A False Sense of Well Being
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A False Sense of Well Being

2.81 of 5 stars 2.81  ·  rating details  ·  414 ratings  ·  59 reviews

“Braselton’s confident first novel is [a] depiction of love on the rocks in the New South that combines small town charm with major league angst. . . . A down-home Proustian recherché search . . . [An] entertaining, rueful account of an apparently ‘normal’ marriage.”
–Los Angeles Times

“Simply extraordinary. [Thi...more
Paperback, 400 pages
Published October 1st 2002 by Ballantine Books (first published 2001)
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The writing was really really good, but the characters and the events of the story left a lot to be desired. One reviewer said it's like 300 pages of mid-life crises, and I'm inclined to agree - it just yammered on and on about how unsatisfied the main character was with her upper-middle class life in a meaningful profession with a husband that loves her. And her family dynamics were sad and strange as well.

All over the cover it is touted as "one of the best first novels ever", and while that ma...more
300 pages of mid-life crises. This woman has a nice home, a husband who loves her and a successful career yet she spends the entire book fantasizing about her husband's death. I found it tedious and trying most of the time but did find the sister somewhat entertaining. However, I really lost my mojo with the green stuffed duck - seriously.
This book had me hooked from the first line. Not the greatest book in the world, but I think any 40-something wife could relate to the main character's predicament! There are lines in this book that made me stop reading because they made me wonder how another person could be experiencing exactly the same feelings as me.
Emma Polen
Like many books I've started, i unfortunately lost interest in this book. I guess the concept was too adult-like and boring for me. Or maybe the piles of work I've gotten recently ad something to do with it, also. But that's not the point. In the back of my head I plan on finishing it sometime in the future, which would be the good thing to do considering I'm less that 100 pages from the ending. But yea. I wouldn't not recommend this book, but it wouldn't be the first book I would recommend to p...more
Not bad. Actually, better than not bad-- pretty good! Took me a while to get into it, but there are some surprising characters and surprising ways of learning about love.


“Braselton’s confident first novel is [a] depiction of love on the rocks in the New South that combines small town charm with major league angst. . . . A down-home Proustian recherché search . . . [An] entertaining, rueful account of an apparently ‘n...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
A well-written novel, with a strong first-person voice—unfortunately, not a voice I wanted to spend so much time with.

A False Sense of Well Being is a character driven novel in the traditional sense; the plot barely exists except as a framework for the emotional growth of the narrator. But, perhaps because this is a first-time author, it takes a good third of the book to even get to the authors main issue, and there's lots of filler. The secondary characters are well-drawn and strong, but they...more
Aug 14, 2011 Donna rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommended to Donna by: P/u at Clinton Book Store "used" shelf
Light read--perfect for the beach (with lots of interruptions! LOL!!)

I enjoy a good "southern book." Funny to stop and really think about the things that truly do bring us a "false sense of being," from chocolate, to material things, to relationships (see page 119). Jessie knows that Turner feels, "'You can take the girl out of the country, but you can't take the country out of the girl.' ...I'm his pet project, his very own Eliza Doolittle below the mason-Dixon line...some primitive form of lif...more
Nov 03, 2008 Debbie rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommended to Debbie by: julia gibsons voice
i listened to this book because julia gibson read it and i loved the way she read glass castle and part of vanishing acts. it was a beautiful performance, call it an experiment to see whether just her reading a book improved how much i liked the book. i dont think i will pick a book based on the reader again. although if you caant stand the performer that can make a book iumpossible to read, the reverse is not true. this book was 3 stars and the beautiful reding didnt change that. even julia gib...more
I enjoyed the simplicity of this book. I felt as though the Jessie's feelings could be relatable to many people in a long term relationship. And it shows that people handle circumstances in different ways, that you can help create your own happiness.
So this woman is constantly thinking about what if her husband dies, and she is obviously very bored and dissatisfied with her marriage. I thought this book was a little slow, and I only finished it because I wanted to see how it would end (and I liked the ending!). I would have liked to have seen more in-depth of her relationship, it seemed to skim the surface, and less of her visit with her family. With the divorce rates as they are, this is certainly a good topic to address, however the book...more
enjoyable - not great, but good

Ok, how can I not want to listen to this book - first page of book starts, "I was married eleven years before I started imagining how different life could be if my husband were dead. Beginning that year, and not, to my recollection, prompted by any overt unkindness or sudden disruption of affection, images of randome damage, of events more simple and unpredictable than murder, invaded my dreams, both sleeping and awake."
"Every time I return from a trip home(AL),Turner listens to me and shakes his head, as if to say the proverbial, "You can take the girl out of the country, but you can't take the country out of the girl". Like I'm his pet project, his very own Eliza Dolittle below the Mason-Dixon line. Like I've reverted to some primitive form of life, Homo redneckus, and he's afraid to engage in conversation with me without a translator nearby."

