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Happy Accidents | [Jane Lynch, Carol Burnett (foreword)]

Happy Accidents

In the summer of 1974, a 14-year-old girl in Dolton, Illinois, had a dream - a dream to become an actress. But it was a long way from the South Side of Chicago to Hollywood, and it didn’t help that she’d recently dropped out of the school play, The Ugly Duckling, or that the Hollywood casting directors she wrote to replied that "professional training was a requirement". But the funny thing is, it all came true....
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Publisher's Summary

In the summer of 1974, a 14-year-old girl in Dolton, Illinois, had a dream. A dream to become an actress, like her idols Ron Howard and Vicki Lawrence. But it was a long way from the South Side of Chicago to Hollywood, and it didn’t help that she’d recently dropped out of the school play, The Ugly Duckling, or that the Hollywood casting directors she wrote to replied that "professional training was a requirement".

But the funny thing is, it all came true. Through a series of happy accidents, Jane Lynch created an improbable—and hilarious—path to success. In those early years, despite her dreams, she was also consumed with anxiety, feeling out of place in both her body and her family. To deal with her worries about her sexuality, she escaped in positive ways—such as joining a high-school chorus not unlike the one in Glee—but also found destructive outlets. She started drinking almost every night during her freshman year of high school and developed a mean and judgmental streak that turned her into a real-life Sue Sylvester.

Then, at 31, she started to get her life together. She was finally able to embrace her sexuality, come out to her parents, and quit drinking for good. Soon after, a Frosted Flakes commercial and a chance meeting in a coffee shop led to a role in the Christopher Guest movie Best in Show, which helped her to get cast in The 40-Year-Old Virgin. Similar coincidences and chance meetings led to roles in movies starring Will Ferrell, Paul Rudd, and even Meryl Streep in 2009's Julie & Julia.

Then, of course, came the two lucky accidents that truly changed her life. Getting lost in a hotel led to an introduction to her future wife, Lara. And then a series she’d signed up for abruptly got canceled, making it possible for her to take the role of Sue Sylvester in Glee, which made her a megastar. Today, Jane Lynch has finally found the contentment she thought she’d never have.

Part comic memoir and part inspirational narrative, this is a book equally for the rabid Glee fan and for anyone who needs a new perspective on life, love, and success.

Read by the author, with a foreword written and read by Carol Burnett.

©2011 Canyon Lady Productions (P)2011 Hyperion (packaging elements only)

What the Critics Say

"A triumphant memoir recounting the inner struggles of one of the most versatile actresses working today…Achingly sad and sweetly comic at the same time." (Kirkus)

"[A] frank, engaging, and at times uproariously funny autobiography of a roller-coaster life." (Vogue)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.2 (377 )
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4.1 (347 )
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4.5 (346 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Jill BROOKLYN, NY, United States 07-08-13
    Jill BROOKLYN, NY, United States 07-08-13 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Bravely Honest"
    If you could sum up Happy Accidents in three words, what would they be?

    funny, fascinating, enlightening


    What other book might you compare Happy Accidents to and why?

    Any other funny lady memoir. It's like a darker Bossy Pants. Or an older Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? Probably most similar to Rachel Dratch's A Girl Walks Into A Bar or even Dick Van Dyke's My Lucky Life...


    What does Jane Lynch and Carol Burnett (foreword) bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Obviously you want to hear Jane Lynch's voice when reading her memoir.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    One moment with her step-daughter which I won't spoil for you. Just in general, her struggles with her sexuality and alcoholism were moving and illuminating.


    Any additional comments?

    This is the best memoir I've read since Bossypants. Jane Lynch's life is fascinating, lucky, and at times, embarrassing. Definitely worth a read.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rich 07-01-13
    Rich 07-01-13
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    16
    5
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    "Not what I was expecting"
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    I think anyone wanting a more biography and less of a comedic book.


    Any additional comments?

    The narration was good, and I like her, I just didn't like the book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    jessica Los Angeles, CA, United States 04-21-13
    jessica Los Angeles, CA, United States 04-21-13 Member Since 2012
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    8
    4
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    "Truly Enjoyable"
    What made the experience of listening to Happy Accidents the most enjoyable?

