I’ve never watched an episode of Glee in my life, so my main exposure to Jane Lynch is due to her movie roles: The Forty-Year Old Virgin and Role Models, primarily. I’m also a huge fan of Party Down, where Lynch’s Constance remains upbeat despite setback after setback.
So while I haven’t see everything she’s ever done, I’ve seen enough to know that Lynch is a very talented woman. Due to that, it amazes me that she didn’t have her first well-known role until 2000, when she appeared in Best in Show. After reading her memoir, I am even more impressed and amazed at not only her talent, but her drive and spirit in getting to that point.
Happy Accidents details Lynch’s life, starting in high school when she dropped out a play called The Ugly Duckling and became convinced she would never act again. Obviously, this was untrue. This woman worked her ass off to become who she did. She’s spent most of her life struggling with alcoholism, although it took her a long time to realize that she had a problem. She also struggled with her sexuality: she knew from an early age that she was gay, but it took her until her early 30s to tell her family. She admits that her alcoholism stemmed from an attempt to suppress how she felt.
What impressed me most about this book is incredibly honest Lynch is about her own personality and her relationships with others. She admits how incredibly difficult she can be, and how her perfectionism leads to micromanaging and controlling those around her. But she also writes about how she learns from her mistakes and attempts to change:
“I saw that I had been doing this all my life. When I was a kid, my mom was easily annoyed, and I always figured it was me bugging her. After growing up like that, I was forever making myself the cause of other people’s pain. It was self-centered and rendered me incapable of compassion for others, because I’m no good to anybody else when it’s all about me. And frankly, most things have nothing to do with me.”
In Happy Accidents, Lynch shines a positive light on quite a few events that, frankly, may have made a weaker person give up their dreams. But she preserved, and managed to become the actor she always wished to be.