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This Is Not The Story You Think It Is: A Season of Unlikely Happiness
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This Is Not The Story You Think It Is: A Season of Unlikely Happiness

3.43  ·  Rating details ·  1,782 ratings  ·  410 reviews
Laura Munson's essay in the New York Times, about the time she was tested in a way she never anticipated, created a firestorm-now here's the whole story.

When Laura Munson's essay was published, The New York Times was so flooded with responses that they had to close down the comment feature. Readers wrote in saying that they had sent the column to all of their friends. Th
Hardcover, 343 pages
Published April 1st 2010 by Penguin Adult HC/TR
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3.43  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,782 ratings  ·  410 reviews

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Jul 02, 2010 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: NO ONE
Recommended to Molly by: Alison & Corrina-bookclub
Warning: Rant ahead.
This woman is INSUFFERABLE. I didn't want to read this book and almost quit about 50 pages in because it's such an irritating waste of time, but I've only not finished a bookclub book one time in over 4 years. I can't believe I made it through 350 pages of her poor-little-rich-girl whining. She is shallow and a new-age poser. She wants to be Eat, Pray, Love and doesn't come close. She makes me wish we had a residency test for anyone who wants to move here. She is NOT a real
Laura Munson
Jul 29, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
Well, heck. I wrote it. So I love it. I'm proud of its message and I want it to help people. And based on the amazing emails I get all is. Thanks for your support, goodreads!
Jan 11, 2010 rated it did not like it
A drunken gerbil could write a better and more closely-reasoned memoir than this.

Hardly any of the sentences or paragraphs make sense.

"It feels like the country fair has come to the town of my mind--complete with sketchy rides, carnies, and sugar-amped kids crying over lost balloons. So loud and disorienting. I want it to pack up and move on to the next town. I want my mind to be an open grassy field again with crickets and dandelions. Besides, my husband isn't there to ring the bell with the
Aug 31, 2011 rated it liked it
I liked this book. I think I wanted to like it slightly more than I did after I heard about the premise on NPR. Then, when I started the book the author kind of annoyed me. Her trust-fund baby background pushed all my prejudice buttons and set up a nice little tone of resentment that hung between the story and myself and threatened to undo all the possibility for mutuality and connection that is the very heart of enjoying a memoir.

Yeah, and then I got over it. Laura is a little bit spoiled. She
Nicole Harkin
Jul 09, 2010 rated it really liked it

Wow. What a fun memoir. I loved it. Loved every word. I found this book at our bookstore, and it does not really come out until April. The book is the memoir by Laura Munson, who happens to live in Whitefish, Montana! Can you believe that? I think she is about 8 years older than all of my friends, but she moved to Montana the same year my family did.

The book was also summarized in a New York Times column last August.

In summary, her husband asked her for a divorce, and told her he did not love he
Mary Novaria
Mar 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
When the going got tough... Laura Munson decided not to play the victim. Instead, she was determined NOT to suffer, even when her husband--and the father of her two children--told her he wasn't sure he still loved her. Her response was something akin to "keep calm, carry on," partly because she simply didn't buy it. He was in the midst of financial losses and business woes and she was a convenient target for his angst. Some may have accused Ms. Munson of being in denial; instead, it seems she kn ...more
Apr 02, 2010 rated it liked it
Definitely worth a read, though with some caveats. Laura Munson is remarkably likable (unlike Elizabeth Gilbert to whom I'm sure she'll be compared repeatedly). It's easy to root for her and her advice is thoughtful, honest, and compassionate.

That being said, the book's writing is a little amateurish at times and can also meander; in trying to fix her marriage, Munson strives for a level of anonymity and privacy for her husband and children that is admirable but also leaves much of her narrativ
Heather Fineisen
Mar 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
This book is a great friend to have nearby. Too bad it can't dial, text or meet for overly priced coffee or subpar wine. Pretend it's that silent, knowing friend and you will get some good advice on navigating relationships and being true to yourself. Marriage is hard every single day. But knowing yourself is even harder. Munson bravely exposes herself in this open chronicle of her marriage and we can all benefit from it. Empowerment, judgement, eyerolling, highfives--it's all there. It's all he ...more
Nadine Jones
Memoir of a time in the author's life when her husband said "I'm not sure if I love you" and walked out the door.

