"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.

In : Book Reviews 


Tags: david-grad  anti-hero  slice-of-life  melodrama  drama  sociopath  real-life  cynical  bittersweet  comedy  fiction 
LATEST BOOK REVIEWS:

****
Drama


*****
Role Play


****
Drama


***
Satire


****
Comedy


****
Comedy


****
Comedy


****
Fantasy


*****
Self Improvement


****
Action


****
Short Stories


***
Historical Fiction


*****
Children's


*****
Drama


****
Drama


*****
Political Thriller


***
Short Stories


****
Poetry


****
Historical Fiction


***
Autobiography


****
Philosophy


****
Thriller


****
YA / Fantasy


****
Children's


***
Suspense/Thriller


***
Sci-Fi/Fantasy


***
Adventure


****
Horror


****
Short Stories


****
Crime Drama


*****
Poetry


*****
Children's


****
Documentary


****
Historical Thriller


****
Fantasy


****
Horror


***
Comedy


***
Horror


*****
Comedy-Drama


****
Comedy


***
Crime Adventure


***
Young Adult


*****
Historical Fiction


*****
War Memoir


****
Short Stories


*****
War Memoir


****
Real Life


*****
Comedy-Drama


***
Fantasy


****
Poetry


*****
Short Stories


***
Fantasy


*****
Business


***
Historical Fiction


***
Children's


*****
Poetry


***
Historical Fiction


*****
Science


***
Poetry


*****
Short Stories


*****
Self-Help


****
Fantasy


****
Self-Help


****
Short Stories


*****
Fantasy


***
Drama


****
Children's


****
Comedy


****
Biography


****
Short Stories


***
Supernatural


**
Documentary


****
Historical Fantasy


*****
Documentary


***½
Thriller


***
Non-Fiction


***
Crime Thriller

Tags

1990s a-scholte abortion abuse action addiction afterlife age ajay-shankar alejandro-de-gutierre alexander-the-great alphabet american-comedy american-graffiti american-history ancient ancient-history animal-abuse animal-rescue animal-welfare anthology anthony-michaelides anthony-simola anti-hero anxiety arabian artificial-intelligence atlantis australia autobiography bereavement biography bittersweet bizarre blind bo-wu boats books borneo brian-kindall british business catholic cats chad-lee-erway challenge childhood children's christ christian christianity christina-williams christopher-adam clinchandhill clint-thurmon coffee-break cognitive collection colonialism comedy coming corporate-crime cory-barclay coup creatures crime criminal-justice crm cruelty cynical dark data data-analytics david-donachie david-grad david-lee-fish demons detective diary dictatorship diet disability dog-rescue dogs drama drugs dwayne-gill dystopian ea-minin earthquake ecological educational egyptian emergency emmanuella-hristova emotional empire environmental espionage faith fallacious-rose family fantasy fiction fiona-green flash-fiction frances-bloom friendship frontier funny futuristic george-dalrymple george-koloukis glyn-haynie gm-o'connor god gods golf gory greg-hickey health health-and-fitness heartbreaking heather-beal henry-woodiss high-school historical historical-fiction history holistic horror illustrated immigrants international internet ira irish j-kariuki jacinta-jade jennifer-macaire jesus jill-kearney john-simpson journal jungle justice ka-cummins kurt-cobain kyla-ross lady-byrd laura-eckert laura-hergane laura-koerber legendary leigh-holland life lin-wilder lindsay-mccall lindsey-mccall lorna-brown loss lynne-renoir marc-curtis-little maria-luisa-lang marine-life martin-freznell mathematics matt-nagin medical medical-drama medieval melodrama memoir mermaids michael-a.-greco michael-conlon michael-irwin military mind mjl-evans monoland monologue myrtle-brooks mystery mythical natural-disaster navy new-jersey new-york nick-dream nirvana non-fiction norman-aj-berisford northern-ireland novella nutrition observations of oppression otherworld outback pablo-palazuelo persia personal-development pharaoh philosophy pirates platoon poetry political political-thriller pop-culture prison pro-life psychology purgatory puzzle race racial rae-louise rainforest reading real-life redemption reference regime relationship religion religious remorse revolutionary richard-bunning richard-hacker rick-hall robert-kingett role-play roman romania rural sailing sailors satire sci-fi science seafaring self-confidence self-help sexual sexual-harassment short-stories sigal-haber sitcom slavery slice-of-life society sociopath soldier special-forces sports spy-thriller stage-fright stan-skrabut steve-bassett study superhero supernatural superstition surreal swashbuckling teamwork technology teen teenager the-troubles theodor theological thriller tim time-travel tomi-farrell torture tough-guy tragedy true-story tv-shows undersea vampire venezuela ventskevitch veteran vietnam vietnam-war vigilante vince-rockston violent walt-sautter war war-memoir weight-loss well-being werewolf western white wildlife will-link yorkshire young-adult
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.