Books are the best way to learn about the things in life that you may never experience, to gain an understanding of the fights going on in other peoples worlds. They help us have empathy for others. They are the windows into the souls of the authors.
Whether a book is a real life rendering of a life lived or pure fiction, when an author writes about illness you can’t help but feel for the characters. To be ill, whether mentally or physically is one of the greatest hardships in life. When your body, your home, betrays you… it’s hard not to get a little upset, even a little over dramatic maybe. It brings you down to a deep dark place that only you are able to pull yourself out of.
These two books that I want to share with you today are great examples of the fight that we can go through when our body doesn’t work the way it is supposed to. The first is an honest look into the real world of a woman fighting with her mind and body, while still finding so much humour in life. The second a fictional tale of a woman trapped by her body as she fights a very rare and difficult disease.
Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson
(also author of Let’s Pretend This Never Happened)
(also probably my favourite blogger/author/colouring book creator ever)
In this book, Jenny writes about her battle with mental illness and how she decided that instead of letting her illness control her, she would be Furiously Happy and take back control. This book switches between hilarious, roll on the floor laughing stories about taxidermy raccoons, her cats, koalas with chlamydia and how her husband is the most resilient man in the world, to her insights on mental illness, how she handles the daily struggle and motivational speeches to other sufferers. Whether you are one of the million fighting a battle with your brain, a friend or family member of someone who suffers from mental illness, or just an interested bystander, this book will make you feel like you are understood.
I would like to highly recommend checking out the audio book version! Because, did you know that often when someone writes an autobiography about their lives, they read the audio book themselves! (Check out Tina Fey’s-Bossy pants and Amy Poehler’s-Yes Please). Jenny Lawson has the type of voice and personality that holds your attention and when she tells these stories about her life you can’t help but really love her! Added Bonus: You get a few extra comments throughout the book and an extra chapter just for audio!
Jenny Lawson had me hooked after her first book; Let’s pretend this never happened, which is a collection of stories from her crazy life. Both books actually had me laughing so hard there were tears in my eyes, and more than once I had to stop reading (or press pause) so that I could regain my composure and continue on. Of course, my composure didn’t hang around long and I would lose my mind laughing again. More recently she released a new book! A colouring book as a matter of fact! You Are Here: an owners manual for dangerous minds.
Please check out her website at http://thebloggess.com and find her books wherever it is that you go.
The Woman Who Stole My Life by Marian Keys
I found this book in a ‘take a book/leave a book’ box. The cover was shiny and intriguing and the book had me hooked right off the bat.
Last year in school I was assigned a project on Guillan Barre syndrome, which happened to be a key event in the life of Stella Sweeny, the antagonist of this story. The book jumps from before, during and after her illness, and tells the story of her rise and fall from fame after her book is published.
Stella is a mother of two teenagers, the very patient wife (or ex) of an “artistic” husband, and an all around real woman. She suffers from bouts of low self-esteem, jealousy and an addiction to delicious carbs. She struggles to find her voice while promoting her book written about her time in the hospital. The ending will grab hold of your heart and not let you down until the very last page.
I found this story to be very real and honest. The characters were easy to relate to and I empathized with their troubles. This book is perfect if you’re looking for something meaningful, but easy and light.
Check out MarianKeys.com for more about her and her books!