Synopses & Reviews
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 ten 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."
"Fiercely talented word-warrior Janelle Hanchett grabs your guts with her frank, brutally funny, and moving memoir of modern motherhood and addiction. You won't want to let go of this book." Ann Imig, editor of Listen to Your Mother: What She Said Then, What We're Saying Now
"Whilst we are all fighting some sort of inner battle, few of us have the honesty, humor, and heart to describe our struggle like Janelle Hanchett. Her memoir, I'm Just Happy to Be Here, is not just for those touched by addiction, but for anyone who has ever felt like an outsider, which is everyone. I could not put this book down." Firoozeh Dumas, New York Times bestselling author of Funny in Farsi and Laughing Without an Accent
"Far from your cookie-cutter story of addiction and recovery, I'm Just Happy to Be Here: A Memoir of Renegade Mothering describes Hanchett's journey to recovery and sobriety in imperfect and unconventional ways." Bustle
"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
"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
"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 bestselling author of Confessions of a Scary Mommy
About the Author
Janelle Hanchett created the website "Renegade Mothering" in 2011 because she needed to know if the rest of the mothering world was crazy or she was. Writing after her kids went to bed and while she was supposed to be working, Janelle attracted an audience of hundreds of thousands of readers. She holds a BA in English from University of California at Davis and an MA in English literature from Sacramento State. She lives in northern California with her four children and husband, Mac, who thinks "getting dressed up" means shaving his forearm tattoo.