Starting from Happy by Patricia Marx
A Novel

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Synopsis

While waiting in line for apple pie at a party, Imogene Gilfeather, a lingerie designer who does not understand the reason for romance, meets Wally Yez, a scientist whose business card says “An Answer for Everything.” Imogene is told that Wally is the perfect guy. (“Perfect,” she replies, “is not my type.”) He is told that her company, Featherware, manufactures intimates (that gets his attention). Unfazed by Imogene’s indifference (who needs love when you have a career, friends, and an undemanding affair with a married man?), Wally resolves to win her over. E-mails turn into late-night phone calls; one date turns into two and then into more. Thus begins the most absurd and amusingly unbalanced relationship to grace the pages of a novel.

Wally is certain he and Imogene are meant for each other (They both use mechanical pencils! Neither has had mumps! They are so alike!), but convincing his beloved is another matter. (“Do you know why it is I don’t have pierced ears?” she asks. “Because it’s too permanent.”) In defiance of the odds, or the gods, or perhaps just Imogene’s qualms, Wally and Imogene become a pair. They celebrate their anniversaries—the first time they touched each other on purpose, took public transportation together, saw the other with wet hair. But can they possibly end as happily as they’ve begun? (“Does he really have a cowlick? If yes, no bed will ever be big enough.”)

Made up of hundreds of chaplettes, clever illustrations, and darkly funny commentary on getting together and staying the course, Starting from Happy is a cunning and sophisticated send-up of coupledom that showcases one of the finest comic writers of our time.
 

About Patricia Marx

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Patricia Marxis a former writer forSaturday Night Livewhose work has appeared inThe New Yorker, Timemagazine, andThe New York Times,among other publications. The eirst woman elected to theHarvard Lampoon,she is the author of humor books (such asHow to Regain Your VirginityandYou Can Never Go Wrong by Lying)and children's books (such asNow Everybody Really Hates MeandMeet My Staƒƒ).She lives in New York City and can take a baked potato out of the oven with her bare hand.Please visit www.himherhimagain.com.
 
Published August 23, 2011 by Scribner. 258 pages
Genres: Humor & Entertainment, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Starting from Happy

Kirkus Reviews

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She blows off a series of dates, but Wally does not give up easily, and the two begin an odd phone relationship that eventually leads to actual dates followed by cohabitation.

Jul 01 2011 | Read Full Review of Starting from Happy: A Novel

The New York Times

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In this illustrated novel, a woman content to be alone meets her mate.

Aug 26 2011 | Read Full Review of Starting from Happy: A Novel

Publishers Weekly

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Domestic lit gets a stylish, sarcastic tweak in former SNL writer Marx's sort-of love story about a cranky New York lingerie designer and a geeky scientist (after Him Her Him Again The End of Him).

May 16 2011 | Read Full Review of Starting from Happy: A Novel

AV Club

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Self-aware books walk a thin line between breaking the fourth wall in a way that refreshes a familiar story, and becoming too invasive.

Aug 31 2011 | Read Full Review of Starting from Happy: A Novel

Review (Barnes & Noble)

Imogene's mother, who is introduced as a woman who "divides her time between being glad she brought a sweater and wishing she'd brought a sweater," has no wrinkles, "the result of her having committed early on to a life without smiling."

Aug 25 2011 | Read Full Review of Starting from Happy: A Novel

City Book Review

When Imogene meets Wally, she forgets his name immediately, perfectly content in her non-demanding current relationship with a married man.

Oct 28 2011 | Read Full Review of Starting from Happy: A Novel

Bookmarks Magazine

While waiting in line for apple pie at a party, Imogene Gilfeather, a lingerie designer who does not understand the reason for romance, meets Wally Yez, a scientist whose business card says “An Answer for Everything.” Imogene is told that Wally is the perfect guy.

Sep 08 2011 | Read Full Review of Starting from Happy: A Novel

Chicago Sun Times

Patricia Marx, an alumnus of the Harvard Lampoon and “Saturday Night Live,” is a very funny writer.

Aug 25 2011 | Read Full Review of Starting from Happy: A Novel

Reader Rating for Starting from Happy
57%

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