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I'm So Happy for You: A novel about best friends Paperback – July 29, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
Rosenfeld (What She Saw) delves into the thornier side of female friendship in this hip take on modern womanhood. Wendy and Daphne have been best friends forever, but their relationship, sketched out in e-mails that cascade from their group of girlfriends, comes to a breaking point when Daphne suddenly pulls herself together, stops fooling around with a married man and finds a new love interest who happens to be handsome, rich and obnoxious. In quick succession, Daphne ties the knot, moves into a brownstone and gets pregnant. Meanwhile, Wendy, a low-paid editorial drone who's been trying and failing to conceive with her slacker husband, feels that her own life is thrown into miserable relief. She begins to lash out at Daphne, first passively, and then rather aggressively. In the course of a few twists, misunderstandings and revealed secrets, Wendy questions whether the source of her inferiority complex is Daphne or herself. The two friends are by turns frustrating and sympathetic, while Rosenfeld takes a dark, hilarious and painfully accurate view of the less-than-pure reasons why women stay friends. (July)
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From The New Yorker
The hapless, too-eager-to-please heroine of Rosenfeld’s new novel is an ill-paid editor at an obscure leftist journal who secretly resents her husband for abandoning his job to write a sci-fi screenplay and for failing to get her pregnant. No wonder she thrills to the travails of her best friend, a suicidal beauty who has always overshadowed her but is now languishing in a dead-end affair. Then, to her chagrin, her friend meets Mr. Right. The book’s confectionery veneer belies a heart of poison, as Rosenfeld tartly dispels the cherished chick-lit notion that female friendship conquers all. Equally ruthless is her sendup of overachieving New York women in feral pursuit of have-it-all motherhood without having first ascertained if they even like children.
Top customer reviews
When I finished it, I felt like I had wasted that time. Ugh.
Talk about selfish, bitter, insecure and cynical. All the complaining, sulking and whining about her "friends" who had what she wanted, her husband, her mother and the smug belief that she was somehow the "better" friend in her relationships.
This was just a frustrating read that had nothing to do with maintaining friendship but silent animosity among friends. It should have been called: Frenemies: Why Women Cant be Real Friends.
If the characters are unlikeable and their interactions not an entirely true portrait of an ordinary female friendship then it's all to the good. It's not the sort of story in which you root for the winner. I'm So Happy for You reads like a 268 page non-sequitur. It's somewhere between The Invention of Lying (movie) and Revolutionary Road and exists as an almost scathing social satire that manages to stay light without going straight into forced humor. A professional critic would call it "whip smart." In fact, I'm going to say that it's whip smart myself, along with being perfectly fresh and modern.
I do, however, have one serious complaint. I could have very much done without the political commentary and undertones. Such a thing is not unexpected from an author who has published work in The New Yorker and New York Times, but that doesn't make it any less knee-jerk liberal, and it forever forces the book into a certain period of 8 years where it should have been almost timeless.