To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.
My Happy Life Paperback – April 4, 2007
Books with Buzz
Discover the latest buzz-worthy books, from mysteries and romance to humor and nonfiction. Explore more
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
In childhood she catapults from one charitable home to another, abused by fellow residents and schoolmates, and eventually winds up sleeping on park benches. As a young woman she falls prey to a sadistic wealthy patron who kidnaps her. With graceful and often poetic simplicity, Millet thrusts us into the childlike mind of a person who has a limited ability to make herself understood in an unforgiving world. This woman's story--covering decades and spanning continents--is utterly tragic, yet her capacity for joy shines throughout. It's quite an about-face from Millet's last novel, the silly and satirical George Bush, Dark Prince of Love. Despite its many abstractions (Where are we? How much time has passed?), the book flows easily and doesn't step outside this determined, faithful woman's story for a second. Her character may not have a name, but readers will ultimately trust her--in happiness and in sorrow. --Emily Russin --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
More About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
It is the Narrator (never identified) who makes the comment above in Lydia Millet's, "My Happy Life," a woman who has had almost no real happiness in her life and who always recovers from whatever blows and misfortunes life deals her without any ill feelings or rancor. She is resilient to a fault..always looking on the bright side, always making excuses for those who mistreat her.
We all know this woman. She's the one who cleans our hotel rooms or offices. She's the one with the bad haircut and out-of-style coat whose smile we do not return on the street. She's the one we hope never to become.
But Millet makes her a heroine with a profound sense of insight and razor sharp introspection...a kind of life experience idiot savant. And in the end....we, at the very least, admire her and maybe even secretly want to be her.
The Narrator takes us to her bosom early on when she says: "so now I seem alone...But I am not alone...I have You." And that she does through 150 pages of heart-wrenching bad luck and unspeakable misfortune. But nonetheless, the tone of the novel is sweet with the fragrance of a life fondly remembered.
Our Narrator is "Everywoman" and by extension Everyman: exploited, abandoned, discarded, imprisoned, rejected, made invisible by age. Millet seems to be saying: Look at this woman, Look at this Life, Look how she recovers and perserveres... Don't complain to me about your petty upsets and daily trials and tribulations! Here is how it is in the extreme...Read more ›
She begins to write her story on the wall, talking to you as if you were there with her, and her story will stab at your heart even if it is a black shriveled heart. It will bleed for her, trust me.
Left as a newborn in a shoebox near an orphanage, she has never known anything other than state homes and the occasional foster home. Our protagonist comes across as being mentally slow, which may explain her ability to retain her innocence through constant physical and emotional abuse, even turning such abuse into what she feels is a caring connection with others. She simply does not see the bad in anybody.
From state homes to being kept at the mercy of an abuser, who gets her pregnant and then runs off with her baby, our protagonist somehow survives ever mean and vile dish that is handed to her, seeing only nourishment on silver platters.
The tale of her life is sad, poignant, beautiful, upsetting, dramatic, and tender. Millet's prose is stylish, rich, and smacks of true poetic talent. She pulls you into her characters life so quickly and completely that you will not be able to put the book down once you start. Don't worry, its only 150 pages, but the impact it will leave on your is far greater than the thickness of the book.
This is my first Lydia Millet book, and I am definitely buying more of her work. I consider 'My Happy Life' a must read, something for you to think about when you believe your life has gone all wrong because your DVD player broke and your Mercedes has a flat. Truly, a ten star book. Enjoy!
This is a short 150 page book that speaks volumes. I have never read a book quite like this one and cherished each and every word.
We meet our narrator, a girl of no name, who finds the good in everyone and everything. Her life? Her life is horrible, but you would never know it. This special person finds beauty, redemption, and kindness constantly. You think you have problems? This girl started her life in a shoe box left on a street to be found on a rainy and cold morning. She is moved from orphanage to foster home, from one set of dire circumstances to another, all the time being abused emotionally, physically, and mentally. She is beaten, she is raped, she is degraded, yet, yet, she is happy, content, apologetic to others for THEIR unkindness and faults.
Perhaps this special lady is so forgiving and happy due to mental problems, but does she have mental problems? Is she stuck in a world where she is constantly the victim and gets labeled as a mentally ill person? Travel through her 'happy' life as she stumbles through her days/weeks/years, living in different homes, with different people and finally ending up forgotten, abandoned, and alone in a locked room in a mental facility. And yet, still, she is not bitter or upset, but deals with what life has dealt her.
Lydia Millet writes like nobody I have ever read. Her words flow, shimmer, shine, bring a person to tears. Her prose is beautiful and full of wonder. For example -- "The door is locked from the outside; they went away and forgot me. It is not difficult: many times I have almost forgotten myself." Or -- "It is hard to say what Brother ever made of me, but I made a galaxy out of him. And all the lonely stars spiraled toward the center, glowing.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I have a library of books that I've read, and have over 1,000 books in it. I keep a special place for my five favorite books and this was one of them. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Bayou Boy
Having previously read Miller's trilogy and enjoyed it, I wanted to read this which probably had slightly better reviews. I was not disappointed. Read morePublished 8 months ago by James M. Kangas
This was a heartbreaking and beautiful little book. I had a tough time dealing with all the terrible things that continued to happen to such an innocent compassionate narrator. Read morePublished 12 months ago by AWL
Wow, did I read the same book? This review is totally out of character for me but I have to say this is the stupidest book I have ever read. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Beth
I read this book in the span of a day more than a decade ago and it seriously changed my perspective on life. I still treasure and talk about this book to this day.Published 19 months ago by Sibyl Karenina
A friend of mine suggested it for Millet's voice, and she really came through. On every single page there were sentences that you like mallets in your guts.Published on May 2, 2013 by Igor
You have to read it to understand. Amazing. I could not put it down once I started to read it.Published on March 29, 2013 by Amazon Customer
Flawlessly composed and poignantly imagined, My Happy Life is a short but intense novel of delicate power and fierce grace, an arresting tour of an unnamed naïf's psyche and a... Read morePublished on October 21, 2012 by Evelyn Getchell
This book will tug at your heart, with it's unusual premise and lead character. I'm not sure it's the kind of book that you could love but it does hold your attention and make you... Read morePublished on February 9, 2008 by Weekly Reader