Want to follow my reviews?  Follow the Facebook page.
BROWSE BOOK REVIEWS:

"HAPPINESS IS JUST A PILL AWAY" by David Grad

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Wednesday, December 20, 2017 Under: Book Reviews




This hugely impressive book is a very cynical, bittersweet and, at times, funny attack on the drudgery of the 9-5 day-to-day, compounding the constant disappointment of underachievement, in a society based on fallacy, superficiality and promise. A book which is easy to relate to in its hopelessness, and the motivation (or lack thereof) of its unnamed protagonist (/antagonist?).

There are laughs – including some real belly ones - but “Happiness Is Just A Pill Away” is not comedy, as such – it is far too real for that. The witticisms are wry, clever ones – as though the author doesn’t really want you to laugh along, because to comply is contemptible. It is candidly critical of the pretentious relationships between colleagues and peers, and its office culture setting is presented as a metaphor for the inequalities of the wider world generally. The first half of the book is an entertaining monologue of contrition and vitriol, and it is both utterly engrossing and extremely satisfying to observe the way David Grad dissects every aspect of society to its most criticism-worthy denominator, from sexual attraction to obesity, via inequality, injustice and wasted opportunity. It reminds me, to an extent, of “American Psycho” in its prose, but instead of bloodlust fuelling its anti-hero main character, it is frustration. It is wonderful to read, and being a wry person myself, I loved it absolutely.

I wonder if the book might be a touch too real for an American audience, but this side of the Atlantic it is right up our alley, with our sardonic sense of humour and our cynical, dreary outlook. Yet, however insincere a person you may be, once you pass the initial barrage of vitriol, and indulge the antics of a character who refuses to be a sociopath, yet may be just that, I defy you not to find yourself at this man’s level. The book does indeed start to feel more humorous – is this because the monologue grows funnier and funnier, or simply because you are now more in sympathy with the unnamed man, with all his increasingly obvious social anxieties?

Upon reaching the midway point, there seems to be a subtle change in tone, and what was previously deemed wry wit on the part of the unnamed, now begins to suggest itself as something potentially more serious. Grad’s depiction of the decline in mental health of a totally average person, living a totally normal life, becomes detailed and incredibly poignant; he delivers it superbly.

He appears to know his daily misery well, and the psychological insight is outstanding in terms of both his understanding and his articulation of it, whether considered from the point of view of the patient or the psychotherapist. And, despite all its acid, “Happiness...” actually delivers some wonderfully uplifting moments.

David Grad is a fantastic author – eloquent and engaging. His turn of phrase and use of metaphor hit his audience objective right on the nail; his writing style and use of language are a distance above the average, and his use of grammar, along with the book’s presentation, are flawless. He is clearly a very intelligent man, who thinks about things a lot, and places a great deal of effort into his articulation of them, whilst ensuring he is wonderfully easy to read; “Happiness...” engrossed me so much that I read it in just a few hours. In fact, it delights me to say that this superb book is the best I have read in a long time, and I congratulate him.

BUY IT NOW FROM AMAZON >

In : Book Reviews 


Tags: david-grad  anti-hero  slice-of-life  melodrama  drama  sociopath  real-life  cynical  bittersweet  comedy  fiction 
Ivy is a Weed by Robert M. Roseth
****
Crime Thriller

