Review: Broken (In the Best Possible Way)


Broken (In the Best Possible Way)
By Jenny Lawson
Henry Holt and Co., 9781250077035, April 6, 2021, 304pp.

The Short of It:

I love a good laugh. It can fix many things and let’s face it, we haven’t been laughing too much this past year. If you want to use that muscle again, give this book a try.

The Rest of It:

I knew of Jenny Lawson, AKA “The Bloggess” from my early blogging days but I had never really followed her on any of the social media platforms and then I heard that she had written a book, Let’s Pretend This Never Happened. I remember thinking, good for her. Then a few years later, another book, Furiously Happy. Both books did amazingly well. But they seemed to be humorous in nature and so I never got to them. I love a good laugh but a book of humorous things? Not really my thing.

Then, I was offered a review copy of Broken (In the Best Possible Way) and my memory of her came flooding back to me. Wait a second. She writes about mental illness and depression? After sneaking a few pages in while perusing the copy that was just sent to me, I immediately knew I would read it and I would probably enjoy it a lot. True and true.

Broken is a memoir told through stories. True stories of her struggle with mental illness, depression, and even her debilitating auto-immune disorder which she suffered greatly from until she found the right medication.

Lawson says out loud, what we only think internally.

She writes about many things, mostly awkward encounters with others including neighbors, postal employees, doctors, dentists, you name it. She talks about losing her shoes while wearing them. Yes, literally stepping out of a shoe only to leave it behind somewhere. She talks about using a Shop-Vac to clean up pet food only to realize that in doing so, she has also managed to suck up raw poop sewage which of course is gross. One story after another and somehow this insecure, eccentric woman slowly becomes the friend you never had. As “out there” as some of this content is, none of it is new or odd to me. I’ve had many conversations with friends about some of the things she talks about and sometimes, even with just myself. Yes, weird.

In the section titled Awkwarding Brings Us Together, I had to stop reading because I was crying so hard from laughing. In this section, she shares Tweets that people shared with her in their attempt to one-up her in awkwardness.

Then, she includes a letter to her insurance company. Here, she gets serious. Insurance companies can deny you the one medication that you need to stay alive or they can give it to you at extreme cost. Having battled depressing most of her life, these appeals are the norm and yet in including this in the book, she is speaking to everyone who has ever had to fight for their life. It’s a little “go team!” moment if you ask me.

Broken may not be for everyone. Lawson is very blunt and her self-deprecating humor might get on your nerves a little if you aren’t used to that type of humor. She speaks of body parts quite frankly and there is a lot of  language. She is not pretending to be anyone in what she writes. This feels 100% authentic to me so her style grew on me. If you need something different and you want to laugh, then this is the book for you. And of course, if you suffer from depression, you may find some comfort in what she shares here as well.

Have you read her before?

Source: Review copy provided by the publisher.
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.

12 thoughts on “Review: Broken (In the Best Possible Way)”

    1. Do tell. I feel like she writes authentically which means that in-person she would be a lot to handle. I can see how some may not find her their cup of tea. Her writing is like non-stop talking but I needed it the day I read it. That chatter took me away from myself for a moment.

  1. I tried reading Furiously Happy and *hated* it. I don’t know why I had such a strong reaction because I don’t remember anything at all about it but I didn’t get far so maybe it was just bad timing or maybe I didn’t find what she was describing funny? I just don’t know. I love her on Twitter, though. She is very funny. The book just didn’t work for me.

    1. Does she mention mental illness in her other books too? I find that it’s a delicate line when attempting to make mental illness funny. I feel like she uses humor to deal with the challenges she is faced with and frankly, I do the same. I would not enjoy sitting in a room with her for an hour with all that self-deprecating humor but in bits here and there, I found it charming.

  2. Unlike Nancy *looking at her with a judging look* 😉, I loved Furiously Happy and this one just came off from hold yesterday for me. I am sooo looking forward to it this weekend. Maybe even tonight. Glad to hear that you liked it.

    1. It won’t take you long to read it unless you break it up by story. I loved a lot of this book. It was humorous and in her own way, I feel that she made the statement that she needed to make about the cost of health care.

  3. I love a book that makes me laugh out loud. I only vaguely remember the Bloggess from years ago, but have never tried any of her books. You’ve convinced me to put this one on hold at my library. I’m glad it entertained you so well, Ti! 🙂

    1. One particular story had me laughing so hard that the dog and child came down to see what was wrong with me and I could not breathe enough to tell her.

  4. I enjoyed this book, but liked Furiously Happy better. I love her use of the lady garden, and have gotten quite a few laughs when I have used it.

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