• I'm Just Happy to Be Here: A Memoir of Renegade Mothering

  • By: Janelle Hanchett
  • Narrated by: Janelle Hanchett
  • Length: 9 hrs and 27 mins
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (437 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

"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. 

©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 listeners say about I'm Just Happy to Be Here: A Memoir of Renegade Mothering

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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

15 people found this helpful

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Heartbreakingly Honest, Insightful and So True

I don’t write many reviews but feel compelled to for this book as I wonder why it is not in the window of every book store I pass. I feel riveted having just ended the most profoundly tragic journey, followed by a triumphant defeat. This book will stay with me. So many I read do not.

The writer shares with intimate detail, what it is to be human. She shows us what we are all facing. This is a story about the lives of those in our nation. It’s about our community, our neighbors, our friends, our family, our children, and our partners. It’s about us. It is our story whether we chose to see it or not. It is a story as old as time and yet it is even more relevant today—right now... at this moment.

In the end, we learn there isn’t anything we can do to help struggling addicts. For the author, it wasn’t the shame or mother’s guilt that paved the way to sobriety. Rather, it was a purely conscious desire to live and it surfaced only when her odds of continuing to live and use were gone. We understand this when the author is standing in line to buy red Solo cups at a liqueur store. Another addicts journey is not your own.

There are many heroes that surface in the pages of this memoir. Some show the meaningful ways to help children and others hurt by addicts. Perhaps more importantly, these heroes show us there is nothing we can do to make an addict want of achieve sobriety. Other heroes are those who have been on the same path to sobriety and are willing to share their journey to help others. Now, the author, Janelle Hanchett is one of those heroes.

4 people found this helpful

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Excellent!!

I could not stop listening to this story. I highly recommend this book to everyone struggling with addiction!!

4 people found this helpful

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Funny, heartbreaking, inspirational memoir

I just finished listening to the audio version of this book. I can’t get the author’s voice out of my brain. She reads her own book with such honesty about her life, alcoholism and drug use, mothering and unconditional love of family. You are a badass, Janelle! Keep on writing! From one of your fans from the Davis, CA book club at St. James.

3 people found this helpful

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Where has this book been all my life??

With wit, candor, brutal truth and sarcastic humor, Janelle writes what I assume many mothers in addiction feel or have felt at one time or another.
I laughed, cried, got pissed off and cheered while listening to this book.
Thank you for being happy to be here, Janelle!

3 people found this helpful

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Super long AA Meeting w/ one person speaking

Firstly, being an avid Audiobooks listener of memoirs of this ilk, maybe there have been two books where I have enjoyed the Author reading her own material ("Hit So Hard" by Patty Schemel was Excellent!), this was not one of those books.
Secondly, Hanchett spent an extraordinary amount of time "bitching" and being unnecessarily judgmental, while languishing on the fact that prior to becoming a parent, she visited two Countries and went to college, and believes herself so cosmopolitan that the Country of Spain is where she was "truly" meant to live....Ughhhh.
In any case, she follows the standard AA format of giving a "Lead Meeting" (Single Speaker") A.) What it was like when alcohol/drugs worked B) What happened when they alcohol and drugs stopped working and C.) How is your life now that you have had your moment of clarity and are living within a program.
Personally, I was bored with all the minutia of day to day living which, regardless of which stage of life Hanchett was in,--- drunk, dry or sober --- she complained. I can appreciate how others might enjoy this book, especially Cocktail -Moms of young children. Personally, this was not my cup of tea.

6 people found this helpful

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I think this book just changed my life?

I've always felt misunderstood for reasons I will not divulge here, but after listening to this book, I FINALLY feel seen, heard, understood, and dare I even say...loved? At one point, Janelle mentions that she writes for the people that are all types of Mothers and yet NO types of Mothers and that spoke to my soul. I haven't felt hope for a long time, but this is kind of what it feels like. My addictions weren't the ones she had, but comparable. I get it. God, I do. And now that I'm a Grandma, I'm trying hard not to screw this one up, too. Me and my 2 daughters are in therapy and working to repair some damage that actually could be undone. we'll all get there one day. I know we will.

2 people found this helpful

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Eye Opening

This book made me feel so many emotions and opened my Eyes to what addiction looks like. I've never really had an eye of compation towards addicts to be honest because I've never understood it. this book will forever change my perception. Thank you for writing it Janelle.

2 people found this helpful

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We are out there

I remember, bringing home my first baby. She was an accidental pregnancy and born 6.5 weeks early. I stumbled across the Renegade Mothering blogs. I felt joy and relief that I was not the only one feeling this way about my new existence as a mother and my new baby. I followed Janelle’s writings and they made me laugh, feel validated and empowered. I bought this book when it first came out, but reading with small babies is impossible. Today I finished her book, years after its release and only because it’s was now accessible as an audiobook. Great book, excellent narrator

1 person found this helpful

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Stunning

Absolutely beautiful. The last chapter brought me to tears. Thank you Janelle for this beautiful brave story.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 02-13-22

Finally the truth

Very well written and read. Would definitely recommend this to every mother who doesn't feel like that perfect PTA mom, with or without addiction to overcome.