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July 8, 2009

Book Club: I'm So Happy For You

Toxic friendships are the focus when the MC Book Club takes on Lucinda Rosenfeld's I'm So Happy for You. Worth the extra weight in your weekend bag? Read on ...

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im so happy for you book club

THE LINEUP: FRom left, MC staffers Yael Kohen, Sarah Z. Wexler, Kristin Fitzpatrick, and Jihan Thompson.

Photo Credit: Mackenzie Stroh

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THE PLOT: Wendy Murman can tolerate her beautiful best friend, Daphne Uberoff, as long as Daphne's single and jobless and providing gossip-worthy diversions—including an affair with a married man and the occasional suicide threat. But now that Daphne seems to have her life together (she gets married, then pregnant!), will Wendy, who has an unfulfilling job, supports her lazy husband, and is desperate for her own baby, revel in her friend's good fortune? Not so much. The scariest part: You can probably relate.

JIHAN (EDITORIAL ASSISTANT): I really liked this book. I know people like Wendy who are envious of everyone else, and then others like Daphne who are really needy. And who hasn't been that woman who doesn't want to be left behind?

KRISTIN (DESIGN DIRECTOR): And we all know someone like their friend Maura, who doesn't have a job but is always stressed out and constantly canceling plans.

YAEL (ASSOCIATE EDITOR): But it was frustrating! That Wendy couldn't get over her own envy, that for 200 pages she whined about everything she didn't have--money, a brownstone, a baby—made me want to strangle her. And if she couldn't stand listening to Daphne talk about her man troubles when she called at 2 a.m., then she shouldn't have answered the phone!

SARAH (ASSISTANT EDITOR): Well, Wendy was that friend who wanted to feel needed, which worked well for her until Daphne got her act together—that's when Wendy started actively hating her.

YAEL: See, I could appreciate the takedown of that Sex and the City friends-first model of relationships, which I find annoyingly unrealistic. Sometimes I wondered why these women bothered with each other.

KRISTIN: Well, I think we've all stayed friends with people who made us feel bad. Then over time you weed them out. By my mid-30s, I had figured out who I wanted around me, and now I have five or six friends who I'd walk through fire for, and they'd do the same for me. It seems that Wendy is just a late bloomer.

SARAH: The only character I liked—and I think just out of sympathy—was Wendy's husband. He's thrown in his lot with someone who's intent on being miserable.

KRISTIN: Oh, I didn't like him at all. He was a wet noodle. He just suffered in silence instead of actually saying something like, "I'm not sure I'm ready to have a kid."

JIHAN: And in defense of Wendy, I could understand why she would resent him. He quit his job to write a screenplay, but all he does is sit around smoking pot.

YAEL: What really puzzled me was all her complaining about not getting pregnant. You just want to say to her, "Why don't you actually try having sex with your husband?"

KRISTIN: But did she even really want a baby? Or was it just that everyone else was having kids and she's trying to keep up?

SARAH: Right. Whenever we saw her interact with babies, she was like, "That one's annoying, that one's crying, that one's not cute." I didn't want her to get pregnant!

SHOULD YOU READ IT?
YAEL: YES
SARAH: NO
KRISTIN: YES
JIHAN: YES


COME TO OUR LIVE BOOK CLUB EVENT! Live in the area, or planning a visit? Join us with special guest author Lucinda Rosenfeld on August 13 at McNally Jackson Books in New York City. For more info, go to marieclaire.com/livebookclub. To RSVP, e-mail us at mcbookclub@hearst.com.

NEXT MONTH: Supreme Courtship by Christopher Buckley (Twelve)

To read our full conversation and add your thoughts, visit marieclaire.com/bookclub


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