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March 5, 2008 > Book Review: Happiness Sold Separately

Book Review: Happiness Sold Separately

By Robert A. Garfinkle

"Happiness Sold Separately"
By Lolly Winston.
Warner Books; 244 pages; $21.95, (hardback); $13.99 (paperback)

San Francisco Bay Area author, Lolly Winston, has hit the jackpot again with her second novel. I completely enjoyed her first book, "Good Grief," and was not disappointed by "Happiness Sold Separately," and neither will you. Winston has a knack for taking common characters and placing them in tough, everyday type situations that many of us have to deal with. Her use of humor is outstanding.

In this book, Elinor Mackey and her husband, Ted, are faced with the problems of infertility and infidelity. These two problems alone would normally tear a marriage apart, but Winston has thrown in a twist. Toby, the 10-year-old son of Ted's mistress, Gina Ellison, has decided that Ted is to be the loving father that he does not have. Elinor's world begins to crumble when she discovers that Ted is cheating on her with Gina, the personal trainer at the gym.

Ted is caught in the middle of a dilemma of his own making. He loves his wife and has done everything that Elinor has asked him to do in their efforts to have a family. They try invitro, but it fails. While Ted and Elinor are trying to keep their marriage going, Ted thinks that he is also in love with Gina, and has a strong desire to help Toby with his homework. He feels trapped in his own web. Ted and Elinor struggle to put their lives back together again and to push away from Gina, but try as hard as they can, Toby keeps things tumbling almost to the point of total chaos.

Do Elinor and Ted reconcile? You will have to read the story to find out. I am not going to spoil the reading fun you will have with this book.

I enjoyed this page-turner, and in particular the way the author made me feel about the characters. I was pulling for them to succeed. A primary goal of the fiction writer is achieved when the reader feels deep and intense empathy for the players on the stage. I highly recommend this book and if you have not read Good Grief, then get to it as soon as you finish this book. I enjoy Winton's style of storytelling and definitely look forward to reading her next novel.

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