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Happy Accidents

3.69  ·  Rating details ·  12,835 ratings  ·  839 reviews

In the summer of 1974, a fourteen-year-old girl in Dolton, Illinois, had a dream. A dream to become an actress, like her idols Ron Howard and Vicki Lawrence. But it was a long way from the South Side of Chicago to Hollywood, and it didn't help that she'd recently dropped out of the school play, The Ugly Duckling. Or that the Hollywood casting directors she wrote to replied

Hardcover, 304 pages
Published September 13th 2011 by Hachette Books (first published September 1st 2011)
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Average rating 3.69  · 
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 ·  12,835 ratings  ·  839 reviews

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Sean Kennedy
Dec 08, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a breezy read that won't take up much of your time, but it will surprise you with its candour. Jane Lynch takes us through her periods of heavy drinking and an acerbic personality which, although they often worked together to mask the pain of struggling with her sexuality, happened to drive people away. Often in celebrity autobiographies they hide these aspects of their personality, but Lynch embraces it and really makes you think that unless you could have poked at her hard shell you wo ...more
Nov 15, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
I was not a fan of Glee but I did enjoy watching it for the character of Sue Sylvester. You know, the lady who always wears a track-suit and was a bit of a tough cookie:

Sue Sylvester

Anyway, I had noticed Jane Lynch in other roles - she was hilarious in The 40-Year-Old Virgin and Paul. So, when I stumbled across her autobiography, I was intrigued.

It took me no time at all to read this book. Lynch is certainly an interesting woman and I loved that she told her story very openly and with a lot of humour. I tak
Jul 15, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir, nonfiction
When I heard Jane Lynch was writing a book I couldn't of been more excited! I think she's a truly fantastic comedian and brings so much personality to every role I've ever seen her play, so I can't wait to read this book when it comes out.

I'm really glad I read this book! Out of all the "celebrity memoirs" out there, I must admit that this one has been my favorite so far. I liked how Jane's tone/personality really came through every page from beginning
Nov 28, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: audiobook-d, ladyish, 2011
Jane Lynch says in this interview that she was inspired to write this book by the It Gets Better project, and it shows. This book delves into some of the darker moments of Jane's life, but also takes the reader to the heights of a strangely successful career. From her struggles with alcoholism, her extended period spent in the closet of self-denial, and dysfunctional romantic relationships that continued well into her adulthood, Jane Lynch delivers the kind of alienated, lonely, disturbing story ...more
Michelle Wegner
Sep 14, 2011 rated it really liked it
I have been following Jane Lynch's career for some time now, considering SHE GREW UP ONE BLOCK AWAY FROM MY HOUSE IN DOLTON, ILL! She actually gave her street address in this book from when she lived in Dolton, and I realized that I must have delivered newspapers to her house and went begging for Christmas paper girl tips there as well. We also attended the same elementary, jr. high, and high school. It was fascinating to hear about our little corner of the world from her perspective. All of my ...more
Feb 03, 2012 rated it liked it
Expectations: A book that would have me laughing aloud without pause.
Reality: The only time I laughed was when she listed her favorite Sue Sylvester quotations.

I was initially bothered by the lack of funny, but I pressed on. Soon, I felt meagerly captivated by Jane's struggles. Though I wasn't 100% enthralled in the beginning, I stuck around because I've always been curious about how one gets to be so successful (which is not without incident, as it happens). I like advice from wise owls, so tha
Sep 21, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoirs
I listened to Happy Accidents because Jane Lynch narrated the book. I'm certainly glad I chose the audiobook. I really appreciate the candor with which Lynch discusses here childhood, college years, and early adulthood. There were times when I laughed out loud as Lynch was narrating events from her childhood. I'm sure other drivers thought I was a bit nuts. However, by the time the book moved into Lynch's adulthood, and the elements of her career that she's most known for (Best in Show, A Mighty ...more
Sep 23, 2011 rated it liked it
I love Jane Lynch and knew I would want to read this book as soon as I heard it existed. As expected, it was an interesting and quick read--if you like her, I think you'll find her life story to date interesting. I'll always remember just being completely struck by her screen presence and her natural talent at dry humor from the very first time I saw her, which was I think in "Best in Show". That was such a great movie, chock full of talented and hilarious actors, yet she still stood out to me.

Crystal Starr Light
Bullet Review:

After some somewhat "meh" biographies, I've hit upon one that really impressed me - not to mention, completely changed my first impression of Jane that I got when I started! I went from cringing at the overdramatic, pretentious teenaged Jane to sympathizing and appreciating her candor and honesty.

