How to Be Happy by Eleanor Davis
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I liked this. It's a bit weird and different but, yeah, I liked it. A collection of short stories, drawings and sketches that centre on the things people do trying to make themselves happy. I found the main theme to be the difference between ideology and reality. A woman is telling a friend of her deep, dark, black hole of depression and the friend sympathises that she understands, she's been there, that is until she went Gluten-Free. Then in the last frame we see the depressed woman in the supermarket desperately holding a loaf of gluten-free bread. Another is futuristic where a sister lives in a dome, farming, growing organic fruits and vegetables. Then she returns home when her father is dying. Home is the city where people where environmental suits, her sister here can't afford to buy organic fruit. The dome-living sister is hit with the reality that the suffering still exists even when she doesn't see it in her way of life and her beliefs can't be upheld here. It does go deeper still. All the stories make one think this way. I'll say a few went over my head and not all are as depressing as the two I described. The sketches between the stories give a more uplifting pause. I'm not a big fan of Davis' art but it is bold and eye-catching, the palate is warm with reds, orange, browns and yellows which adds a different nuance to what the themes are saying; bringing the feel of life to melancholy stories. I like it but it is *very* different from her previous books for young children.
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