Book Review: Whatever Makes You Happy

Whatever Makes You Happy
Whatever Makes You Happy by William Sutcliffe
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was at primary school with William Sutcliffe, and his mum worked with my mum, but we were never close friends and lost touch altogether when we went to senior school. I’d not thought about him for years until I came across two of his books – New Boy and Are You Experienced? – in a charity shop. I bought them but still haven’t got round to reading them – grr – but did get this one for my Kindle and read it on holiday. (I was also thrilled to discover that he is married to Maggie O’Farrell, who is one of my favourite authors!)

It’s a funny little book, which actually made me literally LOL a few times, which very rarely happens. It’s about three guys – Matt, Paul and Daniel – who have reached their mid thirties without settling down. Their mothers, who all met through a book group when their boys were young- decide they need to intervene. They feel they don’t really know their sons as adults, they’ve lost touch with them and the way to get their relationships back on track is just to arrive for a surprise visit and stay for a week!

Now I have always been close to my mum but I know lots of men who would find this a disturbing state of affairs, so reading about how Paul, Daniel and Matt deal with it was amusing.

The book switches characters regularly, from each of the women to each of the men, and while I didn’t quite feel the individual characters’ voices coming through clearly I did get an idea of their personalities. However, I’m not really sure who this book is aimed at – women in their sixties (like the women in the book), men, women my age? Wasn’t really clear. I also felt the ending was very rushed – I was just settling in with the characters when the women returned home. Glad there was an ending of sorts but I would have liked to explore the individuals a little bit more.

that said, I did enjoy it and there were a fair few guffaw moments. It has also encouraged me to work my way through William Sutcliffe’s back catalogue!

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