Sad Truth About Happiness

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9780006394105: Sad Truth About Happiness

In Anne Giardini’s bestselling debut novel, The Sad TruthAbout Happiness, Maggie, the perfect middle daughter of eccentric parents,finds herself on an impulsive quest for happiness, together with her sister Lucy’snewborn son. It’s a journey that will take her across the country—andultimately lead her home.

A poignant and sharply witty novel that’s a joy to share aswell as to read, The Sad Truth About Happiness explores theproblems of family, love, work, friendship and loyalty with a warm and deeplyfelt affection for its fallible, likable characters. Giardini is a masterful andgenerous storyteller.

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Review:

Set in Vancouver, Anne Giardini's debut novel, The Sad Truth About Happiness, follows the life of 32-year-old Maggie, a well-adjusted radiation technologist, as she tries to discover the true nature of happiness. She knows she cannot look to her two sisters as examples: her older sister, Janet, burdened with three kids, is on tranquilizers, while Lucy, the younger, has always been difficult and discontented. Maggie's love life, however, is blossoming, with three new boyfriends (including a doctor and a lawyer). Meanwhile, Maggie's friend, Rebecca, who designs quizzes for women's magazines, tests Maggie with a quiz that purports to measure expected life span. When they learn, according to the quiz, that Maggie might die in three months unless she discovers true happiness, Maggie takes the light-hearted results seriously and sets off on her quest.

Around the same time, Lucy, who has moved to Italy, becomes pregnant by an older Italian man. She flees back to Canada, to the arms of good-hearted, innocent Ryan, who has offered to marry her. When her baby arrives, so does the Italian father, to take his son home to Italy. This is when the novel develops some far-fetched plot twists, as Maggie (who suddenly acts completely out of character) kidnaps the infant and takes off for Quebec with Rebecca, hiding in a small town apparently peopled only by good-hearted Quebecois women. While the author shows a literary flair, particularly in her descriptions of the sky and weather ("the dove- and pearl- and abalone-coloured clouds," "hail the size of infants' teeth"), and draws characters that are, for the most part, believable, the book (like Maggie's evasive happiness) is marred by series of unlikely events and coincidences. --Mark Frutkin, Amazon.ca

From the Inside Flap:

At first glance, 32-year-old Maggie Selgrin seems perfectly content. Sensible and even-tempered, she enjoys her job as a mammography technician and has just moved into her dream apartment. Then one evening, her roommate convinces her to take a magazine quiz that calculates the date of one's death. The results suggest that Maggie will die in three months, unless she can honestly change her answer to the question, "Are you happy?"

Thus begins Maggie's quest for love and fulfillment. This luminous novel by the daughter of Carol Shields combines a spirited fairy-tale plot (including three suitors and a stolen baby) with an eloquent meditation on the true nature of happiness.

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Giardini, Anne
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ISBN 10: 0006394108 ISBN 13: 9780006394105
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