Whatever Makes You Happy by William Sutcliffe
A Novel

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Can three mothers save their shiftless sons from themselves—in just one week?

Gillian, Helen, and Carol are three suburban mothers who have known each other since their respective sons were babies, and have met in a regular coffee group for years. These days, their sons are a bunch of thirty-four-year-old layabouts: they have no wives and no children, never call, and seem unlikely to outgrow their post-adolescent lifestyles anytime soon. After yet another fruitless Mother’s Day, Carol has an outlandish but irresistible idea: each woman will go drop in on her son for an unexpected weeklong visit and find out what’s really keeping him from responsible adult life.

What they encounter is Matt, an editor for a men’s magazine called BALLS!, whose interests center on videogames and bedding underage models; Paul, who lives in a gay commune (at least that’s his mother’s take on it) and has secretly fathered a child with a lesbian couple; and Daniel, who has run away to Edinburgh to mope after breaking up with the love of his life out of sheer stubbornness. Together, and with mixed success, the mothers set out to whip their sons into shape.  Hugely amusing and yet also remarkably insightful about family life, Whatever Makes You Happy will strike close to home for all the parents who yearn for a closer relationship with their adult children, and for the younger generation who might seem to want the opposite, yet can never quite relinquish the hope that their parents will swoop in and set things right.

About William Sutcliffe

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William Sutcliffe was born in 1971 in London. He is the author of the novels Are You Experienced, The Love Hexagon, New Boy, and Bad Influence. He lives in Edinburgh with his wife, the novelist Maggie O’Farrell, and their son.
Published April 14, 2009 by Bloomsbury USA. 292 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Whatever Makes You Happy

The Guardian

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Whatever Makes You Happy by William Sutcliffe 296pp, Bloomsbury, £10.99 In a string of comic novels about middle-class life, William Sutcliffe has followed the progress of his generation as they cope with the ordinary problems of everyday life.

May 10 2008 | Read Full Review of Whatever Makes You Happy: A N...

Entertainment Weekly

In Whatever Makes You Happy, three British mothers conspire to crash the flats of their 34-year-old sons, each of whom has been ignoring his mum and, worse, failing to couple up and provide grandkids.

Mar 28 2008 | Read Full Review of Whatever Makes You Happy: A N...

The Bookbag

While not the best book in the world, it is certainly a good read, an easy book to get into and one which can be thought-provoking and insightful.

Oct 13 2012 | Read Full Review of Whatever Makes You Happy: A N...

The Jewish Chronicle

Unfortunately, the premise — three mothers landing on their grown-up sons’ doorsteps, hoping to sort out their messed-up love lives in a week — just doesn’t convince.

May 08 2008 | Read Full Review of Whatever Makes You Happy: A N...

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