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Whatever Makes You Happy
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Whatever Makes You Happy

2.83 of 5 stars 2.83  ·  rating details  ·  282 ratings  ·  44 reviews
A Literary Guild Featured Alternate

What does it take to be happy? How happy is happy enough? And what does "happy" mean, anyway? So asks Sally Farber - wife, mother, daughter, friend, working woman, and lover - in this wise and funny novel about a woman's search for happiness in some of the right, and a few of the wrong, places. The answer emerges, in the end, from a surp

Hardcover, Large Print, 402 pages
Published September 23rd 2005 by Thorndike Press (first published 2005)
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This is a book with a predictable plot line about a writer trying to figure life out. Not exactly a never-been-done-before sort of thing, but what makes it worse than average is that it's boring and not well-written. Sally is writing a book about happiness and ironically, the passages from her book are really... boring. No wonder she's feeling like it's not taking off. I agree with other reviewers, I think it's a completely dumb idea that a new man (who isn't even presented in a very appealing w ...more
The premise was interesting: an author writes about the history of happiness while struggling to find it herself. However, the main character, Sally, just didn't have a reason to be unhappy. Sally has a wonderful husband, she adores her children and being a mother, she has a best friend and a successful career. So, why would she be unhappy? Okay, some women just are. But when Sally decides to have an affair with a conceited artist that she knows is using her, I was confused. Sally's reason for t ...more
I checked this book out on a whim because I'll be 40 soon and sometimes I wonder if I'm going through a midlife crisis (but I think it's more that I'm bored or not wanting to do the things I need to do).

The main character in the book is also about my age and going through a "Is this really my life?" moment. She's struggling with her latest book assignment, her kids are off to camp for the summer so she feels guilty about that, she and her husband are just kind of there, and her mom expects her t
I don't know what to say. I think this ladie's morals stunk and her "its okayness" to do the things she did were rotten.

An author is trying to write a book on the History of Happiness. Looking at her life you'd think she would be that...happy. She married the love of her life, has 2 beautiful girls whom she adores but feels like maybe in writing this book and facing midlife crisis she's not sure she really knows what happiness is. She has an affair with an artist and I was left to believe she ne
Karen Bergreen
I think I would have given this more stars had I not loved Henry House so much and wanted to repeat the experience.

this would actually be a great book group discussion because happiness is the main themer here and what defines it is certainly an interesting question. the story is less interesting than her writing, which is eloquent.
A book about a woman who has the love of her life, two healthy children and has a successful writing career and is unhappy and spends the most of book cheating on her husband. Why write a book about that? And why publish it?
Kelly Doherty
I wanted to like this book. It was predictable in a comfortable way. But ultimately the protagonist is the kind of woman I do not enjoy. And not because of her actions. She was just too self important.
I thought Irresistible Henry House was so good that I went and took out three of Grunwald's other books AND THEY ARE ALL LOUSY.
Tennessee O'Donnell
It took me a little bit to get into this book,
so a bit slow to start off. I did find the bits about the character "Author Sally Farber" researching and writing facts about happiness just a tad repetitive. Although I enjoyed this book the more I read along. I think it is actually quite a deep and reflective book about being happy within yourself, accepting our paths or understanding what is involved to change it. Sometimes you do have to make decisions for yourself without taking in how it will
While writing a book about happiness, author Sally Farber is experiencing a happiness crisis in her own life. A little too predictably, she has to have an affair to figure out what she wants. The book is occasionally interesting and thought-provoking, but having read enough journal articles to last me a lifetime, I find it annoying to have my fiction peppered with faux-academic snippets about philosophy and research. My eyes glazed over for pages at a time.

I did, however, like this part a lot:

Marie Buccellato
What makes you happy? Read the book & you'll be surprised at the answers
Joyce Douglas
Hedonism....and that is all I have to say on that subject
Hmmm....I don't think life works this way. It seems there are no consequences for her actions but that not's how things work. I wonder where she is 10 years after the story's end.
I got FURIOUS with the character in this book. She used age old excuses about "deserving" something and nearly ruins many lives. I don't think I have felt this angry at a character in a long time.

