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The Happiness Show

3.21  ·  Rating details ·  318 ratings  ·  62 reviews
She ached for him. She longed for him. She missed the way he made her feel and how funny and smart and sexy she felt with him. And young. She missed the version of herself that she had left behind.

At thirty-eight, Lizzie Quealy thinks she has things sorted: a happy relationship, a couple of gorgeous kids, a steadfast best friend and a career she loves. But when Lizzie
Paperback, 304 pages
Published November 1st 2012 by Penguin Australia (first published October 24th 2012)
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Average rating 3.21  · 
Rating details
 ·  318 ratings  ·  62 reviews

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Marika Mcmahon
Nov 17, 2012 rated it did not like it

Think of the worst chick lit you have ever read, this is worse.
Oct 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book, particularly the dialogue at the start. The female characters sparkle with a mucky reality that is very sexy. I read it in a few days. I found the ending a little pinched and crumpled by the itsy-bitsy predictable tightening of bows and ribbons.

Great book. Highly recommended.
Perhaps my thoughts on this need to be taken with a grain of salt - I have never really been a huge fan of Deveny's writing. Politically, she's an alright sort, and she was good on Go Back To Where You Came From (although Imogen Bailey was the real revelation of season two, but I digress). When Deveny used to have her telly column on the back of the Age, it was always a bit hit and miss for me. Sometimes it was great and other time it was a mess - and not even a hot mess. A similar feeling ...more
Sue Hopkins
Apr 23, 2015 rated it did not like it
This was not my type of book. I read it as it was set for Bookclub but I didn't really enjoy it. I found the writing and story immature and the text overly narrated. It was too much of an easy read, too simple, the story and characters lacked any type of depth or substance. I didn't connect with the characters, and found the story frivolous, esp some of the more cliched sentences and found it irritating when the author tried to be too modern with her expressions. It made me cringe. I did ...more
Oct 09, 2012 rated it really liked it
What do you expect when an opinionated Age columnist, comedian, feminist, ABC frequenter (etc, etc) writes her debut novel? Whatever it is you anticipate from Catherine Deveny, “the Happiness Show” surpasses those expectation and delivers a hilarious, lusty and bold depiction of love and marriage in Australia.

Lizzie Quealy, 38, happily married, two gorgeous kids, fantastic friends, steady comedic career- Lizzie has the suburban Mum life to envy. But then she bumps into Tom, her “unfinished
Sky Mykyta
Mar 31, 2013 rated it did not like it
Doesn't seem right to put it as "read" as I gave it up after a quarter or so. Life is too short to keep reading books that don't do it for you.
Cherry Bob*omb
May 18, 2018 rated it it was ok
Well, the reviews were spot on. This is a mess. Every now and then it was insightful but mainly it was a whole heap of random thoughts thrown in a book. It’s like when you meet an overly open person and realise the reason they’re probably like that is because there’s no depth to them. It’s like cool , now I know about your vasectomy or your pubes but a) I don’t care and b) that tells me nothing about what makes a person tick. It was difficult to connect to or care about the characters given that ...more
Shani Hartley
Jul 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a fun book, perfect for a distraction while dealing with a death in the family (102yo Nan so some relief as well). The characters and events felt real as we followed two people who were intense lovers over five weeks in their twenties, and meet up again a decade later. I was just disappointed with the jump in time at the end and a conversation Lizzie had with Tom’s brother Noel at the end of the initial five weeks never being resolved.
Alison Condliffe
Jul 13, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: book-club
I really didn’t enjoy this book, the language of broad Australian slang, undetermined ending, melodramatic scenes. I was just wanting it to end. The author seemed scared of her storyline and wouldn’t commit to characters doing anything but masturbating on their own.
Kelly Wilson
Sep 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Very funny, strong female characters and lots of familiar and accurate references about coming of age in the late 80s and early 90s.
Jul 02, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Stopped reading this book after 3 chapters becuase it was not good at all, hard to follow and badly written and too much Austrailian slang
Amanda Serra
Sep 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Engaging, fun and a trip down memory lane
Feb 11, 2014 rated it liked it
OK, it’s 2 am. In a darkened front bar. There’s a game of pool behind you. You’ve had some wine. Well, actually quite a lot of wine. It’s the time of night when you can get to the heart of the human experience – or the heart of contact. (Or alcohol is a powerful persuader in that direction). Your drinking companion leans over – we’ll call them Y - and says “I’ve got something to tell you.” Y is married. What emerges is that they ran into an ex (Y met an ex) at a conference. The frisson is still ...more
Kathryn Lyster
Aug 23, 2013 rated it liked it
(Review originally published in The Byron Shire Echo Newspaper - April 9th, 2013)

They (I have yet to discover who this universal, all-advising ‘they’ are!) but, THEY do say: Don’t judge a book by its cover. When books were all wrapped in royal blue leather with gold embossed lettering, then yes – the text of a book spoke for itself. But these days, there’s an interplay between text, design, media, literature, music and art that allows a book cover to speak to potential readers. So maybe, these
Lizzie is happy. She has two lovely children, a wonderful partner, a job she enjoys and a great best friend. Life is going along pretty well. Things are looking even better when she finds out that her TV pitch – a show about happiness – is being sought by the BBC. Suddenly she’s on the plane to London, only to find out that the producer’s brother-in-law is her long lost holiday fling, Tom. All of a sudden Tom and Lizzie find themselves lusting after each other, even when other things around them ...more
May 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 09, 2013 rated it liked it
I think some people will really like it and the range of ratings to date reflects that. There were parts of the plot I related to, such as meeting someone while travelling. The main characters were well defined and generally likeable.

