Awkward and challenging.
Lawson – better known as The Bloggess – has been on my radar for a while. The giant metal chicken? That shit is entertaining. I enjoy her blog from time to time, but I’m not a regular visitor. This book has not convinced me that I should become one, but sometimes her sentiments are right on – like today’s post. And the cover of the book is super rad.
While Jenny’s journey through mental illness, and plain old quirkiness, is sometimes endearing, it is an extremely challenging read. All I could think for the first 50 pages was, ‘man, this girl would be exhausting to be friends with’. Some sections of the book were hilarious, to the point where I was almost crying I was laughing so hard (dead squirrel puppet, bursting baby diaper, and machete attack on vultures). But, I wasn’t laughing as often as I expected.
It wasn’t that I found the other parts of the book unfunny, or sad, I simply found wading through the tangents getting on my nerves. Once I got to the mauled by wild dogs story, I was basically skimming. There was just too much nonsense – not delightful, nonsensical fun just nonsense. It needed a good edit, but I have the feeling – and this is complete supposition – that Lawson wouldn’t really be that open to someone else fiddling with her words.
I’ve read reviews saying that this is a great book about conquering mental illness. I don’t see that at all. Large parts of this book feel like they were written during a very long manic period. By the end, I mostly got ‘screw everyone else, I’m just going to do what I want’ and I can respect that – to a point. What I couldn’t get behind is the way she speaks to/about Victor. I’m sure a lot of the stuff she’s listed in the book is exaggerated in her normal, fanciful way, but honestly, it seems like she kind of treats her husband like crap and uses her anxiety disorder to get away with it. And even if what she wrote isn’t true (the post-it notes chapter), the fact that she seems to enjoy her behaviour, directed at a husband who appears to love her through her most challenging moments, makes me enjoy her story less.
In closing, while I’m not sad that I read this, I don’t know if I would recommend it to other people. And definitely not to anyone who isn’t already familiar with her style. I received this book as a gift from a lovely friend. Since I’m anal with my books, it was still like new after I finished it. I may have decided to lovingly exchange it for a copy of Necronomicon.
Awkward and challenging.