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How to Be Happy: A Memoir of Love, Sex and Teenage Confusion
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How to Be Happy: A Memoir of Love, Sex and Teenage Confusion

3.72  ·  Rating details ·  227 ratings  ·  77 reviews
*Winner, the Text Prize for Young Adult and Children's Writing, 2014*

A funny, sad and serious memoir, 'How to Be Happy' is David Burton'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 s
Paperback, 288 pages
Published August 26th 2015 by Text Publishing
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3.72  · 
Rating details
 ·  227 ratings  ·  77 reviews

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⚔ Silvia ⚓
I was sent this book as an ARC by the publisher via NetGalley for reviewing purposes, but all opinions are my own.

4,5 stars

First off, let me start by saying that if this had been fiction instead of a memoir, probably my rating and my feelings towards this would be slightly different. But because the events in this are real, I don’t feel like it’s my place to judge or even comment on the author’s actions and thoughts, especially when he was a teen.

I really liked the way this was written. It was v
Scarlet Cameo
Feb 25, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: rc-19
This wasn't for me, I can relate to some parts and A LOT with the people who meet, but I thinki that for the same reason that's no appealing to me just as anecdotes.

Is not a bad book, or a bad memory, at all. Is just that wasn't in the stuff I enjoy.

Melissa Riley
Sep 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
How to be Happy by David Burton isn't exactly a how-to on how to enjoy life, more like a series of anecdotes of what not to do in some situations. I devoured it over 2 days.

I believe I'm only a few years younger than David and had a pretty similar school experience. Girls cutting themselves, bullying, a passion for drama and a constant barrage of "WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO WITH YOUR LIFE?!?!?" were familiar themes.

His constant battle with his inner demons, (anxiety, depression, sexuality) is hear
Apr 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
This wasabook I'd bought for my library because it got great reviews, then saw that it was one of 'those' books we weren't recommended to have at school because it mentions suicide. So I shoved it on a shelf in my office to read and finally, I have.

What a great book - teenage confusion at it's best! Funny, sad, and totally honest about how tough it is to be a teen and how everyone seems to have it together except yourself. Fortunately David finds out that no one feels normal, and more important
A copy of this novel was provided by Text Publishing for review.

How do you review a book when the “main character” is an actual person … without sounding like an asshole? Well, I’m going to try.

I’m just going to come out and say that I didn’t really like Dave. Firstly, I didn’t like the way he treated Ray – buying into the all too common high school trope of hating on anyone who is different, and throwing insults at them along the lines of “freak”. Dave was Ray’s one friend, and he completely di
This book is a memoir. It reads unlike a memoir. When people say we read to find ourselves (in fictional characters and universes), I can say I've found a real somebody to relate to, who has actually experienced what I have experienced, who makes me realise now that I am most definitely not the only one with particular thoughts due to particular teenage situations.

David Burton's memoir is ultimately a story about identity and relationships, and the internal struggles we experience when those two
Text Publishing
Jul 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
It's pub date at last for the 2014 Text Prize winner!

Cheers and hurrah to David Burton, who knows a thing or two about growing up.

And the early reviews are in:
‘[Burton] delivers some devastating truth bombs. Sexuality is hard. Identity is hard. Love is hard. School is hard…This book shines a much-needed light back through the tunnel. It is a call-out to teenagers still struggling to find their way. How to Be Happy says "here’s the path I took, hope it helps".’
Books & Publishing
Jayne  Downes
Jan 12, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: biography-memoir
An amusing and at times sad account of the author's life from the start of his teenage years to adulthood. David Burton had lots to deal with like bullying, depressed parents, two younger brothers with Aspergers, sexuality issues so it is no wonder he suffered from depression himself. He coped by becoming "crazy Dave the drama nerd." I think this book could help teenagers who are going through similar issues and it will increase readers empathy towards others. David Burton is now a playwright in ...more
Aug 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
'How to Be Happy: A Memoir of Love, Sex and Teenage Confusion’ is Australian author David Burton’s debut.

I read this book ages ago and then didn’t know what to do about how much I loved it. Writing a review was hard, and the words I tried to put down didn’t adequately express how much I loved the book. And then I went to Brisbane Writers Festival, and attended an ‘in conversation’ between David and fellow memoirist, Robert Hoge that just blew me away for how candid and funny he was – that reite
Jul 06, 2017 rated it it was ok
I think this may be the first memoir that I haven't liked. You can read my review here - https://skysreadingcorner.wordpress.c...
Dec 05, 2016 rated it it was ok
2.5 stars
This book should be called How To Be Unhappy! How To Be Happy by David Burton is a memoir about his life as a teenager, which includes depression, anxiety, sexual orientation confusion and much more. I have received this book from NetGalley in exchange for a honest review.

Again a book with very mixed feelings. I started reading this book, not realizing it was a memoir (yeah I know it’s on the cover, blurb and title…) so it was very confusing for me. But when I realized it was really the
Jan 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
David Burton is an award winning playwright and theatre director from Brisbane. I heard him talk at a professional development session in November and he was really engaging, very funny and very honest and this is the way that he writes as well.

