How Happy To Be

How Happy To Be

Book - 2006
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Publisher: Toronto : McClelland & Stewart, 2006.
ISBN: 9780771068973
Branch Call Number: ONS
Characteristics: 291 p.


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6ATE4are May 29, 2013

I forced myself to finish reading this. The protagonist lacks interest and the fairytale ending falls flat. The best part of the book was the description of locals in British Columbia. It's not enough, so don't bother.

ksoles Nov 13, 2012

"How Happy to Be" revolves around Maxine, a Toronto-based entertainment journalist. She has not found satisfaction in her life and alternates between trying to get fired from her job, reminiscing about her eccentric upbringing on the West Coast and seeking to lighten her malaise with regular substance abuse.

The story teems with simplistic assumptions: that our celebrity-driven culture spawns vacuous beings, that, if a woman owns a cat, she must be lonely and desperate, that parents from rural BC display too many oddball tendencies to provide any real guidance to their children.

From the outset, Maxine garners no sympathy from the reader; she represents the vacuity of entertainment journalists. Why, if her newspaper position is so insufferable, does she not simply quit? And, since she professes to hate the entertainment world, why did she take the job in the first place? Throughout, our protagonist blames her dissatisfaction on everything around her, but never on herself. She completely lacks introspection.

The novel does include moments of wit and at times Maxine’s paranoia contains welcome hints of self-deprecation. Ultimately, though, "How Happy to Be" lacks both profundity and a relatable protagonist.

Sep 04, 2012

This was a quirky, fun read, in places a little dense/overly aware of itself but mostly very enjoyable. I used to work in newspapers but never one this big - the "types" on staff make sense to me, if the drug and alcohol abuse seems a little over-the-top. Maxime is a character I could cheer for, though I could hardly wait for her to help herself out of the mess she was in. The last paragraph was a bit too....what? artistic? disingenuous? dense? meaningless? Can't put my finger on the exact word but the paragraph did annoy me. Many funny moments throughout. Sometimes a little difficult to keep track of the less-well-drawn characters. Overall, probably not everyone's cup of tea, but I liked it.

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