Resilience During the Pandemic by Nick Arnett
*****
Motivational

Will and Mysteria by Christa Reynolds
****
Self-Help/Spiritual

The Power of Music and the ADHD Brain by Luz Galindo
****
Psychology

The Latecomers by Rich Marcello
***
Drama

Monsters Inside by Ric Rae
***
Sci-fi / Horror

Butterfly Lake by Robert J. Saniscalchi
****
Action

Our Teenage Years by T.J. Wray
****
Memoir

The Soloist by Donald Gates
****
Espionage

Lady Father by Rev. Susan Bowman
****
Memoir

Catamaran Crossing by Douglas Carl Fricke
*****
Memoir

Black Shade of White Justice by Cattleya
****
Fantasy/Romance

The Strawberry Road by Ritch Gaiti
****
Spiritual

Red Hail by Jamie Killen
****
Sci-fi/Mystery

Bullets and Bandages by Robert J. Saniscalchi
*****
War Fiction

Who's There? by Dimas Rio
*****
Short Stories

Beautiful Things by Eloise Kelly
****
Drama

Golgotha by Guy Portman
****
Dark Comedy

I Learned it From You by Kevin Douglas Wright
*****
Documentary

Boulder County by Marc Krulewitch
*****
Crime Drama

Stronger than Blood by Allan Mason
***½
Sci-fi

Bottomless Cups by Joel Bresler
***
Comedy

Non Obvious Megatrends by Rohit Bhargava
****
Non-Fiction

From Doctor to Guinea Pig by Angelique D.
*****
Biography

Freedom's Light by Robert J. Saniscalchi
***
Action Thriller

Bucket Showers and Baby Goats by Christine Brown
****
Travel Memoir

Four Calling Burds by Vincent Meis
****
LGBTQ / Drama

Promises to the Fallen by Glyn Haynie
*****
War Fiction

An Unwanted and Unwilling Hero by E. Gourm
****
Historical Fantasy

The Girl in the Scarlet Chair by Janice TRemayne
****
Paranormal / YA

Freedom Sex and a Meat Cleaver by Sherman Miles
*****
Travel Memoir

Freedom Sex and a Meat Cleaver by Sherman Miles
****
Historical Fiction

The Intelligence Factor by Mike Logsdon
***
Sci Fi / Action

The Apple by Devashish Sardana
****
Action / Adventure

Destiny's War by Pyram King
****
Historical Fiction

Black Volta by PEte K.J.
****
Drama

Payback by Steve Bassett
***
Noir Fiction

Were We Awake by L.M. Brown
****
Short Stories

Almost Persuaded by Nigel C. Ferguson
****
Crime Thriller

Do We Have A Center by Walter Frank
*****
Politics

World Football Domination
****
Sci-Fi

Sour Blood
***
Crime Thriller

Beware of the Thought Bubbles
*****
Children's

Beyond The Prison Of Beliefs
****
Science/Religion

Rocky Mountain Noir
***
Comedy

Rocky Mountain Noir
***
Science Fiction

Foster Care To Millionaire
****
Memoir

Flow Like A River
*****
Thriller

Secrets To Being Amazing
****
Self-Help

13 Dark Tales: Collection Two
****
Short Stories

The Wooden Man
*****
Children's

Count It All Joy
*****
Drama

Myth Agent
****
Fantasy

Voice of the Sword
***
Fantasy

No Quarter: Dominium
***
Adventure

A Trinity of Wicked Tales
****
Horror


****
Short Stories

The Day I Made Good
****
Crime Drama

Complete Poetry of Norman AJ Berisford
*****
Poetry

Chuck the Rooster Loses His Voice
*****
Children's

Living Blind Without the Internet
****
Documentary

Devil in the Countryside
****
Historical Thriller

Monoland: Into the Gray Horizon
****
Fantasy

Corrosive
****
Horror

Woodiss is Willing
***
Comedy

The Fear
***
Horror

Superi: Reborn
*****
Fantasy

Murder in the Medical Center
***
Drama

The Eye of Nefertiti
****
Children's

Not Exactly Shakespeare
****
Comedy

Finding the Narrow Path
****
Biography

The Wyndham Werewolf
****
Short Stories

Only Human
***
Supernatural

What is Justice
**
Documentary

The Rat Tunnels of Isfahan
****
Historical Fantasy

I Once Was Lost But Now I'm Found
*****
Documentary

Never Too Late To Die
***½
Thriller

Understanding the Patterns of Your Life
***
Non-Fiction

Happiness is Just a Pill Away
*****
Comedy-Drama

The Lucky Winner
***
Crime Thriller

Endohuman
***
Sci-Fi/Fantasy

Tummy Rumble Quake
****
Children's

Monoland: The Shimmering Mist
****
Fantasy

Goodbye Butterfiles
*****
Psychology

Treading the Uneven Road
****
Short Stories

The Cuckoo Colloquium
****
Comedy

When I Turned Nineteen
*****
War Memoir

Fortuna and the Scapegrace
****
Comedy

