'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Monday 21 November 2016

Review: How to Be Happy

Winner of the 2014 Text Prize, David Burton doesn’t spare the embarrassing details in his memoir of the struggle to be 'normal'. David delves into the darkness of teenage life with humour and disarming candour. His opening words sum it up well:

I’ve lied to you already.

I don’t know how to be happy.

Yeah, sorry. Awkward.

If you decide to ride David’s rollercoaster, you’ll be entertained from beginning to end but it’s not all laughs. David drills to the core of adolescent agony and discusses what were, until recently, taboo topics like sexual identity and suicide. He doesn’t shy away from personal tragedy, either.

How do you navigate the miasma of everyone else’s expectations? Is it possible to find a comfortable space to be when the world says you don’t fit? Are you responsible for other people’s sadness? 

David Burton’s ground-breaking YA memoir is a new niche in the highly sought-after memoir genre: one that I hope will be filled with the many more desperately needed companion titles.

How to be Happy: a great read for anyone struggling to find a way through the adolescent murk.

Title: How to Be Happy
Author: David Burton
Publisher: Text Publishing Company $19.99
Publication Date: August 2015
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9781925240344
For ages: 14 years +
Type: Young Adult