I'm still laughing
Jul 12, 2008 Jane rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: idiots
Shelves: chick-lit
A better title would be "A False Advertisement of Comedy." Although the dust cover described this as darkly funny, I found almost nothing about it laugh-provoking. It was just another tiresome woman searching for meaning in her life after suffering several setbacks, following a predictable path to the typical results. I don't feel like I lost brain cells to this book, but I didn't gain any either.
This was a surprise, I had thought it would be too light for me, but it wound up being quite a thoughtful intelligent book. Great choice for the GA Award.

It's probably time to reread this book, which I'd hesitated to do. It was with great sadness that I read about her suicide shortly after reading it, and recommending it to so many of my friends. There truly was a False Sense of Well Being.
Lori Anderson
I really enjoyed this book -- how it was written, the humor, even the bits of sadness. I was really nervous on the last page that things wouldn't end the way I wanted, but .... well, read the book and you'll see!

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Jon Manchester
Nothing to see here...beach read. I literally picked it off a shelf at the house in Maine where we are vacationing. The first line of the novel is "I was married eleven years before I started imagining how different life could be if my husband were dead." It didn't get any better after that, but I persevered for all 336 mediocre pages (why?).
Yvette Karns
Jul 18, 2012 Yvette Karns added it
Recommended to Yvette by: Found in a used book store
Shelves: read-2012
This is a book about a wife who is not sure of her marriage. It was pretty good throughout the whole book but the ending just kind of jumped around and left you wondering exactly how the story would end. You could probably guess but I for one do not like to guess how a story ends and there is no sequal. I was disappointed on the ending.
Yawn. The only thing that kept me reading was the writing was actually good and I had the small hope that something EXCITING would happen. It never did. The poor main character in her miserable/normal enough life but the whole thing ended in a dull, lackluster, totally un-climatic way! BORING BOOK with cardboard characters.
Melea Rose-Waters
I think I have read this one before, and just forgot, because everything seemed very familiar to me. Oh well, that's ok, because I really did like this book.

I'm curious to learn more about the author as well. I was saddened to read that she took her own life shortly after her husband passed away. :(
meh. i kept thinking it'd get better right to the very last page. the end was especially grueling because i was really bored but was too committed to quit. I'm still unsure what the "journey" was that the character was supposed to be going through. the story was weak.
This book shows how difficult life can be and what some people do to cope. I found the ending vague, but it seemed that was deliberate on her part.

I was saddened to find that she committed suicide at 41 - only 2 years after this debut novel that did very well.
Charles M.
Often humorous, eye-opening tale of Jessie Maddox, who wishes her husband dead and seeks happiness without him...until she visits home and finds out what her friends have turned out to be. Real "the grass isn't always greener on the other side of the fence" story!
Like most others reviewing this book, I thought the writing style was good, but had no sympathy for the main character, Jessie. (Although I loved her father). Slow, plodding, takes itself way too serious for a book that starts out light and humorous.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
A light-hearted (bear with me) story about a woman who is obsessing about wanting her husband dead. Really a story about loss, reevaluation at mid-life and finding your bearings with some heart, some off-beat characters and no easy resolution.
Jan 14, 2010 Mollie added it
Great first line in this book. "I was married eleven years before I started imagining how different life would be if my husband were dead."

Yes, but down hill from there. I can't even get through this book. I don't even want to try.
Mom (Belinda)
A silly book about foolish people. A woman fantasizes every day about what her life would be like if her husband were to die suddenly. He is not a bad guy, just a little boring. I could not relate to her at all.
Sherry Grussing
*Blink* *Blink* That was it?

I kept hoping this book would get better, but it didn't. At all. It wasn't an easy read for me. Nothing was finalized. Every plotline was left hanging. I didn't care for it at all.
Reminded a bit of Olive Kitteridge. Uptight proper wife of banker, lost baby, denying feelings, visits her kooky Southern family. Her sister is a wonderfully outrageous character.
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