Dani Peloquin's Reviews > Too Much Happiness

Too Much Happiness by Alice Munro
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's review
May 11, 2012

really liked it

Usually, it takes a lot for me to take a chance on short stories. I typically find them to be either too short (and I want a novel-length more) or too long (and I wonder why it bothered being a story at all). However, Munro is a master! She gives the reader just enough to keep you intrigued and unable to put the book down. Yet, each story feels complete and you can walk away from the collection feeling satisified.

I enjoyed this collection a great deal because the stories dealt with some heavy issues that I think most short story writers shy away from. In this book, Munro tackles issues of spousal abuse, child abuse, adultery, and long-kept secrets. Many of the stories do not have a traditional "happy ending" and most of the characters are far from being heroes (or even likable). Somehow this does not seem to be a problem for I couldn't put the book down from the second I opened its cover. Perhaps the reason is because Munro's work isn't really about the plot or storyline of the story but instead about the characters and the emotions that the illicit in the reader. With each story Munro triggers a different emotion or question to ponder from how to forgive, to what is degradation, to what is the difference between hatred and fear. Though the characters faded with time, these questions still run through my mind.

Due to these topics, this is not a book for a dabbler or one who is hunting for a good beach read. This is catered towards those who want their literature to challenge them, disturb them, and above all make them think. If you are one of those kinds of readers, you will not be disappointed.

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