Book Review: “Broken (in the best possible way)” by Jenny Lawson

I finished this entire book the first day I had it, which was the first time I’d one-shot a book since February (when I finished my incredible 60-book sprint) and then I put it down and sat back on the couch to really think about it.

I’ve mentioned before how much I love Jenny Lawson, and this book is no exception – it’s real, it’s honest, and it makes me realize that I’m not alone. However, I think there’s a significant difference between this book and her previous few books: it’s not nearly as funny (or maybe I was too tired to understand all the jokes?). Yes, there are absolutely parts that made me laugh out loud, but compared to Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, the humor took a back seat.

And you know what? That’s okay. This book doesn’t have to be funny. It’s a memoir of one of the darkest times of Lawson’s life, when she was dealing with a nearly year-long pit of depression and decided to try out an electromagnetic therapy to help (literally strapped to a chair for more than a month with magnets banging against her skull for an hour each time), and was good enough after that treatment to actually go on a trip to Europe, something she said she’d never been able to think about doing before. While her treatment didn’t last as long as she wanted, it’s something that at least helped.

Mental illness is not something that’s talked about in this country very often, and Lawson’s chapter, An Open Letter to my Insurance Company, shows just how heartbreaking it really is to have a mental illness and how hard insurance companies actively fight against allowing you to get treatment. Lawson is lucky that she’s got a support system that helped her fight the insurance company and wear them down until she was able to get most of what she wanted, but so many people don’t have that luxury. As she states, there are many people who just give up when they realize that they will never be able to convince the insurance company that a mental illness is still an illness and that it requires medication. How many people have died because of our archaic and brutal health care system?

Broken is not a book for everyone, and that’s okay. But I’m hoping that the people that need to read it will read it, and that it will help them realize that they aren’t alone. As with all of Lawson’s books, this one is a 5/5 star read, and I hope that you give it a shot.

And as always, keep reading.

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