Not the funniest book and still not as good as Tina Fey's Bossypants, but Lynch's "Happy Accidents" is an insightful, endearing, brutally honest book that warmed my heart and makes me want
Athira (Reading on a Rainy Day)
I don't usually read celebrity memoirs. For one thing, I don't follow anyone so much that I want to know their life history. Okay, there have been times when I have had this insane schoolgirl crush on some handsome actor (anyone remember the Leonardo DiCaprio craze following Titanic?) but with time, I've come to feel respect for them and nothing more. The other reason is that I don't watch so many TV shows or movies to be able to relate to any showbiz talk. So Jane Lynch's Happy Accidents was a ...more
Nov 04, 2012 rated it did not like it
I’ve moved cities and so am doing all the usual sorts of new city things: buying plants, biking the major routes, joining book clubs. I found a book club on Wednesday, they met on Saturday, and so I put down the interminable Storm of Swords (no, my blogging hiatus has not been caused by depression or misery, but rather the result of GRRMartin not being able to write a concise plot) in order to pick up Jane Lynch’s totally terrible memoir, Happy Accidents.

What a waste of a day of reading. To thin
Nyssa Walsh
Feb 17, 2012 rated it it was ok
You'd think I'd learn...
Nearly every autobiography of a famous actor (except of course for Shirley Temple's!) has completely disappointed me. It was nice to hear about their lives, it was nice to hear how they got started, what challenges they faced, but ultimately I was totally bored and was left longing for the juicy details about working with other famous actors that they always leave out (presumably for legal reasons.) Come on Jane! Not even a full chapter about working with Christopher Gues
KJ Grow
Jul 19, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir
Much more than a comedic memoir, Jane Lynch's story is one with real emotional depth, transformation and personal growth. Ultimately, this is a book about saying yes to life and finding joy in what you have - something that Lynch struggled with for years. She is forthright about her years that were filled competitiveness, anger, friendship and relationship failures, drinking, and low self-esteem. Her missteps and selfishness are cringe-worthy at times, but you root for Jane all along the way. Wh ...more
Oct 04, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: misc, media
In the language of tumblr, GPOY!!!!! That aside, I have a massive girlcrush on Jane Lynch, who is totally awesome, and this really just cemented it. She's funny, she's articulate, and she's screwed up in ways I totally understood. (Me: You do that, too? Wait! And that? Yes! Now, how did you FIX yourself?!) I loved reading about her marches up and down and around the theater and movies and Hollywood and Chicago stages. By the time she got to the Glee stuff, I mostly just skimmed - I was more inte ...more
Jan 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: women, memoirs, nonfiction

I've long been a Jane Lynch fan, since I first saw her in "Best in Show," and of course who doesn't love Sue Sylvester on "Glee"?

Lynch talks about her growing-up years in a happy suburban Illinois family. She had a reasonably happy childhood, although she never really felt like she fit in with her Catholic, traditional family. She also started drinking at a very early age, with her parents' knowledge. One of the places she felt she really fit in was in ch
Jan 06, 2012 rated it really liked it
So a bout of insomnia last night had me lying there, and rather than stare at the ceiling I picked up this book. I had only grabbed from the library yesterday, but when flicking through it it had made me smile.

I didn't really expect to enjoy it - but I did. Jane Lynchs memoir was quite sweet in fact. A childhood growing up she always knew she was different, and finally as a teenage was able to realise that she might be a Lesbian, but don't worry the books not all about that.

For years she struggl
Sep 02, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: celebrity-memoir
Not very well written, and lacking credibility (she calls the cast of the L word "phenomenally talented" and the writing on Two and a Half Men "just outstanding"), but I enjoyed this book. (I also read it on a plane so my judgment may have been a bit impaired by low oxygen levels, which tend to make me laugh or cry more.) Basically she was an unreasonable diva when she was young, went through a feminist goddess phase which still lingers, and is now a swell, self-aware person with Midwestern tend ...more
Nov 03, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: memoir
I'm sure it didn't help that I read this book right after Roger Ebert's superb Life Itself, or that I had recently listened to Tina Fey's very funny memoir-ish Bossypants. I like Jane as an actress but this book really needed a better ghost writer as it was neither well written nor funny. It was not even very interesting, despite Jane's struggles to come out of the closet, succeed in show business, and her struggles with alcoholism. Virtually everyone is referred to in glowing terms with excessi ...more
Kendra Parker
Oct 01, 2011 rated it really liked it
This book made me happy to be who I am. It made me feel more comfortable with my essential me-ness and that my life doesn't look anything like I wanted it to be.

I am not quite sure how this came to be, because despite her life being a series of "happy accidents" Jane seemed to end up more or less where her younger self would have wanted her older self to be. My younger self would probably have been dismayed (but not at all surprised that I managed to screw it all up.)

