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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

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
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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

3 of 3 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.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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dark yet playful

this book hits hard. it is dark yet playful. at it’s best it lives in that place that can only be reached by a lifetime of experience and bad decisions and hard work and luck and whatever else it is that brings someone back from there alive.

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Amazing!

I was so sad once I got to the end because I looked forward to listening to it everyday! Such a good book and so easy to listen to! I would recommend it to anyone!

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Real, inspiring

Janelle Hanchett told her story in a funny and conversational way; I always listen to autobiographies & memoirs with an uplifting story, and this delivered. I laughed, felt sad and in the end wanted to reach through the book and hug the author... recovery stories always leave me feeling hopeful, that things can always turn around. Amazing story.

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LOVED THIS!

Could not wait to get my "me" time to listen to this memoir everyday! Love Janelle, her fight threw alcoholism, drug addiction and life had me hanging on every word. You won't be disappointed with this book.

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Raw, beautiful and deep

Loved it! Author has a way with words and her story is very relatable. Beautiful

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Not what I thought It would be about but loved it

This book was not what I thought it would be about. It's about addiction and recovery and how one can f up your life and blame everyone in the world never once looking in the mirror. I went out of my way to listen to this book almost every day so I could finish the book. the story was so compelling and I just always wanted to know what happened next. My husband who normally doesn't like the books I like was forced to listen to part of it on a long drive and a few days later he was like 'did you finish that book? I'm wondering what happened to that lady.?" So that speaks a lot to the compelling nature of the story.

It's well told. It's funny. It not for one minute allow you to think you are a better person that she is or that she is a better person than you. In the end, she was just happy to STILL be here because none of us is guaranteed another day whether we are complete f ups or the holiest of the holy. I'm glad she shared this memoir. And her husband is a SAINT!

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excellent addiction memoir

the author reading her own work is moving and very eloquent. she is a revelation. this book is phenomenal.

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Real and relatable

This book had me crying through so much, if I couldn’t relate on one level, I could relate to something else. Real, raw, and beautiful