It wasn’t intentional to read to two Will Ferguson books in a row, seeing as I struggled with the last one. This is next on the list as I didn’t get on with a very old Anne Tyler book, being completely ignorant of the fact that she’d been around so long an had films made out of her books (The Accidental Tourist) I’d picked up an interesting book of hers’ in Montreal that I love but couldn’t get into this old one from 1965.
Having said all of that Happiness™ is a fun story about the stereo type editor who is a frustrated writer working in the self help section. These are woeful tales of how editors don’t get past the first page before rejecting, giving most of the manuscripts to interns to decide upon and how they expect to negotiate contracts.
It’s frightening but mostly hilarious as it centres on our main character Edwin who finally finds a book he can work with but only after he’s thrown it out on account of the author’s cheeky, knowing approach. Then when he’s idea-less and facing the firing squad in the team meeting, he decides he can make a book out of this manuscript but unfortunately his trash bin has now been emptied. There follow stories of him going to the incinerator, tracking down said author and negotiating until the book get’s published. And then the story begins.
“Remember, small circles and not too much direct pressure!”
It turns out Happiness™ literally changes the world and because people are less materialistic and just happy with their lot, whole industries go out of business and Edwin thinks that’s bad. There is the perfect wife at home, the crazed publisher at work and the less than perfect love of his life to contend with as well as the author of the most successful book the world has seen since the holy bible.
Happiness™ is a well written, humorous tale (I hope) giving us just the slightest hint at the extremes of the publishing industry.
Now, how can I make sure my book doesn’t end up on the intern’s ‘slush pile’…..?
Inspiration factor 8/10