I enjoyed Jane Lynch's mat
Jan 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing

Thos book reminded me that it's ok to be exactly where I am for as long as it takes.
Kathleen Hagen
Happy Accidents, by Jane Lynch, Narrated by Jane Lynch, with a Forward writeen by, and narrated by Carol Burnett. Produced by Harper Audio, Downloaded from

Jane Lynch knew from her teenage years on that she wanted to be an actress. She sent letters to all the agents she could find listed, but they all told her that professional acting experience was needed for her to make it. Her mother, a no-nonsense midwesterner, kept telling her that she could act in plays if she wanted to, but sh
“The meeting started, and I could barely listen for my self-mortification. I wanted the hour to end so I could ask her what it was I had done. And then, all of a sudden, it hit me - boing! This had NOTHING to do with me. I felt a wave of relief, an internal shift like I had just had a chiropractic adjustment. I realized that I had made something that had nothing to do with me into something that was all about me.

I saw that I had been doing this all my life. When I was a kid, my mom was easily an
Miranda Lynn
Jul 08, 2012 rated it liked it
The past couple of years, I've gotten more and more into memoirs. I asked for HAPPY ACCIDENTS by Jane Lynch for Christmas last year, because I'm a fan of her hilarious character portrayals on Glee and many more TV shows and movies. I really enjoyed reading about Jane's life, as she has had such an interesting one. I got to hear about all of the projects she has been involved with since she started acting in high school, and how much she has changed and developed professionally and personally ove ...more
Jan 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I'm not one to dive into the lives of celebrities. I don't read people magazine, and I don't care that "so-and-so" just had a baby in Hollywood. That being said however, I've always been drawn to a few actors/actresses that I would certainly read about, if given the chance, and Jane Lynch is no exception to my small little list. Coming from such a funny and lively soul, going on her journey of turmoil and heartache was at times, painful. In a small, I'm-not-important way, I could relate to many ...more
Aug 21, 2011 rated it liked it
I've never been much of a memoir reader, but when a famous person that I really like writes a book, those memoirs become harder for me to resist. This year I read two memoirs by two current TV funny ladies, the other one being Tina Fey's Bossypants, and I really loved learning more about both of these women. While I preferred Tina's anecdotal style to Jane's chronological style, I still really enjoyed reading more about Jane's background, and in her own voice. Be warned, however – Happy Accident ...more
Katie Fitzgerald
Nov 08, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: level-adult, 2011
If you're planning to read this book because you think it will be laugh-out-loud funny, like Bossypants, you might be disappointed. But even though it wasn't what I expected, Happy Accidents was still a really enjoyable book. In her own words, with some help from a friend named in the acknowledgements, Jane Lynch takes us through years of anxiety, alienation, self-doubt, alcoholism, and living in the closet, and shows how, over time, she learned not to "be afraid of the shadow" and to use her da ...more
Nov 29, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2011
I have to be honest and say the only reason I picked up this book is because
I know Jane's cousin, Dr. K. Lynch. Dr. Lynch is a recently retired
English teacher of 30 plus years in both the private and public High
School sectors of the Chicago Suburbs. Personally, I'd have to agree with Dr. Lynch that
the reason Jane is where she is today...isn't a happy accident. Jane Lynch worked her butt off for years in the industry and her hard work paid off...period! Kudos to Jane for her years of
hard work and
Aug 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Let me state right off the bat, I am NOT a fan of Glee. A few viewings established that, however, I did REALLY dig the character of Sue. Jane Lynch is a great actress. The Dolton, Illinois native wanted to be an actress at the age of 14, but it took years and many destructive past-times for her to pull it off and get the role of a lifetime. By the time she was in her early 30's, Lynch was finally comfortable with her sexuality and began to grow as a person and in her craft. She's completely at e ...more
Sep 21, 2011 rated it it was ok
This was the usual Hollywood star drivel that is churned out by ghost writers by the dozens, full of "Then I worked with the cast of so-and-so, who were true professionals and I learned so much from that great bunch of hard-working . . . blah, blah, blah.
The only saving grace in the book is Jane's discussion of her coming to terms with her sexual orientation, which raises the book out of the mediocre pile. It's pretty interesting as she struggles against acknowledging that she's gay, then admits
Dec 09, 2011 rated it liked it
So, this book went between 3 and 4 stars. I had a really hard time giving it 3 stars because I absolutely LOVE Jane Lynch in her role on Two and a Half Men. Usually, I am laughing so hard at her smart assedness, I am to the point of tears in my eyes. I have never seen her in Glee and with the premise of the show, would probably need to gouge out my eyes and ears by the time the show ended. Any who...This book gives excellent insight into the comedienne and gave me a good chuckle at aspects of he ...more
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Madison Mega-Mara...: #64 Happy Accidents by Jane Lynch 1 2 Jun 18, 2014 10:50PM  

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Jane Marie Lynch is an American comedienne, actress and singer. Since 2009, she has played the role of Sue Sylvester in the Fox musical-comedy series Glee for which she has won an Emmy Award and a Golden Globe Award. She has also played roles in comedies such as Best in Show, The 40-Year-Old Virgin and Role Models, as well as for her recurring roles as lawyer Joyce Wischina in The L Word, Dr. Lind ...more

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