You may know her as cheerleading coach Sue Sylvester on Glee. Or as the sexy-but-sleazy divorce lawyer on The L-Word. Or even as Gayle Sweeney, recovering addict and head of the Sturdy Wings program in "Role Models."
But did you know that Jane Lynch once starred in a long-running stage version of Brady Bunch episode remakes? Or that when she was a kid, she used to sneak into her father's closet and try on his ties and suits? (I'm guessing that latter morsel resonates with some of you as much as it does with me!)
In her new(ish) book, Happy Accidents (2011), 51-year-old Lynch recounts all of this and much, much more--starting with her girlhood in Dolton, Illinois and finishing up with her present-day life in Los Angeles.
One of my favorite things about Happy Accidents is that Lynch doesn't pull punches. You get the shame she felt as a high school freshman when she dropped out of her first acting role; the depth and struggle of her addiction to alcohol; her blithe arrogance in approaching early acting roles. There's pain, sweat, hard work, awkwardness, and chance meetings. There's joy, hijinks, foibles, and clear-eyed reflections on people's capacity for change. Nor do you need to be a Gleek or a Christopher Guest enthusiast to enjoy the book. Happy Accidents is rife with references that will resonate with dykes and comedy fans of all stripes.
Though I'm not usually much for memoirs, Happy Accidents won me over. This may be in part because I "read" the audio version, which the author reads herself. Lynch's inflection and timing are as great as you'd expect, and really animate the prose. I highly recommend listening to it. You also get a hardback copy online for just $7.33, or a Kindle edition with audio/video for $9.50.
Happy Accidents will be released paperback on May 1. Outstanding.