Gnosis
***
Young Adult

Buy or Die
***
Satire

Faithful Servants
****
Drama

Ghost Dog
***
Crime Adventure

Looper
****
Drama

The Sinister Urge
**
Drama

Read to Succeed
*****
Self Improvement

Gone to the Dogs
*****
Comedy-Drama

Die Back
****
Fantasy

Finding My Platoon Brothers
*****
War Memoir

Delivering Virtue
****
Comedy

The Room Above
***
Fantasy

Written By Blood: Conviction
****
Action

The Day My Kisses Tasted Like Disorder
****
Poetry

I Have Demons
****
Short Stories

Victoria's Voice
****
Real Life

The Revolutionary Youth
*****
Drama

The Dog Thief
*****
Short Stories

Appointment With Fear
*****
Children's

Mermaids Are Real
***
Fantasy

Legends of Persia
***
Historical Fiction

My Groans Pour Out Like Water
*****
Poetry

47 Hours
*****
Political Thriller

The Road to Alexander
***
Historical Fiction

Father Divine's Bikes
****
Drama

Winning With Data
*****
Business

Aquila
****
Historical Fiction

Lions, Leopards and Storms, oh my!
***
Children's

Sparrowhawk on the Horizon
***
Historical Fiction

The Warehouse Tour
***
Short Stories

Feast of Sapphires
****
Poetry

The Night Alphabet
*****
Short Stories

Just Another Girl's Story
***
Autobiography

No-one Listens
***
Poetry

The Roving Mind
*****
Science

Malthus Revisited
***
Suspense/Thriller

My Weight Loss Journey
****
Self-Help

Change of Chaos
****
YA / Fantasy

Fish Farm
****
Thriller

Songs to New York
****
Short Stories

I Claudia
*****
Historical Fiction

God: Challenges From Philosphy and Science
****
Philosophy

The Friar's Lantern
*****
Role Play

Crazy About Kurt
****
Comedy

Dark Cure
****
Action

Translucent Boy
***
Sci-Fi Fantasy

Dart by Dale Renton
****
Sci-fi Fantasy

Monoland: Beyond the Monochrome
*****
Fantasy

Choose a Reality by Emmanuel Morfoboss
***
Self-Help

Wacky on the Junk by Kathy Varner
****
Memoir

The Eden Complex by Elise Leise
***½
Sci-Fi / Fantasy

Tomthunkit's Theory of the Universe
***
Political / Non-fiction

Nobody Gets Out of Catering Alive by Joe Montaperto
****
Comedy/Memoir

Turning on the Christmas Lights by Nellie Woods
****
Short Stories

Tags

1990s a-a-lotfy a-scholte abortion abuse academic action addiction adhd adventure africa african-culture afterlife age ajay-shankar alcoholism alejandro-de-gutierre alexander-the-great allan-mason alphabet america american-comedy american-country american-graffiti american-history american-politics ancient ancient-history angelique-d angels animal-abuse animal-rescue animal-welfare anthology anthony-michaelides anthony-ranieri anthony-simola anti-hero anxiety arabian arabs artificial-intelligence asia atlantis atmospheric australia autobiography bereavement big-pharma biography bittersweet bizarre black-comedy blind bo-wu boats books borneo brain brian-kindall british british-empire business cameron-k-moore catholic cats cattleya chad-lee-erway challenge childhood childhood-trauma childrens-books chiller christ christa-reynolds christian christianity christina-williams christine-brown christopher-adam church civil-rights climate clinchandhill clint-thurmon cody-mclain coffee-break cognitive collection colonialism comedy coming corporate-america corporate-crime cory-barclay coup creation creatures crime criminal-justice crm cruelty cynical dale-renton dark dark-theme data data-analytics david-donachie david-grad david-lee-fish demons denise-wijayaratne detective devashish-sardana diary dictatorship diet dimas-rio disability diversity dog-rescue dogs donald-gates donald-trump douglas-carl-fricke drama drug-abuse drugs dwayne-gill dystopian e-gourm ea-minin earthquake ecological educational egyptian elderly election elise-leise elizabeth-hamilton-smyth eloise-kelly emergency emmanuel-morfoboss emmanuella-hristova emotional empire environmental erotic espionage evolution fable fairy-tale fairytale faith fallacious-rose family fantasy fascist felicia-watson fiction fiona-green first-world-war flash-fiction football foster-care frances-bloom frances-newton friendship frontier funny futuristic