Thursday, November 09, 2006

HAPPINESS SOLD SEPARATELY

Happiness Sold SeparatelyElinor Mackey’s life is about to unravel. Picking up the phone one evening, she overhears her husband Ted talking to his mistress. She’s not mad at first, just tired of fighting and disgusted with life. That she can’t get pregnant — and that they’ve been trying for years via artificial insemination, etc. — only adds to her deflated nature.

Once all the parties involved realize that Elinor knows about the affair, the situation becomes very complex. Gina Ellison is Ted’s trainer and sexual paramour. And when Ted is kicked out of his wife’s bed/home, he decides to end it with Gina. But then Ted runs into Gina and ...her son? Not ever realizing she had a son (Toby), the boy and Ted hit it off immediately. But Toby’s overly sought after affection from Ted causes more and more problems. As Ted gets back together with Elinor, Toby latches onto him.

Will Ted break it off with Toby (and Gina) so that he and Elinor can have a "normal" life? But what if Ted really wanted to have kids? Elinor can’t, but maybe Gina can. And she already has an interesting and brilliant child. As our characters coalesce, it’s obvious that happiness is sold separately when it comes to life’s big (and little) decisions.

Author Lolly Winston has prose ability, keeping even the most mundane of subjects relatively interesting. Much of the time she has Elinor sitting under an oak tree with a neighbor discussing this or that. Although the subjects they discuss (mostly relationships) are fairly bland, Lolly Winston keeps the story moving along by utilizing good comedic timing and thought-provoking interpersonal matters.

Happiness Sold Separately will most likely appeal to women more than men, as most of what is discussed is something men try to avoid like the plague ("Honey. We need to talk about our relationship." Yikes!). Readers may also feel that the story occasionally reads like an entertaining textbook on modern day relationships more than a character portrayal.

Even so, there’s some quality writing in here. But whether or not readers will like it may depend on how they feel about its subject matter.

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