COMEDIAN JANE LYNCH'S memoir, Happy Accidents, is not funny. But then, it's not trying to be. Unlike Sue Sylvester, the tyrannical cheerleading coach who "may or may not be on horse estrogen" that Lynch plays to deadpan perfection on Glee, in Happy Accidents she's aggressively gracious. This becomes a problem in the second half of her tale, after she has firmly established her success. There's a reason acceptance speeches are usually cut short.
But, before her writing descends into boring middle-agedness, i.e., stories about her exceptional children, Lynch does have a lot to overcome. She realizes her ambitions while living as a closeted, six-foot-tall child of a supremely nuclear family just outside Chicago, impossibly far from Hollywood. Deeply optimistic in her quest, she cherishes even rejection letters from studios. I couldn't help but root for her. I wanted to know how she shook her insecurities, angst, and bitchiness to find comfort in the limelight.
Surprisingly, her path to stardom was full of what one might recognize as traditional hard work, determination, and Miller Lite. Theater captured her heart early on, and, not shockingly, high-school choir was her haven. She proceeded to earn an MFA in theater; tour with a troupe from famed Chicago comedy conglomerate Second City; craft her own one-woman show; and play plenty of shitty bit parts before landing her big break—a role in Christopher Guest's Best in Show.
Unfortunately for the reader, a slow climb is not the same thing as a struggle. When Lynch decides that her drinking is out of hand, she simply pours out the glass of wine in her hand and "that was the last drink [she] ever had." There's no glorious relapse, no waking up and realizing what happened the night before from a tongue stained NyQuil green. Instead, she finds strength in a book, The Seat of the Soul, which directed her to "make more powerful choices." (At least it's not Dianetics.) Later on, she deals with the disappointment of losing a Golden Globe by winning an Emmy.
Her whole journey is framed as a personal development, in which far more growth occurs in her relationship with herself than with others. Diehard Lynch fans may appreciate this, and if I were a sunnier person, I would congratulate her for pouring herself into her book. Instead I'll bemoan the lack of criticism of the rarified world she now inhabits—I like her better when she's mean.