gangster george-dalrymple george-koloukis ghana glyn-haynie gm-o'connor god gods golf gory greg-hickey guy-portman harlin-hailey hate health health-and-fitness heartbreaking heather-beal heavens henry-woodiss high-school historical historical-fiction history hiv holistic horror human-interest humour illustrated immigrants incest inspiration inspirational international internet ira ireland irish irish-stories italy j-kariuki jacinta-jade james-w-truax jamie-killen janice-tremayne japanese jennifer-macaire jesus jewish jill-kearney joe-montaperto joel-bresler john-paul-catton john-simpson journal jungle justice ka-cummins kathy-varner kevin-douglas-wright ku-klux-klan kurt-cobain kyla-ross l-a-macfadden l-m-brown la-noir lady-byrd laura-eckert laura-hergane laura-koerber legend legendary leigh-holland lgbt lgbtq life lin-wilder lindsay-mccall lindsey-mccall lorna-brown loss love-story luz-galindo lynne-renoir marc-curtis-little margaret-walker maria-luisa-lang marine-life mark-guillerman mark-krulewitch marriage martin-freznell mathematics matt-nagin medical medical-drama medieval melancholy melodrama memoir mental-health mermaids metaphorical metaphysical michael-a.-greco michael-conlon michael-irwin michael-r-martin middle-east mike-logsdon military mind mindfulness mitchell-allen mjl-evans monoland monologue motivation motivational music myrtle-brooks mystery myth mythical mythology narrative native-american natural-disaster navy nazi nazi-germany nellie-woods new-age new-jersey new-york nick-arnett nick-dream nigel-c-ferguson nirvana noir non-fction non-fiction norman-aj-berisford northern-ireland novella nutrition observations of oppression otherworld outback pablo-palazuelo pandemic parable paranormal perception persia personal-development pete-k-j peter-learm pharaoh philosophical philosophy pirates platoon poetry political political-thriller pop-culture prison pro-life psychology pulp pulp-fiction purgatory puzzle pyram-king quantum-physics race racial racism rae-louise rainforest reading real-life reality redemption reference regime relationship relationships religion religious remorse reverend revolutionary ric-rae rich-marcello richard-bunning richard-hacker rick-hall ritch-gaiti robert-j-saniscalchi robert-kingett robert-m-roseth rohit-bhargava role-play roman romance romania ross-libby rural sailing sailors satire sci-fi science science-fiction scientist scotland seafaring second-world-war self-confidence self-esteem self-help series sexual sexual-harassment sherman-miles short-stories sigal-haber sitcom slavery slice-of-life smalltown-life social-science society sociopath soldier special-forces spiritual sports spy-thriller stage-fright stan-skrabut steve-bassett stress study suicide superhero supernatural superstition surreal susan-bowman suspense swashbuckling t-j-wray teamwork technology teen teenage teenager terrorist terrorists texas thailand the-sailor the-troubles theodor theological theory therapy thriller tim time-travel tom-hoffman tomi-farrell tomthunkit torture tough-guy tragedy travel trilogy true-story tv-shows undersea vampire venezuela ventskevitch veteran vietnam vietnam-war vigilante vince-rockston vincent-meis violent virus volunteer walt-sautter walter-frank war war-memoir weight-loss well-being werewolf western white wildlife will-link womens-fiction world-war-two yoga yorkshire young-adult zaire
To help with the backlog, you may find your book has been reviewed by one of my literary friends or colleagues.

GUEST REVIEWER:
Profession: 
Casual teacher; Special Education. 
Qualifications:  
Science degree, Diplomas in Education and Professional Communication. Edited Masters Athletics magazine for three years. 
MARGARET WALKER
Publications:  
One novel, His Most Italian City, published by Penmore Press and half a dozen published short stories.
Author Matt McAvoy
Website designed and created by MJV SERVICES, UNITED KINGDOM 2016 - all rights reserved.
*The author has established copyright for all work featured on this website.