through. Lawson's revelations and frank assessments about her mental health were gripping and peppered with insane humor. Insane because I was reduced to bouts of teary-eyed laughter in places. The middle third was tamer. The Appendix: Interview with the Author situated in the middle of the book was a great idea and most helpful. The last third held the payoff--the real reason to make it to the end. For me is was The File of 24, which contains the letters from people who changed their minds about suicide, and Victor's answer to Jenny saying, "I felt like his life would be easier without me." His answer, "It might be easier. But it wouldn't be better."

Jenny Lawson's journey through life will never be easy, but it will be well documented in her personal style with interesting expletives, poignant stories of survival, growing self-awareness, and the laugh-out-loud funny.

It seems that whenever I read a Jenny Lawson book I get infected with her irreverent writing style. It happened with her first book, Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, and to a lesser extent with the second, Furiously Happy.

I lived in Austin, TX and was taken with Lawson’s first book because of its location in what I remember as the Texas hill country. It struck a chord. Likewise the taxidermy. And the fun she had buying the gigantic metal rooster was amplified went I started seeing them for sale in eastern Iowa. Who knew they would become a thing. Anyway, I’ve been on a mission to document every sighting on my Facebook author’s page ever since. (My last photo entry had like a dozen.)

As I said, I liked her free-wheeling writing style and could channel it way too easily. So much so that I had to force myself to stop. I’m not her.

However, I’ve come back to that style once again and it may save me for this weekend. You see I jumped at a chance to be part of a new event at the QC Botanical Center in Rock Island. Jane had asked if I had anything nature related. I asked if Monarch butterflies counted? She said yes. I said yes. When I had a minute more to think about what I’d done I realized I really didn’t have anything newer than a newspaper article published years ago when I first started my butterfly garden. I was in trouble.

Then we had a night of storm warnings, our smoke alarm went off at midnight, and everything fell into place. I had my own off-beat story to tell, in my own way, and in my own voice. I’ll find out what the reaction to it will be on Saturday. 

Time to practice the delivery.

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