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Article  •  27 February 2023

 

Staff review: Are You Happy Now?

Are You Happy Now manages to be both extremely zeitgeisty but also timeless. It’s the story of four people, all of whom attend the same wedding in New York, all of whom see one of the guests sit down and refuse to get back up, seemingly entering a catatonic...

Are You Happy Now manages to be both extremely zeitgeisty but also timeless. It’s the story of four people, all of whom attend the same wedding in New York, all of whom see one of the guests sit down and refuse to get back up, seemingly entering a catatonic state. Soon it’s happening across the world; is it a sickness or a choice?

The four main characters each feel so well rounded and compelling and HUMAN; their motivations (or lack there of!) and actions always aligned perfectly with what you had come to know of that character. Each of their stories rang so true to me and all had deeply relatable threads woven throughout. There were some true gut-punchy moments and you’re somehow always rooting for them all, even when they’re at odds with each other. More impressive still, is the way these individual stories are set against and amplified by the framework of the ‘pandemic’ storyline. But this isn’t a pandemic like you’ve read before! It’s so thematically brilliant but never overwrought, and is an essential piece of the message you take from the book.

The NYC setting is written perfectly; it feels by turns liberating and oppressive, reflecting exactly what a city like New York can give and also take from a person (especially during times of global catastrophe). It’s a pretty incisive commentary on the culture of ‘making it’ in today’s world and what that actually means for the young people who feel like they are waiting for their lives to get started.

What I am really trying to get at is: this is a pretty bleak book haha. But it has such relatable moments of total sweetness and humanity and humour too! And it’s written so accessibly that you almost don’t realise how much it’s got you by the heart until the final pages! Anyways, I loved it and wholeheartedly recommend.

Feature Title

Are You Happy Now
They were waiting for life to get started. Then the world began to end.
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