Tuesday, April 11, 2017
Review: How to Be Happy
Title: How to Be Happy: A Memoir of Love, Sex and Teenage Confusion
Author: David Burton
Publisher: Text Publishing
Year published: 2015
How I got this book: I got this through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review
My rating: 4 stars
A funny, sad and serious memoir, "How to Be Happy" is David Burtons's story of his turbulent life at high school and beyond. Feeling out of place and convinced that he is not normal, David has a rocky start. He longs to have a girlfriend, but his first "date" is a disaster. There's the catastrophe of the school swimming carnival - David is not sporty - and friendships that take devastating turns. Then he finds some solace in drama classes with the creation of "Crazy Dave", and he builds a life where everything is fine. But everything is not fine.
And, at the centre of it all, trying desperately to work it all out, is the real David.
"How to Be Happy" tackles depression, friendship, sexual identity, suicide, academic pressure, love and adolescent confusion. It's a brave and honest account of one young man's search for a happy, true and meaningful life that will resonate with readers young and old.
I generally enjoy reading memoirs, and this was no different. I haven't read that many, but this was the first time I didn't know anything about the person the memoir is about. Even so, I still enjoyed it.
The writing is very straightforward and easy to read and understand, so it was a fast read. I did however feel like it should have a different title, as "How to Be Happy" is quite misleading. If anything, this book left me feeling sad. There wasn't a lot of focus on the happy part, just a bit at the ending, which didn't really make up for the lack of it in the rest of the book.
I always find it interesting to read about other people's lives, and this was no exception. It's nice to see how other people see the world and react to their circumstances, and I think it opens my mind and helps me understand the people around me.
If you don't like reading memoirs, this book is probably not for you. If you are like me, however, I would give this a chance. You don't have to know a lot about Burton to enjoy this book, something I appreciated.
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