I had a lot of hope when I started reading this, but I quickly started skimming, because she repeats herself, and she strikes me as rather smug. I'll skim a few more chapters to see if it gets better, but I don't expect much.


I'm still skimming, I've skimmed myself to about 75% of the way done. The author remains quite smug. So disappointing.

A big part of my problem here is the autho
Apr 26, 2010 rated it did not like it
This book was so horrible that I struggled to continue past the 1st chapter...but I did...and persevered to finish the whole horrid mess. Ms. Munson's style of writing is disjointed, juvenile, and filled with unnecessary and gratuitous expletives. She comes across as a privileged, spoiled, self-centered, and materialistic has-been debutante...not the most likable of characters. While we read about her marriage falling apart, it is difficult to dredge up any sort of sympathy for her character, no ...more
Jun 06, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
UGH! it seems to me that this book is written by a 5 year old! she's SO self absorbed and superior that i didn't like her at all. the premise of the story is good and had potential but this girl blew it. now i know why it took her 20 years to finally get published but i wonder why this one did. TERRIBLE!
Jun 06, 2010 rated it it was ok
Just another memoir about white people being sad. Whateves...
Angela Risner
Jun 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing
First of all, you should all read this book. Everyone in the world should read this book.

Why? Because it's about relationships. It's about communication. It's about finding your own bliss - not tying all of your happiness up into another person. You must find happiness in yourself.

I started this book and was three pages into it when I realized that a friend of mine who is going through a rough spot in her marriage needed to read it. I told her to go right to the store and get it. She did and it
Feb 06, 2012 rated it really liked it
How would you react if your husband suddenly told you he didn't love you anymore (maybe never did) and wanted to leave you? I doubt there are many of us that could step back, take a deep breath, and not take it personally. This is exactly how Munson chose to react (CHOSE being the operative word) and I was impressed with her objective, mature approach. Her plan was to give her husband some space and time, no "guilting" him into staying, no screaming or blaming. She decided to take responsibility ...more
Jan 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
My pastor recommended this book to me, not because my husband has said "I don't love you, and I'm not sure I ever did," but because he knew that this book could apply to anyone enduring a tough relationship. I appreciate Munson's honesty as she shares, sometimes moment by moment, the hardest thing I can imagine in a marriage. This book was like therapy for me. And, since I checked it out from the library, free therapy at that. :)
Jun 03, 2010 rated it it was ok
Boring...just another ill-written memoir in the wake of The Middle Place. Not well-written or particularly clever. Leaves no doubt in your mind why her previous 20 novels did not get published...
Oct 20, 2013 rated it did not like it
Well, like they say, don't just a book by it's cover. Or, in this case, it's blurb. I've had this sucker on a to-be-read list since we picked it up for our library system over two years ago, and I was finally at a point to pick it up, give it a shot.

I made it to page 104 and quit.

I'd read Happier At Home by Gretchen Rubin, and this book sounded like it might be in the same vein. I really liked the whole "you are responsible for your happiness and no one else" attitude that was covered in the b
Jun 30, 2010 rated it really liked it
I downloaded the sample of this book to my Kindle and decided the author was too whiny and too WASP-y for me to buy it. The first few pages MUST have nagged in the back of my brain, though, as I finally journeyed to the library to pick up this book.

Turns out, once I got over the fact that she was, indeed, whiny and WASP-y, that I really did get caught up in her journey of being the creator of her own happiness. The story definitely has some strikingly awkward writing [she is a fan of flashbacks
Jan 29, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: adult
It was good - well you take what you need from it and as long as you can see it in that way it was good. Unlike the author (this was a memoir) I don't have a husband who wants to leave, who doubts his love for me nor is having a midlife crisis. But, it allowed me much thought about the role that expectations play in a marriage and when to speak up and when not to and what to say when you do speak and the importance of finding happiness within.

