(In the Best Possible Way)
How do I love Jenny? Let me count the ways…
From the publisher marketing:
As Jenny Lawson’s hundreds of thousands of fans know, she suffers from depression. In Broken, she explores her experimental treatment of transcranial magnetic stimulation with brutal honesty. But also with brutal humor. Jenny discusses the frustration of dealing with her insurance company in “An Open Letter to My Insurance Company,” which should be an anthem for anyone who has ever had to call their insurance company to try and get a claim covered. She tackles such timelessly debated questions as “How do dogs know they have penises?” We see how her vacuum cleaner almost set her house on fire, how she was attacked by three bears, business ideas she wants to pitch to Shark Tank, and why she can never go back to the post office. Of course, Jenny’s long-suffering husband Victor–the Ricky to Jenny’s Lucille Ball–is present throughout.A treat for Jenny Lawson’s already existing fans, and destined to convert new ones, Broken is a beacon of hope and a wellspring of laughter.
I read this book when I was having a hard time coping with everything back in January. The winter was dredging on, I was canceling virtual plans with my best friend, everything felt so monumentally overwhelming, employees at the store were resigning and we were all really struggling as a team to make things work. The majority of us at the bookstore deal with depression and/or anxiety. For me, my anxiety is worse in the winter, particularly when we have lots of snow which triggers my PTSD (I was in a very bad car accident in a snowstorm 6 years ago and nearly had a repeated on the 6th anniversary, literally to the day).
But back to the store – as a group of readers, we were given the greatest treat – multiple advance copies of Broken. We passed them around and after I promised the staff members who didn’t already know Jenny that the book would ultimately be hopeful, we had a mini store book club of sorts which was the winter balm it turned out we all needed.
Jenny doesn’t mention the pandemic. At all. And it is amazing how refreshing that fact in and of itself is. I’ve followed her blog for quite a few years since I first read Let’s Pretend This Never Happened three years ago and so a few of the stories in Broken were familiar, though the essays pieces are original to the book. While I have favorite moments from the book as a whole, it is similar to Jenny’s other works in that the overarching theme is:
It’s okay you’re not okay, but it will get better – I promise.(This isn’t a direct quote but I wanted to emphasize it.)
There are plenty of hysterical conversations between Jenny and her husband, Victor, many of which make me laugh so hard I cry because I can overwhelming relate (my husband concurs that he can also overwhelmingly relate to Victor’s side of things). There are stories of Jenny’s dog, Dorothy Barker, and Haley, her daughter and now full grown teenager, features prominently as well. There are more taxidermized animals in strange clothes and more stories of Jenny’s unconventional childhood.
It is a treat for old fans and new alike, and is, dare I say, the perfect balm for those who are really struggling with the ongoing pandemic’s affect on their mental health.
Rating: 9 out of 10
Where to Buy
In the USA, I recommend purchasing through BookShop or your local independent, in the UK, and many other parts of the world, I recommend Blackwell’s, and if neither of those cover where you live, I recommend checking out your local booksellers! Independent bookstores are vital parts of every local community and I wholly endorse supporting your local stores versus Amazon.