This was my very first Jenny Lawson novel, and I was not disappointed. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but what I ended up with was the literary equivalent of hearing my ADD friends talk (and it was absolutely glorious).
In Broken, Jenny Lawson discusses her mental health and autoimmune disorders with humor and heart. Through hilarious stories and heartfelt reflections, Jenny will have you laughing out loud and struggling to hold back tears, sometimes all at the same time. From the six ways she lost a shoe right off her foot in public to the 33 things she said to strangers that now gets her out of parties, I could hardly contain my giggles. Her poignant reflections on even the most random things make this book worth the read.
This is one of those books I’m so glad I listened to on audio. I looked like a maniac cackling in my car on my way to work, or sitting in the office doing menial tasks listening to Jenny tell me about her lawn rats and live catching a skunk barely able to contain myself. She delivers her stories in a complete deadpan, and while it sounds absolutely bizarre to readers and listeners, it’s her truth and you can tell this is really how she thinks. I can’t help but feel Jenny would make an excellent friend. The only downside to listening instead of reading right off the page is that I couldn’t make notes on some of my favorite quotes, both hilarious and inspiring.
My favorite parts of the book came from the humor, because that was more or less what I was expecting from her. Even having never read a book by her, I’m familiar with Jenny and all her antics, especially because so many of my friends are already big fans. And like I said, her voice and the things she says remind me exactly of them. The unexpected parts of this book, and admittedly not so much my favorite, was her deeper reflections on mental health and that journey for her. Don’t get me wrong, it’s extremely relatable: there’s something truly validating about listening to someone as successful as Lawson tell you about a deep, internal tired preventing her from living life, or an absolutely crippling anxiety that keeps her from enjoying the world, even when she’s been afforded every opportunity. Because there’s a guilt that comes with that, with not experiencing things even when those you love most don’t understand it, and I’m so glad she says, you shouldn’t feel guilty about the things you can’t do right now; put yourself first.
I did love hearing her experiences and following her “of course you have Hashimoto’s disease” narrative; Lawson’s been through a lot, but she has a good humor about it even when the days are hard. She’s real, raw, and honest. As a narrative, this is great and relatable, but once she becomes more abstract is when she loses me. The way she looks at the world is beautiful and imaginative, but sometimes I’m just too much of a realist to take that perspective. It’s extremely well written, and like I said, full of heart, but at times feels more like an inspirational self-help than the memoir portion that I enjoyed most.
100%, hands down, read this book. Even better, listen to it. It’s just too damn funny to pass up on. Especially if you or a friend has anxiety, ADD, or depression…you’ll find yourself in these pages, or you’ll better understand the ones you love.
Have a wonderful week, pals. ❤