Tuesday 27 July 2021

#CBR13 Book 24: "Broken (in the best possible way)" by Jenny Lawson

Page count: 288 pages
Audio book length: 8 hrs 18 mins
Rating: 4.5 stars

CBR13 Bingo: Rep (features honest and sometimes graphic descriptions of life with a variety of mental and chronic illnesses)
It's no secret that Jenny Lawson, known online and to her followers as The Bloggess, suffers from a large number of ailments, both physical and mental. She has dealt with various kinds of chronic illness throughout her life and manages to be mostly very light-hearted and humourous about it. 

I chose to get this book in audio, because Jenny Lawson narrates her own books, and hearing her voice talk about all these frequently absurd, yet also occasionally absolutely heart-breaking things makes me feel closer to her. Due to the pandemic, this book was recorded in a closet in her house that she turned into a recording booth, which led to its own challenges, mainly that her cats didn't necessarily want to give her privacy while recording. At least a few places, the mews have been left in the finished book.

In contrast to her previous two books, I found this one a bit slow to get into. She also covers some really rather serious topics, and lets her readers in on some of the 'secrets' of a long-lasting and successful marriage, when one of the partners has as many health considerations as Ms. Lawson does. She is very honest about the tolls her depression takes on herself and those close to her, and one of the most affecting parts of the book is her open letter to her insurance company, literally begging them to fund essential life-improving treatments for her. As Ms. Lawson points out, in many cases, she's privileged enough to be able to afford some of them, but the vast majority of Americans cannot, and in a lot of cases, this can literally lead to deaths. 

As I'm currently struggling with anxiety and depression as well, reading about Ms. Lawson's stuggles certainly puts things into perspective. My depression is (hopefully) a passing thing, which will get better with medication and therapy. I'm never going to have to resort to ketamine injections or transcranial magnetic stimulation to live a halfway normal life. Jenny Lawson has shared a lot of her life with readers already, not only on her blog, but in two previous memoirs, Let's Pretend This Never Happened and Furiously HappyBoth are highly recommended. However, if you read either or both of these before, and they didn't appeal to you, this book won't either. 

Judging a book by its cover: With her third book, Jenny Lawson wanted to do something different with the cover, and the very talented Omar Rayyan turned a photo where she's holding one of her many cats into this brilliant depiction of her and the monster that I think is supposed to symbolise her depression and/or chronic illness. Or possibly just the weirdness that is her life. Either way, I love it. 

Crossposted on Cannonball Read

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