Happiness Sold Separately

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Synopsis: Ted and Elinor is a couple in crisis. They have been through two years of unsuccessful fertility treatments after another. All the stress, heart break, disappointments, and pressure makes their marriage seem like a job. Eventually, everything starts to fall apart between them. But Elinor never expected that her husband will ever cheat on her and resort to an affair with someone else.

Having read and liked Lolly Winston's novel, Good Grief, I picked up this book and expected that I would enjoy this one as well. For starters, I liked the premise. Even though it has been done multiple times before, the author does a great job showing its complex sides by giving it a new twist. It's not the typical, 'husband cheats on wife with hot & attractive mistress,' because in this novel, it's not only the married couple's point of view that is showed, but the mistress's as well -- a very interesting take.
Another good thing about this book is that it is a fast read. It is also, as expected, very well-written. The author writes in a way that her readers get to sympathize and empathize with the characters and their situations. And for a character-driven book, I believe this is crucial. Though I did like and root for most of the characters, I feel as if the author failed to develop them more. To me, they were still the same people as they were from the first chapter. There's no growth or maturity. Now I don't know if I like that very much. If you read Good Grief, I have to admit the character and plot development there was much cleaner than in here.
Another negative aspect about this book is its ending. I will warn you now, if you do not like ambiguous endings, you should probably skip this. I for one, was left a bit unsatisfied. I felt as if there was so much build up in the story and then -- bam -- it's done. There was no chance to give a more 'proper' or appropriate conclusion. As I think about this though, maybe that is the point of the novel -- that there's always loose ends and no perfect endings. I do get that, and I appreciate the author's purpose, but maybe like I said, the ambiguity was just not for me.
To sum up this review, I have to say that overall, this is a good read and is well worth the time. For me, I did not like the ending. Maybe if the author tweaked and changed it more a bit and gave more of a direct conclusion.. maybe it would have been better.


  1. Great review, I enjoyed this book and want to read Good Grief now.

    I think anyone with fertility issues may find this to hard to read though.

  2. @MarceJ: I remember you recommended this to me, thank you. I didn't like the ending of this one very much, but I still liked it. And I agree, anyone with fertility issues and cheating partners will have a harder time reading this.
    I recommend Good Grief! Can't wait to hear what you think of it if you ever read it :)