Alice Hartley's Happiness

Published in: 1992
Pages: 275
Edition read: Hardcover
Book description:

When Professor Charles Pringle does not react to his wife’s special birthday dance of the seven veils, Alice decides to leave him and moves in with an unsuspecting student, Michael. His aunt dies and leaves him her house, so the couple move in and convert it into a “growth centre”.

My review:
I expected something very different to what I ended up reading. From the cover alone, I expected period drama at the very least, but no. The period would be probably be 80’s to 90’s at a vague guess, so that was the first disappointment. The second was that there seemed to be no likeable characters in this story. Charles is an ass who undervalues his wife and is sleeping with a much younger student of his. Alice is nuts, she has no good ideas, no morals (as she just kills a cat because he annoys her), no sense of purpose, no sense of right and wrong. Michael is as naive as a character can be, he’s portrayed as being young (20, so not that young) and is so naive it’s a wonder the boy knows how to wipe his own ass without someone instructing him beforehand.

Basically, I didn’t really like this book. There’s a weird scene when, in their infinite wisdom, Alice decides that a woman in labour should give birth with dolphins, so her and a pack of naive young men and lonely housewives pack into a car, drive to the aquarium, strip naked, and hop into the dolphin tank. They help the lady give birth, in the dolphin tank, and then decide to set the dolphins free. Why? Because…. I have no explanation. No reasoning.

The only good thing about this book was Michael’s nuts elderly aunt who pretends to be dead for most of the book, and then steals a car at the end. Really, that’s about the highlight of the book. From what I can tell on Goodreads, people either love this book or hate it. I’m in the ‘hate it’ camp, this book was a pointless read. Unfortunately.

Final review:
Alice Hartley’s Happiness rating:
Would I re-read it? No
Who would I recommend it to? Erm. Well. It makes a nice paperweight.
If you are a fan of the author’s work, DO NOT READ THIS. The only thing I can compare this to was The Casual Vacancy, in that it’s something different from an author’s normal writing genre, and while some people love it, I really did not enjoy it in the slightest.