Burton is startlingly honest and open about his parent's battles with depression, about his twin brothers having Autism and Asperger's syndrome and how he felt about these things as a child, as a teenager and as a young man. He also describes his own lif
Sep 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
I found this book interesting to read in that it is a memoir, and although I didn't feel as though I connected with Dave, I enjoyed the story and found it to be honest and authentic, throwing together humour with stories of self-loathing and anxiety/depression, all mixed in with a good dose of sexuality confusion.
Easy to read and a good, satisfying ending.
Elly (imaginemorebooks)
*** I received an ARC of this book from Text Publishing Company and NetGalley in exchange for a honest review. However, this does not influence my opinions in any way.***

It took me an embarrassingly long time to finish this book. I boil that down to one thing: despite being titled How to be Happy, this book is honestly one of the most depressing stories I've ever read. And the fact that it is actually a memoir made it even more difficult to read. Quite honestly, if I didn't know it was a memoir
May 16, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: for-review, 2018
*Book received for review from Netgalley*

I loved the introduction from David Burton and it definitely piqued my interest and kept me reading. It quickly turned into the memoir that the cover suggests but it was not necessarily interwoven with 'tips' on how to be happy. Like Robert Webb's "How Not to be a Boy" I'd expected him to go from micro to macro and evaluate or comment on how to be happy like Webb commented on gender politics, but that didn't really happen. I had no prior knowledge of Burt
Jan 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
How to be Happy, written by David Burton, is a book about depression and how it almost took his life. David was born and raised in Queensland, Australia. At home, he had twin brothers that were both diagnosed with Aspergers, and two struggling parents. He himself, at the age of seven, was diagnosed with stress, which later led to depression and anxiety. His memoir, How to be Happy, is a book that anyone going through a rough time should read. It is a meaningful book filled with various situation ...more
Dec 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: owned-books
I don't want to write this review.

I don't want to write this review because it means owning up to the fact that I really like biographical stories (Is there a job for people who like to listen and know others?). Because it means that I have to leave the comfort and security of my own bed to get to my laptop; because it means understanding myself.

When I picked this book up off the shelf, aside from being drawn by the "signed copy" sticker on the front, I knew from the title that it would be some
Jan 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction, queer
How to Be Happy lets us into the life of the author from his first years as a teen-ager through his first few years after college. Though this is a memoir, it is in no way a pedantic coming-of-age story. Burton is not much out of his twenties as he pens this tale looking back on his early life and he, rightly, figures he has some practical life tips for young adults and some insights into the experiences and reasoning of people coming of age in this millennium.

Burton was raised in a suburban, m
Dec 11, 2015 rated it liked it
Raw and thought provoking on many different levels. A memoir for high school students, teachers and parents that reminds us what a difficult time high school can be for some students and how our actions/reactions can impact others without us realizing it.
Sep 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is a novel that every single young person needs to read. It takes a brutally honest look at what it means for many young people to exist in society today, and tackles some particularly difficult issues such as sexuality, anxiety, and depression.
Brave memoir with positive messages. It's difficult reading because there's a lot of unhappy. But Burton is trying to show how important it is to recognise and appreciate the happy.

So brave.

More detailed review to come at Reading Time.
Roxie Gray
Jun 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I'm not crying, you're crying.
Lauren Tupper
May 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I'm not usually one for memoirs but I really enjoyed this novel. It was in turns funny, serious and poignant, and the writing was honest. It was real. Well worth a read.
Jan 18, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebook, arc
ARC provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I think that the first thing I should mention in this review is that, being the first memoir I've read, this book was quite different from what I'm used to. Since the events and characters were real, I can't say much about the way the plot unravels or the choices made by the people portrayed. I can, however, share my opinion on the way it was told to us, the readers.

First of all, the register in this story is a very conversational one.
Caroline D. (CarolineReads)
Jan 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
*I received this book on NetGalley

I really enjoyed reading this book. It follows the author as he experiences his adolescence, and deals with the struggles of questioning his sexuality as well as confronting his mental illness. This book gave me a great insight into his experience, and it showed how difficult adolescence is. It confronts issues regarding discovering sexuality, growing apart from friends, self mutilation, and relationships/breakups. Despite how different the author's teenage expe
Thea (All About Books)
Actual Rating: 3.5

I received this e-ARC via NetGalley for review, but all opinions are my own.

The book is a memoir about David Burton's life as a teenager. The books features anecdotes that deals with depression, anxiety, and sexual orientation confusion to name a few.

I connected with David and his story during several anecdotes because he has twin bothers that have Asperger's. I could relate to how he was feeling during these stories as my brother as Asperger's as well.

The writing was very eas
Fleurtje Eliza
Jan 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
What a dreadful and ridiculous title, as I suspect the author is quite aware of. And what a well chosen title for the last chapter!

This is a very brave story to tell and it is done with grace, banter even and a gentle way of telling about things that all teenagers torture themselves with: insecurities, expectations, embarrassment and reliving failure. As if peer pressure isn't enough.
We are all human beings, no matter how we may appear to the rest of the world. Even when being adults.

Thanks to
Feb 21, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: net-galley, biography
An honest and thought provoking book, based on the question Who am I?

In How To Be Happy David tells us of his rollercoaster of emotions as a confused teenager/young man who also battles with depression and anxiety. Being a teenager isn't pretty, throw in confusion on sexuality, parents who are caring for needier younger siblings and a dash of bullying and this is just the beginning of the book.

I found this read Refreshingly different to all other books in my library at present.

With thanks to Net
Rachel Hopkins
Jun 25, 2017 rated it liked it
Ok, but a bit scattered. Should have updated US version with a bit more information on where he lives as I don't think an American teen would pick up on that. Also suicide resources at end are for Australia not US. I think there are better options out there for this type of book.
Anna Brookfield
Jan 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A really brilliant book. Deals with big issues in a sensitive but honest way.
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