Big Mushy Happy Lump is Book 6 of the #20BooksofSummer Challenge! @SarahCAndersen

Content Warning: depression and anxiety

Sarah Andersen is a delightful presence on the otherwise mostly miserable internet. I had put her first book, Adulthood is a Myth, on my 20 Books of Summer challenge list, but I ended up buying her second book in the meantime, so I read that one instead! Big Mushy Happy Lump is short at 125 pages, but she provides some keen insight into what contemporary womanhood looks like, especially if the woman is an book-loving introvert close to 30.

Big Mushy Happy Lump was published in March 2017 by Andrews McMeel Publishing, whom I’ve never heard of. The title and the cartoon’s shirt are both velvety. Oh, myyyy, it’s lovely to feel! I will say that you can find most of Andersen’s comics online, but the website she uses is horribly clunky, so just get the book! Velvetyyyyyy….

big mushy

Big Mushy Happy Lump basically has one comic per page. For the most part, these comics compare and contrast things, like how men vs. women compliment each other, or life vs. life on your period, or listening to vs. reading song lyrics.

big mushy lyrics.png

I didn’t realize just how much of Andersen’s style relies on such comparisons until I looked more closely. There are also three longer comics: one about overcoming anxiety, depression, and self-doubt; one about learning why people love cats, and one about stealing sweaters from people. The comics are about Andersen, not a fictional character.

I did wish the book were organized by theme. For instance, in several comics a little walking — though super cute! — uterus appears to ruin Andersen’s day. What if these comics were all together so I could really process the theme? Ditto to posts about reading, being an introvert, and female beauty standards.

big mushy uterus

There is a nice consistency to the drawings. You can always recognize a Sarah Andersen scribble when you see it (even though people try to rip off her work). The eyes are huge, the hands and feet tiny, and you can always pick out Andersen in her drawings, even if she changes clothes. Hers is a cute style that can sway into small and fearful, or badass and conquering. I love that the bunny, which you see on the cover, will appear every so often. He appears to be Andersen’s mostly helpful inner brain. Though it occasionally reminds her of innocent facts that rain on her parade, the bunny mostly encourages her to say “yes” to a social life or grabs carrots in the grocery store.

Best of all, Big Happy Mushy Lump will speak to damn near any woman. She laments the difficulties of having a period, how women are told to wear less make up and then some make up to look “natural,” how some women make looking adorable and casual so effortless, how women wear cute undies and feel secretly happy. Andersen admits her personal appearance changes based on what other women are wearing and how they style themselves, so Andersen never feels content with her own look. She even covers street harassment. I think Big Happy Mushy Lump is a great space to explore the lives of contemporary younger women, warts and all.

big mushy winter

*All images were created by and belong to Sarah Andersen of Sarah’s Scribbles. The images I’ve included may have been slightly cropped due to people on the internet having undeserved beef with copyright logos, but trying to find the originals on her website was challenging. The images I’ve included are used only for the purpose of reviewing the book. Please visit Andersen’s website, or find her work on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and other places I haven’t thought of.

20 books 2017
This is book #6 of my #20BooksofSummer challenge, hosted by Cathy @ 746 Books.
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22 thoughts on “Big Mushy Happy Lump is Book 6 of the #20BooksofSummer Challenge! @SarahCAndersen

  1. I love her!! I didn’t know she’d put a book together. I totally have to look into this. Her uterus comics craaaack me up. So cute. I totally get what you mean about wishing the themes were together, too. I don’t like when books like this, of small works, feel out of order.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This is actually her second book. Her first is called Adulthood is a Myth. That one has a red cover (though I don’t know whether or not it’s velvety!).

      Typically, the uterus is always cute, except the one that says, “No baby. No happy.” and the uterus freaks out with a chainsaw! OMG.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. This is her second book; the first is called Adulthood is a Myth. Her comics are always short–usually one page–so they look nice when shared on social media, too. Sarah Andersen is on Twitter, but I haven’t seen her post lately!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I followed the link, and will send it to my daughters. Totally relate to the cartoon about birthdays in your 20s and the impending doom of turning 30. I’ve had a few ‘0’s since but 30 was the worse, the end of youth!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was good with 30 because I was a professor at the time and no longer wanted to be “professor in her 20s,” which sounds more like “person pretending to be professor, ha ha ha.” I think 40 is going to scare me if I’m not full-time by then. If I’m an adjunct when I’m 40, I starting a new career. Possibly in food services.

      Like

      1. I follow her on Twitter, but yeah a lot of her work gets shared around on Facebook as well. I love the uterus ones, because mine is just like that!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I think I’ve seen some of these comics floating around facebook, but I had no idea the illustrator/author compiled them into a book! Or rather, two books. Comics for the modern woman? I’m in 🙂 I wonder why she doesn’t group them into themes…. Maybe she finds that some themes are more popular than others, thus found that spreading those out throughout the book was a better option?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Maybe she was worried that grouping them by theme would cause too much repetition of one thing? Like, if all the comics about her anxiety are lumped together, will the reading experience grow dull? I’m not sure; it’s been a long time since I organized a book-like project (my thesis for my MFA), and at the time I was so frazzled that I didn’t give it a ton of thought.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I don’t usually read comics but I really like the sound of this and the comics that you shared. The book does sound quite relatable. I like the bit about wearing cute undies and feeling happy lol I thought I was the only one. Definitely does sound like an interesting read.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s a quick, easy read, and almost all of the comics are on one page, so you don’t have to invest a lot of time. Graphic novels are books that I kind of have to devote to one or two settings because they can be so complex that I forget what I read. The comics in this book do not carry over into one big story, which means you can jump in and out.

      Liked by 1 person

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