The connections between seemingly unrelated people was interesting and it is surprising how often that happens in real life.

I really, really wanted to like this book and I've struggled with the rating. Perhaps I'm the wrong generation. I'd say a light summer read
Kylie Purdie
May 03, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2013-read
Hmmmm....not sure. It's not that I didn't enjoy this, but there is something about it that annoyed me and I'm not quite sure I can put my finger on it. Maybe it's my inability to truly understand why someone who is in a happy, stable, loving relationship is willing to risk it. If you do happen to come across your missed chance and it sends you into as big as a whirl as it did Lizzie, then I find it hard to buy that your current relationship is as wonderful as we are led to believe. And I cannot, ...more
Dec 07, 2014 rated it liked it
This book was fairly easy to read - a bit of a beach read more so than one that will keep you riveted. I would definitely recommend it if you are after something light.

One thing I found annoying though was the overt attempt to "showcase" Melbourne things. This is a trend I've started noticing in modern Australian fiction and every time I read a phrase that does it I find it really jarring. I love reading Australian fiction set in places I know well but I am not sure the references have to be so
Jan 04, 2013 rated it it was ok
I was tempted to stop reading after the first few chapters. This wasn't really my cup of tea. I think I'm the wrong generation. It's probably a great holiday read for people in their middle years. I challenged myself to finish it though and I ended by quite enjoying it especially the bits about juggling work and personal life with children. I laughed at lots of it too. However I hated the way Lizzie resolved her relationship problems. I'm really boringly conventional and think honesty, fidelity ...more
Amber Smith
Nov 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is the type of novel I like to call "fucktion"... My definition is when it's generally a first novel passed off as fiction when and the protagonist looks like, smells like, speaks like the author that not so secretly wants to tell you about her sex life. If you want to read about Ms. Deveny having sex this book really is a happiness show.
Danielle Wilson
Aug 18, 2015 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Emma Balkin
Apr 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016-books
I was surprised that I enjoyed this book as much as I did. This book was funny and the characters seemed realistic. I loved the themes of love and marriage, but was slightly disappointed by the ending. A book set in my home state, a book written by a celebrity, a book that takes place during Summer, a book written by a comedian.
Cameron Tudball
Nov 10, 2012 rated it it was ok
What could have been a good piece of light reading suffers from a rushed and unsatisfying ending. Deveny captures a fairly accurate slice of suburban Australian life, with some excellent and well presented characters. 10/10 for wit and charm, 2/10 for plot.
Jan 02, 2015 rated it it was ok
I really really really wanted the characters to grow up and be adults but no such luck and the narcism of youth looks pretty depressing on these "adults" who are parenting other human beings... Good potential but no growth!
Kaneana May
Dec 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
When I wasn't reading this book I was thinking about it and was wishing I was reading it.
A very easy read - light and humorous. I loved this mix of Australia and London throughout.
Still not sure how I feel about the ending... would love to discuss!
Sep 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
Bought this after meeting Deveny at a writer's festival. As a big fan of her social commentary articles, her debut novel is a surprisingly good tale. An anti-fairytale of sorts - one that leaves readers wondering what true "happiness" actually means; it can take the non-traditional form.
Jul 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: lovers of Australian chick lit
Very funny and I totally related to it. Great characters. Would have given it 5 stars but the ending was a total cop-out, and I don't think anyone in Australia has said 'Fair suck of the sav, mate' since 1973.
Nov 11, 2012 rated it liked it
Great summer read. Really fun with feisty female characters. It wasn't a literary masterpiece and I was frustrated by the dialogue and language occasionally but it was still enjoyable. Very easy to read and I found myself wanting to see what happened next.
Sarah Low
Just like Mia Freedman says - this is a great read. I enjoyed it and did not want to put it down. Take it to the beach, on a plane. Light, but fun. We can identify.
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Catherine Deveny is the author of The Happiness Show (2012), Free To A Good Home (2009), Say When (2008) and It’s Not My Fault They Print Them (2007).

Catherine is a television comedy writer, comedian, author, social commentator and broadcaster well known for her work as columnist with the Age newspaper and as an ABC regular. She cites her biggest influences as Bill Hicks, Richard Dawkins, Billy
“(backpacker having conversation with Lizzie the Australian main character)
Backpacker: 'What's the drinking age in Australia?'
'is that enforced'
Lizzie thought for a second before answering seriously, 'yes, they make us drink”
More quotes…