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Happiness Sold Separately

3.27  ·  Rating details ·  5,853 ratings  ·  695 reviews
Elinor Mackey has always done the right things in the right order -- college, law school, career, marriage -- but now everything's going wrong. After two painful years of trying, Elinor has learned that she can't have children. All the doctors can tell her is that it's probably because of her age. As she turns forty, she withdraws into an interior world of heartbreak. Elin ...more
Hardcover, 294 pages
Published August 8th 2006 by Warner Books (NY) (first published 2005)
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Average rating 3.27  · 
Rating details
 ·  5,853 ratings  ·  695 reviews

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Aug 13, 2008 rated it it was ok
I enjoyed "Good Grief" very much, so I was hoping I'd like this book, too. Unfortunately, I didn't. I kept wondering if I should quit reading it because the characters were really making me mad. I don't know why I continued, and even though I finished it, I don't really know how it ends...

This is another book about infertility and the stresses it puts on a marriage (much like "Waiting for Daisy" except this is fiction). However, within a span of like 8 weeks, each of the three major characters h
Abigail Hillinger
Jul 26, 2007 rated it it was ok
Shelves: lite-lit
I was disappointed with this book. After reading the first few chapters of "Good Grief" (before it mysteriously disappeared), I thought I would read all of Lolly Winston's work and she could become a new favorite author.

After reading "Happiness Sold Separately", I came to the following conclusions. One, unless an author really understands both the male and female psyche, at least enough to write from the vantage point of both men and woman, he/she just shouldn't do it. Otherwise, it sounds like
Jul 23, 2008 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: No one--skip it
Oh no, where to start? I truly enjoyed Lolly Winston's debut novel, Good Grief, and was excited to read this one. Alas, my excitement was doused with a large splash of bitterness as I struggled to find some honesty in this book. The only character I actually liked was Kat, the understanding best friend and neighbor. Elinor and Ted's love for one another is unconvincing from the start. At times I wished they would just say, "Ok let's just forget it. We tried, nice knowing you," and move on. Not t ...more
Oct 11, 2007 rated it liked it
Shelves: mainstream
Like many others, I read "Good Grief" and loved it. However this book was just plain depressing. It was somewhat refreshing to have a book about infertility that didn't end up with the couple taking a vacation and suddenly getting pregnant and having a baby and living happily ever after. It also portrayed some of the realities of infertility very well. I also thought the plot showed the really sticky messes we can get in to and the disturbing realities of life. However, I would like to have seen ...more
Tiffany Hawk
Aug 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
With her signature mix of the dark and the funny, Lolly Winston poignantly captures the struggles of infertility and how it creeps into every aspect of your life. Ditto for infidelity, which she explores from every angle. I have to admit that I hated the end, but it had to go one way or the other. My friend read it at the same time as I, and she loved the ending. I'd say it comes down to whether you want a happy ending or not, but what constitutes a "happy" ending to infertility/infidelity? I gu ...more
Mar 02, 2008 rated it did not like it
I bought this book on a whim with my mad money. Then I got mad at Lolly's obvious disregard for morals and ethics. It was like she was making a statement and I completely disagree with her perspective. I finished this book just out of curiosity, to see if any of the characters redeemed themselves. Nope, I was out of luck. Each character was self-absorbed and didn't give a rat's you-know-what that they were ruining a kid's life in the process. Hate this book something awful. ...more
Aug 07, 2007 rated it did not like it
This book has to have one of the most annoying child characters in the history of literature. As well as no likable characters.
Eleanor and Ted's marriage is pushed to a straining point when Eleanor finds out that Ted has been having an affair with his personal assistant Gina. The feelings between the characters are complicated. Eleanor and Ted have been struggling with infertility for years. Gina is a single mother whose son Toby has just come to live with her and who hates her guts. Although Ted breaks off his affair with Gina when Eleanor finally becomes pregnant, he can't turn his back on the boy, and when Eleanor mi ...more
Sep 26, 2007 rated it really liked it
The characters in this book were amazing. I could empathize with all three of the main characters, even though at times they were at odds with each other. I admired Elinor's boldness and humor and related to her anger upon discovering her husband's affair. I felt bad for Ted, who felt helpless while watching his wife go through the trauma of miscarriage and realizing she wouldn't be able to have children. I also empathized with Gina, who was frustrated with Ted's inability to commit to her even ...more
Ye'Vell Hopkins
Jun 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book read like every day life. The story was tangible and real. We love, we hurt, we heal, we deny ourselves and we're beautifully broken. I wish the author would have allowed us to witness Ted's, Toby's, Gina's and Elinor's happy ending, it's not something I want to imagine, reading about it ensures that it actually took place (in fiction land, lol). I'm looking forward to reading more books by Lolly Winston...she has a great handle on this thing called 'life'. ...more
Nov 28, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cheating
This starts with a bang, a well done confrontation with the husband and the OW; but then it starts to meander too much.
Nov 19, 2013 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: People who like to read about families and relationships
RE-READ April 19, 2014

