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My Happy Life Paperback – April 4, 2007
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About the Author
- Publisher : Soft Skull (April 4, 2007)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 160 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1933368764
- ISBN-13 : 978-1933368764
- Item Weight : 5.3 ounces
- Dimensions : 5 x 0.44 x 8 inches
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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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!
Unlike the trilogy, this is more elemental, raw and timeless. I am tempted to say "spiritual" but this might be misleading as the protagonist is an almost less than simple being who endures extreme cruelty, hardship, and abuse yet endures in a remarkable triumph of "the dream". I found the prose rich and fresh but others may disagree.
You may enjoy this novel if you enjoy seeing the beauty in cruel and twisted world or if you want a read which is a little bit out of the ordinary.
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." Ah, Lydia, what you do with words --
This is a sad, sweet, dynamic, happy, shocking, read. Many times I was brought to tears; tears of joy, tears of grief, tears of awe. To live a life full of cruelty and despair, hardship and severe bitterness, and yet to only find happiness, amazement, and to be so forgiving -- it makes one feel humble.
Lydia Millet you are an exceptional artist and have a new fan in me.