She asked us to not judge her and her way of handlin
Wayne Allen
Jul 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is one of those books that really resonated with me. It's a book of direct self-reflection, as the author makes her way through of a marriage going off the rails.
With great honesty, Munson opens herself and her process to the reader's scrutiny... while it's not always pretty, it's clear and forceful.
You get to walk alongside the author as she walks the path of self-discovery... and sometimes, that path leads in a direction you never imagine.
I'm a retired counsellor, and this was a "must rea
It's fascinating to watch Laura honestly explore her thoughts as her marriage begins to unravel, although the promise of remaining mindful and responsible for her own happiness is not fulfilled for most of the book. However, she has a rich way of describing her inner workings and material externals, the sensory pleasures from her grandmother's china, her child's smile, her horse's mane, kind of May Sarton-esque. This is one of the reasons I turn to memoir, to see what people do with the moments ...more
May 07, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir
Attended a worthwhile 1-day writing workshop with Laura Munson, the author. Always interesting to read a book by someone you've met. The lessons she learned writing this memoir carry through to who she is today.
Oct 29, 2010 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 28, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I am not certain that I can do justice to this book. It had such a profound impact on my approach to life, to my marriage, that I am still processing what to do with this information. Ms. Munson presents her story in such a forthright manner, her pain and terror at what is occurring in her marriage is palable and at times very uncomfortable to read. I alternated between not wanting to put myself through the anguish but curiosity to see how her philosophy worked in the end. I forced myself to rea ...more
Sep 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: keeper, favorites
It was like reading a book as if it were a reality TV show. The author gave you a glimpse of what was in her mind, as she went through some life changing events. She takes a new approach to life that helps her make choices of how to react, not only to survive, but also grow as a person during the process. This book will really make you stop and think about how to react the next time you are faced with one of life's challenges. What affect will the outcome have on, not only you, but all the other ...more
May 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoir
When the author's husband of 15 years announced that he didn't love her anymore and was moving out, the author began keeping a real time journal of the days and weeks that followed. The fact that this occurred just after she had made a personal spiritual commitment to be responsible for her own happiness (no blaming, no dodging personal accountability, no waiting for the perfect life, etc.) added a whole new dimension to the experience. (The Universe loves a well-timed challenge.) This book is t ...more
Kare Anderson
Like many other readers perhaps I first heard of Munson's situation when reading her guest piece in The New York Times Modern Love column. The overwhelming number of readers'responses to that "I-Don't-Love-You/I-Don't-Buy-It" column caused the paper to temporarily shut down the comments section for it.

One quickly becomes to care about Laura Munson as she struggles to use what she has been practicing - staying with her strengths and internal equilibrium rather than turning angry or sunken victim
Jan 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This was the best book I read in 2010. And having read it once, I want to read it again. This simple, unassuming debut is such an important book, as I told Munson when I wrote her via facebook. The handful of friends with whom I've shared Season Of Unlikely Happiness also love it.

Munson writes well, utilizing an 'I' voice that inserts you deeply into her mind. Her portrayal of her darker side, which she treats as a character named Sheila, is both funny and painfully honest.

But it's the message t
Apr 29, 2012 rated it liked it
I saw this book on a number of blogs and the article Munson wrote in the New York Times. The premise of the book is that her husband told her one day that he no longer loved her and he was going to leave the family. She responded by asking him to try anything other than separation to cure his mental and emotional ills. She also took care to feed her own spirit during the difficult time. The book follows the journey of the couple and Munson's internal path for a few months.

I enjoyed her authentic
Mar 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
*Choosing happiness over suffering*

In the beginning of this memoir, Laura shares her Author's Statement of: "I write to shine a light on an otherwise dim or even pitchblack corner, to provide relief for myself and others."

And, this Reader's Reaction to that Author's Statement is: "Your light shines on. And on. And on."

A poignant, real-time, down-to-earth, and unforgettable journey, _This Is Not The Story You Think It Is_ gives us all something to think about. Specifically, how we can take respon
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Laura Munson is the author of the New York Times and international bestselling memoir This Is Not The Story You Think It Is: A Season of Unlikely Happiness (Amy Einhorn/Putnam 2010) which Book of the Month Club named one of the best books of the year. It has been published in nine countries and has been featured in Vanity Fair, Elle, Redbook, Time, Newsweek, Washington Post, Publisher’s Weekly and ...more
“Probably the wisest words that were ever uttered to me. Came from a therapist. I was sitting in her office, crying my eyes out. . . and she said, "So let me get this straight. You base your personal happiness on things entirely out of your control.” 64 likes
“Suffering sucks. Don't do it. Go home and love your wife. Go home and love yourself. Go home
and base your happiness on one thing and one thing only: freedom. Choose freedom, not suffering. Create a life of freedom, not wanting. Have some really good coffee and listen to the red-winged blackbirds in the marsh. Ignore the mosquitoes.”
More quotes…