I think the author touches on some good themes in the perspective of happiness, but she ended the book a bit abruptly. I don't think you can end a book with someone just walking away from a bad decision and life just returns to the same it was before for all involved.
Kinda disappointing. The Irresistible Henry House was waaaay better.
The main character in this book drove me crazy. She could see all the good things in her life, but still chose to turn away from them, and risked losing everything good in her life. The other thing that drove me crazy is she had plenty of opportunites where she felt like she should and yet she turned her back on it. I hated that she was able to face the woman who's husband she was having an affair with and felt no guilt. That drove me crazy.
Amy B
The book wouldn't have been too bad except I was a little unhappy about her affair!! Like women who have been married 'x' amount of years need to have an affair to find happiness. Weird. Especially when the 'other man' seemed to me like a slug more than anything. I didn't buy it....the idea that is. Have the book and if you want to borrow it, let me know!!!
Feb 07, 2010 Janna marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
I got this out of the library just a few days ago and flew through it! It's an interesting combination of a novel with some research peppered through it. I learned - loosely - about some interesting research being done on happiness. It's a bit strange because she fictionalizes some of the research, but it is largely based on fact. It's a sweet and engaging story.
Stephanie Moseley
I think Grunwald is a an interesting writer, and adds a certain depth to h er writing which the reader does not always expect, but certainly adds to the enjoyment of the reading.
This was a thoughtful and fun introspection of defining happiness, if that is possible. The characters were well developed and believable
This book was about a woman trying to find her identity, by the end I'm not sure if she found it. But she had an affair in the process while decieving her wonderful, understanding husband. It just didn't sit right with me, but still a page turner, I kept waiting for it to all blow up in her face.
Sally is trying to write a book that defines happiness. In addition to very interesting characters who are also searching for happiness, the author offers fascinating research on the definition of happiness. I enjoyed searching for the meaning of happiness with Sally and I think you will too.
I am loving every single book of Lisa Grunwald's. This one was so, so good, and had some really great insights on what constitutes a happy life. I'm bummed that the cover of this book is so silly because the book is SO not!! Very, very, very good.
I read this a few years ago and really like it, but it didn't hold up as well upon re-reading. Story about a bored writer/wife/mother who, while writing a book about the history of happiness, searches for the missing piece in the wrong places.
I enjoy Lisa Grunwald's writing much more than I liked this book. Wasn't crazy about Sally's personal struggle with happiness but did enjoy her research and the tidbits she shared in the search for writing her book.
A thought provoking novel and easy read romance novel all rolled into one. Romance is not my usual genre but I have been trying to step of of my comfort zone a bit. This was definitely a great book to do that with.
This is a cute, quick read about 3 British moms who decide to interfere in the lives of their 3 bachelor sons by going to live with them unannounced for one week. I enjoyed it and it waas good airplane reading.
Did not like this book at all. Sally is not a likeable character in any way, nor are most of the other characters. Very predictable plot line and I was not impressed with Ms. Grunwald's writing.
The title caught my attention and I literally plucked it off the shelf at the library while looking for something else. In spite of mixed reviews on Goodreads, I decided to give it a whirl.
Dec 10, 2007 Felicia rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: women just looking to pass the time
I love this book! I can't wait to find out what she does next. In some ways I feel like I can relate to her. I mean at times I feel trapped into a routine life.
Didn't like the protagonist or the book, but it generated a great discussion in book club about the meaning of happiness and whether we were all happy.
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Lisa Grunwald is the author of the novels The Irresistible Henry House, Whatever Makes You Happy, New Year's Eve, The Theory of Everything, and Summer. Along with her husband, Reuters editor-in-chief Stephen J. Adler, she edited the bestselling anthologies Women's Letters and Letters of the Century. Grunwald is a former contributing editor to Life and a former features editor of Esquire.

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“But 'contentment'. Is that happiness? Or is that only resignation wearing a funny hat?” 2 likes
“Clearly I have a talent now: I can trace every single thing back to a certain, scared place in the map of my heart.” 2 likes
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