Saturday, February 21, 2009

Happy All The Time by Laurie Colwin

11. Happy All The Time
by Laurie Colwin
fiction, 1978
paperback, 212 pages
finished, 2/18/09

Happy All The Time could be a primer on love. Each character and each relationship is unique and filled with love. Real love.

There are two main couples: Holly and Guido, and Misty and Vincent. The men are not only distant relatives, but also long-time friends. So, along with reading about romantic love, we read about the love between friends. And then there are the family members who show up and give us a glimpse of the love in their lives.

It is an extraordinary book, the likes of which I have never read before. The people are all interesting and we feel warmly toward them. No villains. No violence. Just a few people going about their lives in 1970s New York City, looking for love but not "in all the wrong places." Love blossoms at work, while walking outside, while visiting relations.

Laurie Colwin lets her characters be themselves:

I don't work. I'm lazy. I don't do anything very important. I don't even know how intelligent I am. I just live day to day enjoying myself.

Whew, I don't know anyone in fiction or real life who would dare to say such a thing. We are "supposed" to be productive, high-powered, focused, and so on. I found the character Holly a breath of fresh air in a world full of driven people. And no one judges her. People accept one another, even when they don't completely understand why a person behaves in a certain way. At one point Vincent says,

We're all together. We're family and we're friends. I think that's the best thing in the world.

And isn't that the truth. We so need to remember this every moment of our days. If we need a reminder of the sweetness life can bring, Happy All The Time can provide it for us.

For another wonderful review, please visit Owls Feathers.


  1. Your review makes me think this book is a bit like the movie "Love, Actually", which also follows a group of people and shows different kinds of loving relationships. One of my favorite movies.

  2. Great connection, Joyce! And I love that movie, too.

  3. These Laurie Colwin books sound great. Love the quote.

  4. I love that first quote. May use it sometime. As time goes on I would like that to describe me!!
    Thank you for encouraging me through your comments.

  5. Oh, Cait, they are wonderful. I have two more waiting on the shelf.

    One Woman's Journey, it is a great line and sentiment. And of course you are welcome. I love reading your thoughts about life.

  6. This sounds like happy book that can keep your blood pressure down and just smile.

  7. Well put, Kay! It can make you feel 'happy all the time.' :<)

  8. Sounds like a book I would enjoy. I have been on the lookout for good reading material lately!

  9. I simply must buy this book! You've written a wonderful review, Nan. And thanks for the link to Marcia's post. I hadn't realized she was blogging again and I'm thrilled to see she has several new posts. Off to read those and bookmark her blog.

  10. When I first read this book I recommended it to my daughter, then a teenager. Her comment was, "I love this book. Of course, it has nothing to do with reality..."

    I remember the book and the comment to this day. It's just such a dear, happy book--that it adds a fillip of joy to one's reality!

  11. Sounds super - another one added to my must read list and to be keopt for a day when I want a warm comfy feel...

  12. I have not read this author, Nan. One more to add to my list. I felt more peaceful just reading your review. But then that often happens when I read your thoughts. You're like my tranquilizer in written form. Ha! Thanks for sharing!

  13. Charity Grace, it is a sweet book. I don't know if you happened to read the other two books I noted here by Laurie C., but they are nonfiction books about cooking and life, which I think you might like.

    Oh, Les, what a nice, nice thing to say. Thank you. And I'm glad Marcia is blogging again, too!

    Mary Lois, I wonder what your daughter would think as a grown up? :<) "dear, happy" are such good words to describe it.

    Scriptor Senex, it certainly is a "warm, comfy" read.

    Kay, thank you, thank you for saying that. And I laughed out loud when I read your "ha!"

  14. Haven't really read Colwin's fiction writing but dug into her food writing. Have a copy of "Home Cooking" by the bedside. Coincidentally, I unearthed Colwin's snarky fellow foodie, Jeffrey Steingarten ("It Must've Been Something I Ate"), while trying to clean out my bookshelves yesterday. Brought him over to the "to-read" pile - he and Colwin can duke it out for first read rights... :)
    - J.

  15. Oh, this sounds good! Thanks for the review. I used to own her two cooking essay books and they were a delight and yet (because I'm too sentimental) I gave them away because they kept saddening me when she would speak of the future and of her daughter being grown up and yet she never lived to see that happen. But I think I would enjoy this fiction book of hers. Thanks again... Blessings, Debra

  16. Jeff, I haven't heard of him but will look him up. I do love that word, snarky! One of those words whose meaning is just the way it sounds. I don't know if you are interested but if you look back at an earlier comment here, I gave links to Laurie C's food books. Boy, do I love them.

  17. Debra, I sure do understand. If you happened to read my 'book reports' on her cooking books, you'll see I feel that sadness too, esp. in the second one. I've found some stuff online about her daughter:


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