Monday, January 25, 2010

Review - Happiness Sold Separately by Lolly Winston


Elinor Mackey has lived her life in perfect order: college, law school, marriage, successful corporate career. But suddenly her world is falling apart. In her late 30s, she's discovered that she and her podiatrist husband, Ted, can't have children. When Elinor withdraws from Ted into an interior world of heartbreak and anger, Ted begins an affair with Gina, the nutritionist at their gym--a young woman with an oddball son who adores Ted. Meanwhile, Elinor falls in love with the oak tree in her front yard, spreading out her sleeping bag to sleep under the stars. Gina's jealous ex-boyfriend--a charming alcoholic with a mean streak--becomes a dark presence as his passion turns to violence. Ted, who may be the only one who can help Gina and her son, suddenly finds himself in love with two women at the same time. In the tradition of Anne Tyler, John Cheever, and Tom Perotta, Winston's second novel looks beyond the manicured surface of suburbia to a world of loss, longing, lust, and betrayal.

My Review - 3 1/2 stars

This is a sad one, happiness is surely sold separately, you will not find happiness in this book. I enjoy books that bring out the emotion of sadness, why you may ask, I don't know really. This was a story of marriage in crisis, for better, for worse, well oh my goodness for worse. Infertility, adultry, loss, grief, lust, betrayal, losing yourself, emotional turmoil, and a punch full of when bad things happen to good people. This book made me really think 'does everything really happen for a reason?'

The characters were great, the wife, the husband, the mistress, the mistress son and others were all believable. I liked them all in different ways. I didn't hate anyone, I felt like defending everyone with their choices, in my mind no wrong or right. Even the cheating, of course yes it is wrong but it didn't feel wrong.

This book would be impossible for some to read. Anyone that has had infertility issues, this would be heartbreaking. Anyone that lived the life of mistress I think you will understand. A single mom with 10 year old making requests that are impossible but they are too young to understand, wow that also.

I think I would have liked a little happiness in the ending but I still thought Lolly Winston did a great job on wrapping it up.

A teaser that says a lot....

'These houses are nice. Some of them come with swimming pools. Some have fancy kitchens and whirlpool bathtubs. None of them comes with happiness, though. None of them comes with babies.'

'Those amenities are sold separately.' .......Roger replies (the cleaner)

What I thought was the saddest - her husband was in this to death do us part, for better for worse, until the end, but she just withdrew and didn't realise she wasn't herself anymore. I felt sad for them.

This was such a real life touching story. I think this will make many cry and think about themselves or someone they know that is living this.

2 words - Heartbreakingly Beautiful

Also in 2008 this book was turned into a movie starring Julia Roberts. I just read the summary though, they had Julia be the one to committ adultery, sigh. Why do they change important facts from book to movie, so irritating.

Thank you for visiting Tea Time with Marce.


  1. This sounds good. . .I read her other book, Good Grief, and I had similar feelings about it. I should read this then see the movie!

  2. I think I'd like this book, but would probably have to be in the right mood to read it!

  3. Great review. I could never read this. It would hit way too close to home for me with the infertility and all the relationship muck it can cause.

    I'm totally with you with the changing of major plot points in movies. If you're going to change something major in a movie adaption, just write a whole new story. I hate that.

  4. This sounds like a wonderful story! I love emotional books as well! I think I would have to be in a "good place" before reading it, though! I've been dealing with infertility issues for the better part of the last decade, so I don't want to intentionally put myself in a "bad place"!! LOL Thanks for your great review!

  5. I remeber reading this one, but I didn't know it was made into a movie, with Julia Roberts no less! I'll have to find it. Thanks for the heads up.

  6. I might need to add this to my TBR list. It seems like it will affect me the same way Labor Day did.

  7. I liked this when I read it with my book club a few years ago. I didn't realize that it was made into a movie though...I'm going to have to check it out now.

  8. This book has been on my TBR shelf but I haven't read it yet. I love the cover. I had no idea it was made into a movie, wow!

  9. I got this one at the thrift store last week and have been wondering if I'll like it. Thanks for the good review- I'll move this one up my TBR pile a little quicker!


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