Friday, July 1, 2016

Furiously Happy / Jenny Lawson and Huntingtower / John Buchan

This book is not for those who are easily offended by off color language or topics.  Lawson doesn't seem to have the filters most of us have.  But I thought the book was very funny.  Jenny Lawson has rheumatoid arthritis, some other illnesses, and several mental illnesses (she calls them that).  Furiously Happy chronicles her attempts to live life fully on those days when she isn't in so much pain and can leave her depression and anxiety behind for a while, get out of bed, and do things.  Sometimes crazy things.

Her father was a taxidermist and she's a bit obsessed with stuffed animals.  She has two stuffed raccoons, one of which looks much like the raccoon on the cover, a manically happy creature.  I have to admit being put off a bit by the taxidermy.  I respect all creatures and although I feel our bodies are not ourselves after we dies, I still think they should be treated respectfully, even road killed raccoons. When she can't sleep, she sometimes has raccoon races using her cats as horses and the raccoons as jockeys.  Her long-suffering husband, Victor, never know what he'll find her doing.

Toward the end, she gets serious about depression and anxiety.  It helps to know you're not alone.  She treasures a letter she received after she posted about not killing herself.  Twenty-four people did not kill themselves because of what she wrote.  You can sample her blog here.

Oh, I wish this had been the copy I read!  Isn't the cover art great?  Unfortunately, I read Huntingtower on my Kindle.

Yvette recently recommended a later book in this trilogy, The House of Four Winds.  That's the third one, the second one is Castle Gay.  Huntingtower is what is sometimes called a Ripping Good Yarn.

Mr. Dickson McCunn has recently retired after a long successful career as a grocer.  He's comfortably wealthy, his wife is off at a spa, so he decides to go on a walking tour, searching for adventure.  He's read books by Scott and Dickens, Defoe, Hakluyt all his life, Romantic Adventure books.  He wants to find some of that.

On the train, he meets a young poet, John Heritage.  He doesn't like him very much, but Heritage involves him in a quest to rescue a foreign princess from a country estate where she's being held by Bolsheviks.  McCunn tries not to get involved.  He doesn't want that much adventure, some laws might be broken, and he's very class conscious.  He has great faith in businessmen, though, and thinks his experience will be helpful.

A band of ragtag boys from Glasgow, too poor to join the Boy Scouts, and calling themselves The Gorbals Diehards, are camping nearby.  Their captain is Dougal, a strategist of the first caliber, who engineers the rescue of the princess.  They're the ones who discover that something dodgy is going on at the house.

Mrs. Morran, the owner of the house where McCunn and Heritage take lodgings, is an old village woman.  She and the Diehards are key players in the rescue that takes place.  She helps keep their bodies and souls together, as well as offering them information about the village and surrounding area.

A princess imprisoned, fire, a tower, bombs, guns, traps, impostors, wind, storms.  They're all here.  Yes, it's a Ripping Good Yarn.  


  1. Huntingtower is a rattling good yarn and I really enjoyed the characters of the Gorbals Diehards, and McCunn.

    1. I just bought a 3-book package for my Kindle of the trilogy. It was $2.99, well worth it.

  2. I didn't know Lawson has RA. My sister does too. Maybe I will read the book sometime. That is a great cover on the Buchan book. One of the things you miss with Kindles.

    1. She doesn't go into much detail about that particular illness. Her focus is more on her mental illnesses (her words), but, clearly, the pain from the RA severely affects her life.