Well, I liked this book better the second time around.

Life is complicated. Humans are messy and complex creatures.

Elinor and Ted are married. They have been going through infertility treatments, and Eli has had a miscarriage. Now she's angry, sad and isolating herself. No matter what Ted tries to do to reach her, she's shoving him away.

Ted goes to the gym to work out his angst. There he meets a hot physical trainer named Gina. After a few months, she hits on him, and they s
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 30, 2011 rated it liked it
This book was passed to me by a friend. I breezed through this in a few sittings. I always enjoy when a writer tells a story from multiple characters' viewpoints. I appreciated that this story moved along quickly - the reader literally witnesses the wife learn of her husband's affair on the first page. So, this story starts cranking!

I will credit the author for writing something so honest with regards to marriage, friendship, self-centeredness and infertility; however, as a woman, I think the wo
Rebecca Garnett Haris
I loved this book. I think the characters were very distinct and different from one another, each with a unique voice and reaction to the difficult, painful scenarios they found themselves in. For Elinor the need for a baby, for Gina, her desire for a ‘good man’ but seemingly unattainable whilst raising her son. The relationship between Gina’s son and Tex was heartbreaking, yet so real to life. Then there is Ted and his feelings towards both women which I found poignant and tender. I think the a ...more
May 14, 2009 rated it liked it
This book tells the story of a lawyer whose marriage begins to crumble amidst infertility and infidelity. When Elinor discovers that her husband Ted is having an affair, she is hurt, but not entirely surprised, given everything they've been through lately. This is the first of many unusual (for chick lit), but very honest reactions that Elinor has to her changing life, and I think it's what sets this book apart from most of the pink-covered paperbacks infesting our bookstores.

These characters a
Annah Elizabeth
Feb 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Yes, this is a duplicate of the review I wrote for Winston's debut novel: Good Grief... You can't go wrong with either of these reads...

It's been years since I read Good Grief (and Happiness Sold Separately), but Winston's truer than fiction portrayal of grief and bereavement keeps me wanting more from her. Honestly, I periodically search to see if she's released anything after her (THIS) second book, Happiness Sold Separately.

As someone who's life's work is dedicated to healing, I can honestly
Aug 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: women-s-fiction
Happiness Sold Separately is not about happiness. A couple of married professionals who are struggling with infertility are also struggling to save their marriage.

As a person who also dealt with infertility issues in my life and in my marriage, I found that the author did an extremely good job with the emotional side of the story. I related to Elinor and Ted. I understood why they behaved the way they did.

I didn't really like the character of Gina much, but I think that was because I saw her t
Jul 10, 2008 rated it liked it
Elinor Mackey and her husband, Ted, are having a rough time. Their inability to conceive has put a strain on their marriage; a strain that almost becomes unbearable when Elinor discovers that Ted is having an affair. The book follows the stories of Elinor, Ted, and Gina, Ted;s mistress. Ted waivers back and forth between Elinor and Gina--two women he loves, but in different ways. Elinor herself in conflicted when she realizes to her surprise that things might be working out the way they are supp ...more
Kelly Renee
Jul 25, 2012 rated it it was ok
I thought this book was well written in the sense that it got my emotions invested thoroughly. The problem I had with it, however, was that one of the main characters in this novel made me so angry and upset to the point that I wanted to scream and throw the book across the room. I always found myself in a bad mood after I read it.

