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Once Upon A Bookshelf

Where Fiction and Reality Meet

Happy Accidents: A Memoir

Author: Jane Lynch
Originally Published: 2011
Publisher: Hyperion books
Source: Christmas gift

The Story

From the back of the book:

If I could go back in time and talk to my twenty-year-old self, the first thing I would say is: “Lose the perm.” Secondly I would say: “Relax. Really. Just relax. Don’t sweat it.”

I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t anxious and fearful that the parade would pass me by. And I was sure there was someone or something outside of myself with all the answers. I had a driving, anxiety-filled ambition. I wanted to be a working actor so badly. I wanted to belong and feel like I was valued and seen. Well, now I am a working actor, and I guarantee you it’s not because I suffered or worried over it.

As I look back, the road to where I am today has been a series of happy accidents I was either smart or stupid enough to take advantage of. I thought I had to have a plan, a strategy. Turns out I just had to be ready and willing to take chances, look at what’s right in front of me, and put my heart into everything I do. All that anxiety and fear didn’t help, or did it fuel anything useful. My final piece of advice to twenty-year-old me: Be easy on your sweet self. And don’t drink Miller Lite tall boys in the morning.

The Response

I’ve been a fan of Jane Lynch since I first saw her on Best in Show (a hilarious movie about dog shows, and everyone ought to watch it if they haven’t done so yet). She’s an extremely talented actress and before she was Sue Sylvester on Glee she definitely did NOT get enough notice of the amount of awesome that she is. When I heard that she had a memoir coming out (via this video on YouTube), I knew I needed to read it.

As Lynch is an utterly hilarious and brilliant woman, I will admit that I expected this book to be funny. While it did have a few moments where I did giggle (and many more where I made a fangirlish squeal, but I’ll get to that more later) it wasn’t actually a funny book. It was GOOD, make no mistake. Very good, very heartwarming and inspiring… just not as funny as I had expected.

Lynch has had an interesting career and an interesting life. Knowing she was a lesbian from a really young age, Lynch spent much of her life keeping her sexuality on the down low before coming out to her family, and feeling shame because of the fact she was attracted to other females… and that was utterly heartbreaking. I just don’t comprehend how it must have been back then, or even now, and to feel that you have to hide your sexuality. It must have been so hard on her, on anyone in that situation… yikes.

While a lot of this book did deal with Lynch’s sexuality, the majority of it was relating to her acting career – from dropping out of her first high school play, to her stint as Carol Brady in The Real Live Brady Bunch, to her current gig in Glee. She also touches on smaller gigs she had over the years, smaller bit roles… and I have to admit that a whole bunch of those made me squeal in fangirlish glee. Mwaha. Like, say, when she mentions her guest appearance on Veronica Mars… or when the picture is included of her with Ryan Hansen (and other cast from Party Down)… or when she talks about he wheaten terrier (which is what my old lovely wonderful cute and cuddly dog was)… or even when she mentions about how her and her step-daughter love watching iCarly… oh, all these things make me wish I could meet Lynch in real life and just take in all of the awesomeness that she is.

The Bottom Line

While not as funny as I had initially expected it to be, Lynch’s memoir was still extremely enjoyable. It has made me even more of a fan of hers, if that is possible. I would highly recommend this to other people who like her work.

Posted by Courtney Wilson @ 7:46 am February 24, 2012.
Category: Non-Fiction
Book Author(s):

  • Kailana

    I have been wanting to read this since it came out. I am sorry to hear it wasn’t as funny as you expected it to be, but I am still looking forward to it.