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Broken (in the best possible way)


Broken (in the best possible way)

In her latest book, BROKEN (in the best possible way), Jenny Lawson focuses on her struggles with mental health and the ups and downs of living with severe anxiety and depression. She highlights the problems of our current health care system that result in circular patterns of coverage denials created to avoid paying for necessary treatments, and how that exacerbates mental health issues for those already struggling.

After years of suffering, Lawson chronicles her decision to try an experimental procedure called transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), a process that she describes as “wearing a magnet on your head that feels like a woodpecker is drilling into your skull for forty minutes a day for six to eight weeks.” TMS is not for the faint of heart.

"BROKEN is an entertaining, brutally honest and at times hilarious look at Jenny Lawson’s life and how she approaches her health issues."

An extreme introvert, Lawson explains in “All of the Reasons Why I'm Not Coming to Your Party” and “INTROVERTS UNITE! (But Sweet Baby Jesus, Not in Real Life)” what it feels like to be an introvert and how everyone’s experience varies. In perfect detail, she expounds on how much of an introvert she is and the toll it takes on her when she has to stretch outside her comfort zone for periods of time. She addresses her depression in much the same way. Her willingness to be so open about her mental health battles will provide comfort to those with similar issues. Also, family and friends of those individuals will better comprehend how it feels to suffer in these ways, allowing for more empathy and understanding.

While the portions of the book related to her mental health struggles are compelling and entertaining, the chapters focusing on her self-described “awkwardness of being me” are lighter but equally comical. “Awkwarding Brings Us Together” contains her Twitter followers’ responses to an awkward moment she shared with them and is hilarious. She had experienced an uncomfortable interaction with an airport cashier and tweeted about it. To her surprise (and delight), instead of commenting on this encounter, tons of people responded with their own laugh-out-loud, inept moments, including one by @theatrical: “My carry-on got pulled for a random search by the TSA. I had it packed so tight I warned the officer that 'it might explode.’” Readers will be highly entertained by the various anecdotes and most likely will identify with at least one or two of them.

Another standout is “Editing Is Hell. Mostly for Editors,” which is sidesplittingly funny and a great glimpse into what it is like working with Lawson while she is writing. One such exchange:

Editor: You’re missing an antecedent.
Me: No, YOU’RE missing an antecedent.
Editor: What?
Me: Never mind. I’ve been drunking.
Editor: *drinking*
Me: Touché.


There are a few less engaging entries, such as “Business Ideas to Pitch on Shark Tank” and “That Time I Got Haunted by Lizards with Bike Horns,” which don’t really add much to the book. Still, BROKEN is an entertaining, brutally honest and at times hilarious look at Jenny Lawson’s life and how she approaches her health issues.

Reviewed by Cindy Burnett on April 23, 2021

Broken (in the best possible way)
by Jenny Lawson

  • Publication Date: May 3, 2022
  • Genres: Essays, Humor, Memoir, Nonfiction
  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Holt Paperbacks
  • ISBN-10: 1250812488
  • ISBN-13: 9781250812483