Now I am not saying that I just can't read sad, upsetting, frustrating books but because I didn't feel there was anything beautifully tragic about the things that hap
Jun 27, 2011 rated it it was ok
This was such a chick lit book that I was able to tell my doctor to stop my estrogen replacement therapy--I was awash in the stuff. The three main characters were so self-absorbed that I almost expected them to be on their Twitter accounts throughout the book. While the themes were timely--an affair in a troubled marriage, infertility, single mothers, careers, etc., I never really came to like or respect any of the characters. In the end, I simply didn't care what choices they made or how their ...more
Amber VanMeter
Oct 30, 2019 rated it did not like it
I am not really sure who even enjoy this book. The characters make you angry and there's no real ending. ...more
Jan 29, 2018 rated it liked it
It was okay. Most of the characters were jerks and I felt like there was too much back and forth with the relationships. Just eh for me!
Oct 14, 2020 rated it did not like it
I liked Good Grief. I really wanted to like this book, read all the way to the end in the hope that it would redeem itself. Nope.
Ellen Peterson
Jul 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
What looks perfect on the outside is probably an illusion.

In "Happiness Sold Separately", Lolly Winston masterfully opens the window to her characters thoughts allowing the reader to experience the craziness of their emotions, fears, and anger.

Some loose ends are not answered by the end of the book, but then, isn't that true in real life also?
Oct 31, 2016 rated it did not like it
Firstly, my idea of a HEA in books on infidelity is when the wife goes on to make a life of her own, successfully, and eventually finds happiness. If wife gets back with cheating husband, no matter how much remorse and regret he shows, it leaves me feeling unsettled. In this book, the wife has made the decision to let the husband go, which is courageous of her. But it is never clearly shown why the husband found the ow so attractive, apart from her sleek teenager body. The husband is a doctor an ...more
May 04, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction, reviewed
I shelved this book to-read a decade ago and I've been trying to make a point to get to some of these books that have been languishing on this shelf as there always seems to be new books being added faster than I can read them. I don't honestly know how this book ever caught my eye. In fact, it made me wonder what else was lurking out there, waiting to devour my precious reading minutes and I ended up culling my to-read shelf and questioning who hacked my account and added some of these books, b ...more
Sep 23, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: women-s-fiction
I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. You can see a huge difference in the maturity and clarity of the writing in comparison to Lolly's first novel "Good Grief". This was an interesting take on looking at people who are extremely controlling but yet, at the same time, very uncontrolled individually.

From back cover:

"Elinor Mackey has always done that right things in the right order-college, law school, corporate career, happy marriage. Then one morning she picks up the telephone and learns that her de
Oct 16, 2008 rated it really liked it
I respect the idea of seeing the human beings in our life, and those we don't know, yet, as beautiful, complicated, and loved, children of God, no matter the messiness or brillance of their current lives. I believe that is why I picked this book up, read the back, and decided to buy it. When someone in my life can only see in black and white, that physically causes me pain. I believe that Jesus saw all of His brothers and sisters in color. Our Father sees us in color. Of course their are shadows ...more
Feb 12, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: for-the-ladies
I really liked the plot of this book, I found Elinor to be a very likeable character...someone I could see a lot of myself in. Which in turn of course scares me as, I could see myself reacting to infertility the way Elinor does shutting her husband out.

I wish there had been closure for all of the characters before the book ended, but I could also see a sequel of this story...hint, hint Lolly Winston...
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Born and raised in the glamorous insurance capital of Hartford, Conn., Lolly Winston holds an MFA in creative writing from Sarah Lawrence College, where she wrote a collection of short stories as her thesis.

Her first novel, Good Grief, published in 2004, was a New York Times best-seller, a #1 Book Sense pick, and was translated into 15 languages. The film rights have been optioned by Universal St

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