    I really loved hearing Jane tell her story with all her animation and honesty, as well as a great story overall.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    maybe 2 - 3 but you will get through it quick


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    D. Briskey 03-03-13
    D. Briskey 03-03-13 Member Since 2009
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    "Honest and joyful memoir"
    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    I didn't know much about Jane Lynch except for her portrayal of the aggressive lawyer on The "L" Word and the competitive but complicated coach in Glee. After hearing her life story, I now know her as a funny, honest, reflective individual. She is candid about her addiction to alcohol, the journey she has taken to get to where she is now, and the many "happy" accidents that have brought her so far along. Her bright, positive outlook is contagious and refreshing. I was sorry when my life got in the way of hearing about hers. This was a true joy to listen to, and I was sorry when the story ended. I could have listened for hours longer.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Chris OLATHE, KS, United States 02-20-13
    Chris OLATHE, KS, United States 02-20-13 Member Since 2011

    In the pursuit of great entertainment!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "I expected more!"
    What disappointed you about Happy Accidents?

    I expected some funny antedotes or sarcastic wit. I got half way through the book and could not continue.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Catherine J. Pondozzi Laurel, Maryland 01-28-13
    Catherine J. Pondozzi Laurel, Maryland 01-28-13 Member Since 2012

    I am someone who enjoys audible books very much now that they exist. As a young student (real young) I can remember a teacher telling me how books can transport people to different places & open up a whole new world. This is how listening to audible books make me feel. Now if I can just stop falling asleep while listening to them at night I would be fine. Ha ha

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    77
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    12
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    "I liked this book"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    Because I always learn something & generally this leads me to other interesting information. For example, the TV show Jane went on to star in "Glee," was one I hadn't chosen to watch. Probably because I started watching it somewhere in the middle of the series & by then it didn’t make much sense to me. It was like watching a movie in the middle of it. Anyway I ordered the pilot of Glee & thoroughly enjoyed it.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Jane herself, because I appreciated her honestly & candor & her biography gave me a much deeper understanding of her life & her acting experiences. And it just goes to show people are much more than the covers they wear around themselves like a book. In Janes case her personal life became an acting experience. I began noticing Jane when she played the therapist for 'Charlie,' for the two & a half men series. Being a therapist myself I thought her performance was very beleivable. It wasn't so much what she said but how she said her lines & how she appeared to the audience. She carried herself & her part with a great deal of assured confidence. And dealing with the stars of that show who were (always clowning around) was no easy feat. As an actor watching her act with Charlie Sheen & others was always fun to watch. She seemed to always get behind him & swat him on the back of the head with her lines without him even noticing.
    Her book was enlightening & i am sure helpful to others who may be going through similar challenges.


    What about Jane Lynch and Carol Burnett (foreword) ’s performance did you like?

    I always adored Carol Burnett. As a comedian she is the best & her foreward was a real tribute to Jane.


    Do you think Happy Accidents needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    Any book could use a follow up if life continues to be ever changing & interesting.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sharon M. Meagher Waverly, PA USA 01-15-13
    Sharon M. Meagher Waverly, PA USA 01-15-13 Member Since 2012
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    "Insight Free--Guaranteed"

    I am a big fan of Jane Lynch's performances (including her reading of this book), but the book's content was disappointing. She lacks insight; her few attempts are always linked to lame references to self-help books. Her supposedly comic anecdotes do not hold a candle to her wicked performances.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Howard_a United States 01-15-13
    Howard_a United States 01-15-13 Member Since 2012
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    "More than just the evil lady on Glee"

    I really enjoyed this book, You never realize what's behind all these stars you see on TV, unless you follow them like a fan. I follow nobody, and by chance I caught this audiobook on sale, so I grabbed it. Its a really neat story. If you are homophobic, you won't wanna touch it though. It seems to me that breaking into an acting career requires both hard work and luck.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andrea Sondag Schweitzer Dallas, TX USA 01-14-13
    Andrea Sondag Schweitzer Dallas, TX USA 01-14-13 Member Since 2012
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    3
    1
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    "Laughing from start to finish..."
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I have recommended this book to several of my friends. It's so fun, funny and an interesting story about Jane's rise to fame. Fun hearing the background stories about how she landed her films and TV series parts.


    What does Jane Lynch and Carol Burnett (foreword) bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Having Jane Lynch and Carol Burnett lend their witty voices made the book all the more hilarious and entertaining.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Karole Conway, SC, United States 01-14-13
    Karole Conway, SC, United States 01-14-13 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
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    "Interesting, but half way through begins to drag"
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    Jane is quick, funny, spontateous-but her self discovery and life story needs something.? Not really sure what.


    If you’ve listened to books by Jane Lynch and Carol Burnett (foreword) before, how does this one compare?

    I haven't.


    What three words best describe Jane Lynch and Carol Burnett (foreword) ’s voice?

    All were good.


    Do you think Happy Accidents needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    No.


    Any additional comments?

    Not sure what I was missing. . .Jane has had a great life and career path and she made her opportunities. . .somehow, I got lost about half to 3/4 through it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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