15 November 2012

Happy All The Time

Laurie Colwin's "Happy All The Time" is another one of my all-time favorite books. On the Bookcrossing website, it's listed under "Permanent Collection" ... yes, I know I stated before that I don't put PC books on the website, but I felt obligated because this copy is one I got from another Bookcxrosser, complete with BCID, and I HAD to writge a JE (journal entry).

As is the case with "Jane," I've had different copies of this book since I first found it in paperback @ my local military library in Heidelberg, Germany. I've moved several times in 30 years, and every time I move, I lose something, only to find something else from a few prior moves. Books are often in the "Lose One, Find One" category.

"Happy All The Time" tells the story of four twentysomethings: Holly, Guido, Misty and Vincent. Guide and Vincent are cousins, who meet and marry the two girls. Guido first marries Holly, and Vincent later weds Misty, an smart, urban Jewish girl from New York City. The other 3 are what I call "hopeless WASPs," mostly from Connecticut, but who now live in NYC.

That's about the extent of the book. There's no sex and/or violence, or crime or anything. People have arguments and make up, go to dinner parties, have misunderstandings about one thing or another, have a baby (Holly & Guido), and basically slog through life.

I think you either love or hate this book, and I loved it. I discovered it at a time in my life when I was a little younger than the 4 main characters, and it spoke to me. Yes, that's a pretty pretentious little expression, I find, but that's how it was. I used to love to read it whilst in the bathtub, something I don't do anymore.

When I'm particularly down, I'll pick up "Happy All The Time," and feel better after I've finished it. While I'm not Jewish, I identify a lot with Misty, who seems to be very misunderstood. At one point, she makes the remark that she's a fine, upstanding person, something it takes the average citizen a long time to find out. Uh-oh ... it's time to read the book again if I can't recall, verbatim, Misty's quote. I've used it often throughout the years, with varying degrees of success.

Another book by Laurie that I really like is "Family Happiness," a copy of which got lost in the Great Move of 2010. Time to pick up another one, I guess.

Many of Laurie Colwin's books deal with adulty as comitted by an otherwise happily-married woman. Don't know why she always came back to this topic, but there it is. There was, coincidentally, no adultery in "Happy All The Time," but there sure was in "Family Happiness." I didn't blame the heroine, Polly, at all, as she had an irritating family and their expectations were often a real pain in the neck.

Laurie Colwin also wrote two non-traditional cookbooks, which were more like memoirs with recipes. If you search for her online, you'll see all her works.

Born in 1944, Laurie died in October of 1992 at the age of 48, after suffering a heart attack while sleeping. Wow, she's been gone 20 years. I'm feeling really old as I write this, and she was 10 years older than I.

If you can get a copy of "Happy All The Time" at your library, give it a try. I think it's time for me to pick it up again.

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