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Publisher's Summary

From the creator of the blog Renegade Mothering, Janelle Hanchett's forthright, darkly funny, and ultimately empowering memoir chronicling her tumultuous journey from young motherhood to abysmal addiction and a recovery she never imagined possible. 

Pregnant at 21 by a man she'd known three months, Janelle Hanchett embraced motherhood with the determined optimism of the recklessly self-confident. After giving birth, she found herself bored, directionless, and seeking relief in wine, which she justified as sophisticated and going well with chicken. 

But over time, her questionable drinking habit spiraled into full-blown dependence, until life became bedtime stories and splitting hangovers, cubicles and multi-day drug binges - and eventually, an inconceivable separation from her children. For 10 years, Hanchett grappled with the unyielding progression of addiction, bouncing from rehab to therapy to the occasional hippie cleansing ritual on her quest for sobriety, before finding it in a way she never expected.  

Hers is a story we rarely hear - of the addict mother not redeemed by her children; who longs for normalcy but cannot maintain it; and who, having traveled to seemingly irreversible depths, makes it back, only to discover she is still an outsider. Like her irreverent, laugh-out-loud funny, and unflinchingly honest blog, Hanchett's memoir calls out the rhetoric surrounding "the sanctity of motherhood" as tired and empty, boldly recounting instead how she grew to accept an imperfect self within an imperfect life - and think, "Well, I'll be damned, I'm just happy to be here."

©2018 Janelle Hanchett (P)2018 Hachette Audio

Critic Reviews

"Hanchett offers a startling account of her struggles with alcohol and drug addiction in this raw and riveting memoir.... Readers will cheer Hanchett toward her triumphant recovery." (Publishers Weekly)

"By turns painful and funny, [I'm Just Happy to Be Here] explores the pressures of modern motherhood while chronicling one woman's journey toward acceptance of her own limitations and imperfections. A searingly candid memoir." (Kirkus Reviews)

"Janelle Hanchett presents motherhood as we seldom see it: with irreverent humor, brazen honesty, deep love and loss. Her story is about finding peace right in the mess of motherhood, and that's what makes it wonderful." (Jill Smokler, New York Times best-selling author of Confessions of a Scary Mommy)

What members say

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There are REAL people in the world....amazing

I listen or read about 2 books a week...not because I’m some “book expert,” but because I yearn to either escape or connect from my own life. I was blown away by this book and have to say....Janelle, you are not only an incredible mother, daughter, wife, and woman; you are a beautiful person. Thank you for being real when I needed to know that real is still alive. Although our lives may be very different I could feel you speaking to me! This book showed me that I am not alone, even though I never truly fit, do we really want to “fit?” I am 44, divorced for over a decade with two teenage sons that hopefully are just in the “hate me” stage and will one day find their way back to the “strict” mom when Dad is so fun (I would’ve been fun too if I didn’t have to be responsible). My mother passed at 52 when I was 26 and my now 18 year old son was 5 months old and we do “live in the blood of our mothers.” Thank you thank you thank you.....words cannot express how much this book spoke to me. As the saying goes, you’ve proven that it’s “not how many times you fall, but that you get back up,” you got up and with all you had you are standing tall. I’m sure your mom is so proud and your grandmothers are both beaming in heaven

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Not very compelling

I wanted to like this book however..... Again just because you may be a god writer does not mean you should read your own book. The authors voice is grating. I've read/listened to a couple of other similar memoirs and I just had a hard time feeling any compassion for the writer. I get that in the end she does realize she's an over privileged suburban whiner but still the story just does not seem that edgy or interesting. Every time she's in trouble she just has her family/in-laws bail her out. She also just assumes that they'll also take care of her children.

The middle of the book is somewhat better but the last few chapters in which she describes her relationship with her Mom and family while growing up, don't seem that difficult or trying. Again it seems as if she is just whining about not having everything else her wealthy neighbors have.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Holy wow!

I’m not much of a reader at all. I’m 36 and the last book I read was in high school. I’ve attempted to read here and there but never more than a couple chapters. I read this book in one day. Only putting it down to tend to my kids and the occasional pee. The story is gut wrenching in both the best and worst ways. Janelle’s style and use of language brings the story to life as if you were there too. As if you too were in the story. Like the fly on the wall that you always wished you could be for these kids of stories. As a mother, this book changed me. Well done Janelle. Thank you for sharing.

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Captivating and honest memoir

I enjoyed reading this extremely honest and real story. I wish she would of gone more in depth about her drinking drug use, and how it affected her husband.

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Janelle is the Real I was looking for.

I've been looking for a rough, real and raw story of poor choices, upon more poor choices told by a woman, similar to myself who knew better and fully believed they'd, of course never fall prey to problems only people"below" themselves--the stupid, trashy girls--were subject and likely to suffer. A college educated, middle class woman who's driven herself to hit bottom after bottom with trap doors to even lower places, to finally recovery but still remain themselves with admitted flaws and behavioral issues with anger, resentment and sarcasm even after letting go of substances. Janelle's perspective and voice is what I needed to hear ... Another woman in recovery that didn't completely turn into a perfect mother, employee and human simply by putting down the drugs or alcohol. Another woman that continued to struggle, yet grow little by little by tackling the underlying mental health and wiring issues that led to substance abuse.
Thank you, Janelle Hanchett! You've got another fu*k*d up chic in recovery following your blog and social media ... I'm sure you're thrilled!

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This is brave!

I had read the blog Renegade Mothering a few times, and enjoyed Janelle's raw wit, I had no idea of her back story! As a mom who went thru 10 years of personal hell, who struggled to keep it together, I am in awe of Janelle's courage to tell her story, it's not an easy one to read, especially when I identified with parts. It's so easy to judge other mothers/parents, because parenting is one of the most complicated vulnerable positions to have in life. Most of us carry our parenting war stories safely in secret where Janelle bravely tells it like it was, and with humor how it is. Thank you Janelle, I don't know you really, although I feel like you know me.

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thank you

I'm a child and wife of addiction and I can say thank u from the bottom of my soul for Sharing the rawness of it all. amazing

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Very Honest and Real!!!

I didn't know this author before listening to this book. I'm so glad I chose to listen to it. I usually listen to books on my way to and from work but I found myself listening to this book even when running short errands. It's so raw, honest, and touching. I'm so glad she decided to share her story which is so much more than a book about mothering!

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Phenomenal book and well read

A truly inspiring story that is both moving and funny. I love the writers blog and this book did not disappoint. Well worth the time

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  • Ashley
  • Manhattan Beach, California United States
  • 05-24-18

Great Book

Stick with this book! It is a great story about the humanity in all of us and a reminder about addiction and what that struggle looks like. If you’re a mother, this is a great story about another misfit mother finding her place in this world after nearly losing her chance to have any role in her children’s lives. The book starts a little slow in developing a connection with the author but stick with it! She becomes much more dimensional as the story progresses and it’s worth the wait. I strongly recommend this book!