I finished vacation book #2 – Happiness Sold Separately, by Lolly Winston. It definitely fit the bill – nicely paced plot, good story, well-written. As I noted in my last post, I needed a female writer after three male authors in a row.

Happiness_3 The book is about a couple in their early forties who has been suffering through infertility and estrangement. The husband embarks on an affair, the wife finds out, and the book covers their separation and attempt at reconciliation, as well as the husband’s relationship with the other woman. It sounds heavy, but it’s not. Typical Lolly Winston – keen observations about relationships, parenthood, infertility and suburban living; snappy writing; and some good humor thrown in as well. Her characters, as in Good Grief (which I reviewed here) are flawed but likable. There are a few plot developments that don’t pass the reality test, but in general this is a good read. Between Good Grief and Happiness Sold Separately, I’d probably recommend the former more strongly, for the poignancy of the descriptions of widowhood. But this book also deals with pain and loss, in the form of infertility, and I definitely found that it struck many personal chords.

I look forward to more from Lolly Winston. Here’s an interview with her from the Barnes & Noble site. She lists Lolita as her #1 book – just as I do.


  • TLB
    September 3, 2007 - 10:16 am | Permalink

    I read both of these books too and agree that Good Grief is a better read. I thought the writing in Happiness Sold Separately was a little flat, although the husband’s perspective did make me laugh more than a few times.

  • Nancy West
    September 3, 2007 - 11:09 am | Permalink

    I agree with Gayle and the poster of the previous comment — both are good books but “Good Grief” was the better of the two. As I mentioned in a comment following the “Good Grief” post, that book just had a lot more originality for me — this book really doesn’t cover any uexplored territory, not that covering new ground is always the goal of a novel. But to hearken back to Gayle’s tagline — “Because who has time to figure out what to read?” — I would argue that this book is not the best use of one’s reading time. I thought the best part of this novel was the unexpectedly original resolution.

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