"A refreshingly raw, contrasting perspective on the foolproof idea of motherhood."--POPSUGAR "By turns painful and funny... A searingly candid memoir."--Kirkus "Far from your cookie-cutter story of addiction... [I'm Just Happy to Be Here] describes Hanchett's journey to recovery and sobriety in imperfect and unconventional ways."--Bustle In this unflinching and wickedly funny memoir, Janelle Hanchett tells the story of finding her way home. And then, actually staying there. Drawing us into the wild, heartbreaking mind of the addict, Hanchett carries us from motherhood at 21 with a man she'd known three months to cubicles and whiskey-laden domesticity, from judging meth addicts in rehab to therapists who "seem to pull diagnoses out of large, expensive hats." With warmth, wit, and searing B.S. detectors turned mostly toward herself, Hanchett invites us to laugh when we probably shouldn't and to rejoice at the unconventional redemption she finds in desperation and in a misfit mentor who forces her to see the truth of herself. A story of ego and forced humility, of fierce honesty and jagged love, of the kind of failure that forces us to re-create our lives, Hanchett writes with rare candor, scorching the "sanctity of motherhood," and leaving beauty in the ashes.
Janelle Hanchett's words are poetry and the way that she weaves her story together is absolute artistry. I haven't read a book like her's before - her story is deep, passionate and relatable. While the back cover gives the overarching story of "the addict mother not redeemed by her children" it is much more. Janelle creates her richness with multiple substories that she seamlessly connects through the story of her life. I have been a long time reader of her blog Renegade Mothering where Janelle blogs and so expected more of the same when I picked up her book. I was wrong to assume. While her voice and transparency into who she is as a woman carries over from her blog to her book but her book is on a different level. Funny and pointed in parts, intense and thought provoking in others. I connected with her and found myself nodding, crying and laughing, riveted through the entire thing. I challenge any human living life NOT to find yourself somewhere in this book. Well done Ms. Hanchett.
Raw, compelling, and sometimes hilarious- read this book!
5 out of 5 stars
Rockandrollmama - 2 years ago
Stunning, raw, compelling, and occasionally funny as heck. Janelle's voice jumps off the page, and doesn't shy away from saying the things most of us maybe THINK but would never SAY. It's that unflinching take on her own story that makes this book such a gift. Read it, highlight passages, buy it for your friends. Because it's that good. And if you're like me, you'll read the last 20 pages suuuper slowly, because you don't want this story to be finished. (Note: I received an advance reader copy of this book. My opinions are my own.)
Janelle’s account of the road to the bottom of alcoholism and the life that comes after is not only compelling but brutally honest. The moments she describes in the darkest places are palatable and transformative. The beautiful life she has built out of the ruins of addiction is infinitely inspiring. As a seasoned reader of her blog the stories were familiar but I found myself falling in love with the people in her stories all over again. The power of losing your ego and the strength you can find is beaming off the pages. I look forward to sharing this with every person I can, regardless of place on the spectrum in life anyone can find a kinship in her utter truth. This writing has changed my life and I’m forever indebted to this great work.
Sometimes a piece of art changes us in ways we feel in our bones. I had this happen most recently while reading this book. I’M JUST HAPPY TO BE HERE is about the intersection of motherhood, mental health, and addiction. It’s an absorbing and uncomfortably honest gut-punch, followed by a hug. Janelle’s decline is unexpected, and her recovery is rough and messy, painful to witness on the page, and then indescribably beautiful. She holds the dualities inherent in life as well as anyone I’ve ever read. Janelle’s story kicks you in the shins, pushes you to the ground, and then reaches out a hand to help you up and brush off the dirt. It ain’t for cowards.
A must read for anyone whose life has been touched by addiction
5 out of 5 stars
JD - 2 years ago
I was blown away by this book; in fact I’ve read it twice now thanks to getting my hands on an advanced reader copy. Janelle tells her story with a raw, powerful, honesty and that’s what sets it apart from other addiction/recovery stories. She gives us the good, the bad, and the ugly without excuses. Other authors I’ve read always seem to write a litany of ‘poor me, all of this bad stuff drove me to drink’ but not this one. Janelle pulls no punches on herself and has the integrity to tell it without pointing fingers or dragging others down with her. This is what sobriety is about; accountability without resentment. It’s not pretty, but that’s because it’s real life. Expect to laugh, yell, cry and cheer. It’s all in there. I’ve been a follower of Renegade Mothering for many years, so I can say with conviction: Janelle Hanchett is not a blogger who wrote a book. She is an author who blogs.