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)
"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)
I give this book five stars because it delivers as promised and the fact that I didn’t like it is rather a reflection of my poor choice in having selected the book (it was on sale) than the quality of the author’s work. Celebrity lives just aren’t all that interesting and even the most talented actors do not necessarily (or likely) have the literary skills to write compelling stories about themselves. After having read some other celebrity memoirs - “Stories I Only Tell My Friends” (Rob Lowe), “The Elephant to Hollywood” (Michael Caine) - I shouldn’t be surprised that this book fell flat for me. “Happy Accidents” follows the predictable formula of many in this genre: the misfit/defiant childhood, insecure adolescence, years as a struggling actor, first break, climb to greatness, and all the wonderful people who helped along the way. If you’re a huge fan of Jane Lynch and have seen most of her work, you’ll probably appreciate her book. If you’re looking for a good piece of literature with novel insights, then you may want to pass on this one.
I so wanted to love this book, since I've loved Jane Lynch in virtually everything I've ever seen her in -- from The Forty-Year-Old Virgin to O Sister, My Sister. But her life story, as it turns out, is much too thin to support an entire book -- at least in this well-scrubbed, mild-mannered telling. Coming-out stories just aren't enough to warrant autobiography, at least not anymore -- and particularly not when coming out seems as painless and matter-of-fact as it seems to have been for Lynch. Moreover, everyone she's ever met is just super -- incredibly nice, warm, unpretentious, etc. Everything that's ever happened to her has at least one (if not two, or three) silver linings. And life is pretty much uneventful and awesome, such that whole hours of this audiobook can be spent (and are) on the life-changing dilemma of what color to paint the master bedroom in her fabulous new house.
Hearing Jane's telling of her life makes her more likeable and real to me now!
Ellen Degeneres' "Seriously, I'm Kidding" - real stories about how they came into the business and how they came to their lives.
Jane's voice, with her sly vocal movements make it so much more consumable.
Will the real Jane Lynch please stand up!
I enjoyed it overall, although Jane Lynch's life hasn't really been dramatic or traumatic enough to put this at the level of tell-all Hollywood bio, and she doesn't dish about other stars much, either.
All that's undoubtedly to her credit, but it doesn't exactly make for a page-turner. Still, if you like her work in Glee or anything else she's done, it's a pleasant listen. Not up to the humor in Tina Fey's Bossypants, but interesting enough for listening while driving or walking.
I'm not sure she could have changed it. It was honest, or at least, honest enough.
Her struggles with coming out were probably the most interesting parts of the book.
Overall, yes, but I'm a fan of her work.
I might listen to it again, or to parts of it that are particularly compelling and that describe transformative moments in the writer's life.
It's an autobiography so obviously the favorite character is Jane Lynch, the author and narrator of her own story.
Anytime an author narrates his or her own autobiography, it's a plus. A third-person narrator often misses the appropriate tone for specific incidents and feelings that are being conveyed. Carol Burnett's foreword did not add much. It seemed more like a kind of requisite endorsement from an established comic actress (
An unlikely star sees all her dreams come true.
The best things about this reading are 1) Lynch's own narration 2) Her willingness to tell the
The entire book: from hearing Carol Burnett's voice as well as Jane's, hearing about Jane's,
Jane meeting her life partner Dr. Lara Embry and her new daughter, Haden.
All of it. Well read/written.
All of Jane's experiences.
Looking forward to,
Yes, I would recommend it. Jane Lynch is so interesting and describes her life with such detail that I was intrigued from the get go. I love her dry humor too. She's great.
Happy Accidents kind of reminded me of Tina Fey's Bossypants. In fact, it was funny to hear about their experiences with the Chicago improve group, both mentioning being part of the touring groups and how they viewed these quite differently. Really funny.
I listened to Carol Burnett's autobiography too. Loved it as well. It was fun hearing both talk about each other in their separate books. Great background, behind the scenes details in both books was a lot of fun to hear.
There were certainly parts that made me laugh. There were some very touching parts too but I don't think I cried too much.
If you don't know who Jane Lynch is at all it probably wouldn't be AS interesting as it is for somebody who likes her work.
Less detail of every person's name, every show, every flight etc. After a while just felt like a long thank you to every person she had ever talked to. And every instance was an "it was amazing." “I was so happy”.
It was great to hear the actual author read the book.
Many of the personal stories were insightful and interesting to hear about.
Unlike Bossy Pants by Tina Fey where I laughed through most of the book, Jane Lynch’s story was lacking humor. The last few chapters are slogging through every show she was ever on and every person she ever talked to … it was drudgery.
I enjoyed Jane's story- it was interesting, compelling, relatable, humorous, and entertaining.
My favorite thing about this book was that it was read by the author. It felt like I got to know a new friend.
Jane 's childhood was so well described that I felt like I was watching a documentary.
funny, fascinating, enlightening
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...
Obviously you want to hear Jane Lynch's voice when reading her memoir.
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.
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.
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