Sad Janet by Lucie Britsch

Sad Janet

Sad Janet by Lucie Britsch
English | 2020 | General Fiction/Classics | ePUB | 3.3 MB

For as long as I can remember feeling things, I’ve felt sadness. Now, for example, I feel sad that we have no money. Also a little mad that a bunch of idiots seem to have it all. But sad, mostly, because I think that’s just the way things are. It’s an all-encompassing feeling, like my lungs are filled with it instead of air.

You’d think it would feel better to be at one with the world.

Janet works at a rundown dog shelter in the woods. She wears black, loves the Smiths, and can’t wait to get rid of her passive-aggressive boyfriend. Her brain is full of anxiety, like “one of those closets you never want to open because everything will fall out and crush you.” She has a meddlesome family, eccentric coworkers, one old friend who’s left her for Ibiza, and one new friend who’s really just a neighbor she sees in the hallway. Most of all, Janet has her sadness—a comfortable cloak she uses to insulate herself from the oppressions of the wider world.

That is, until one fateful summer when word spreads about a new pill that offers even cynics like her a short-term taste of happiness . . . just long enough to make it through the holidays without wanting to stab someone with a candy cane. When her family stages an intervention, her boyfriend leaves, and the prospect of making it through Christmas alone seems like too much, Janet decides to give them what they want. What follows is life-changing for all concerned—in ways no one quite expects.

Hilarious, bitterly wise, and surprisingly warm, Sad Janet is the depression comedy you never knew you needed.

Melissa is on Lexapro. Debs is on good old-fashioned Prozac; she prides herself on being one of the originals. Whoever was driving that car playing the boy band was definitely taking something. Everyone is taking something but me.

My best friend, Emma, started taking Zoloft because she got a free hat. She wasn’t a hat person, but she thought she might be if she was happier. She never did, but she did feel better, so much so that she ran away to Ibiza and never came back. I can’t even pronounce Ibiza.

On the plus side, there’s no stigma now that everyone’s medicated. It’s a huge relief for a lot of people, and I’m genuinely happy for them. Yay, drugs! It still doesn’t mean I want to take any pills.

No one wants to take pills, Debs says.

She’s wrong. I’ve known people who want to take all the pills. They think if there’s something wrong and there’s a pill, then why not? They take a dozen different ones. My mother’s one of those people. For her, they’re a godsend. I like to remind her that god has nothing to do with it, unless he’s actually some creepy dude in a lab throwing money around. He might be, for all I know.

Why does he have to be creepy? she says, and I think the only man she’s ever met is my dad, maybe.

My dad’s a plumber, but he’s not super or called Mario, so no one thinks it’s funny. When he’s not plumbing, he’s watching TV and drinking and avoiding my mother like the rest of us.

During the holidays, when other kids got jobs at the mall, I went and learned how to fix a faucet and unblock a toilet. My father thought I was just doing it to avoid the mall, and my mother thought I was doing it to spite her. She wanted a daughter who would stay home and tan with her, not one who preferred to spend the day sticking her arm down a stranger’s toilet. The real reason was that I wanted to see how other people lived. I only saw bathrooms and kitchens, but what more was there? They were the hearts of the home and the people who lived there. I saw a lot of shit that Christmas season.

If my mother had had all these pills when she was younger, she might not have had me and my brother. We were supposed to fill some hole, but we didn’t. And yet she still thinks I should have children. It can’t hurt, she thinks, forgetting how childbirth works.

My mother worked for the local council all her life, doing something that required her to wear an ugly pencil skirt and uglier shoes. I like ugly shoes, but these were too depressing even for a funeral. Then everyone lost their jobs because all the council’s money had been mismanaged and she took some different pills and started teaching Jazzercise. Before that, we hadn’t even really known she had legs. Finally, something we had in common.

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