Happiness Sold Separately

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Overview

"The marriage of a seemingly perfect couple dissolves into a complicated dance of affairs, lovers, and admirers"--Provided by the publisher.
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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Elinor Mackey steadfastly followed the drill she had been taught. She got good grades; didn't miss a beat in college or law school; landed a lucrative corporate career; and got married. The next step, of course, is a child, but Elinor's perfect life peters out with the news that she and her husband can't have children. That tragedy is compounded when hubby Ted drifts into an affair with a local nutritionist, setting off a whole new series of unplanned explosions. Lolly Winston's novel captures a family train wreck in stop-action.
Wendy Smith
Lolly Winston's warmhearted second novel is a natural crowd-pleaser that deserves critical respect as well. She tackles difficult subjects -- infidelity, infertility, a failing marriage and a troubled kid -- with honesty and empathy for her floundering protagonists. Her plain-spoken prose and a not-too-gritty resolution should make this a book-group favorite. But Winston doesn't court popular appeal with easy laughs or shallow reassurances; her characters feel genuine sorrow and suffer real damage.
— The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly
The marriage of Ted and Elinor Mackey, a yuppie podiatrist-lawyer couple in their early-40s living in Northern California, is pushed to the brink when Elinor learns that Ted is having an affair with his trainer, Gina Ellison. Elinor's reaction-pity-surprises her. Winston (Good Grief) adroitly makes it clear that Ted's affair is a symptom: infertility problems have caused years of emotional turmoil. And Gina's no bimbo: she has a loving but difficult relationship with Ted, complicated further by her young son, Toby, and his immediate attachment to Ted as a stable father figure. When Elinor confronts Ted and Gina, Ted quickly ends the affair; neither is sure if infidelity or infertility should end their marriage. During their separation, Elinor takes a sabbatical from her law firm and casually dates Noah Orch, a hunky but dull arborist. Ted haphazardly resumes his relationship with Gina. As he realizes that his connection to her is more than an escape from a bad marriage, all concerned have decisions to make. Winston has a real feel for the push and pull of a marriage in crisis, and delivers it in a brisk, funny, no-nonsense style that still comes off as respectful of the material. (Aug.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal

At the beginning of the story, the listener is prepared for another saga of quirky but charming troubles in the lives of a successful professional couple who seem to have made all the right choices for a nearly perfect life. This couple's troubles are not charming at all, as it turns out, but overwhelming and truly heartbreaking. Elinor, nearing 40 and unable to have a baby, and her husband, Ted, have become entangled in the fertility treatment machine that includes temperature-taking, long waits in clinics, consultations, and hope held out and then dashed. Ted is especially perplexed by this frustrating, fruitless process but willing to lend his support to help his wife with her dreams. At his gym, Ted falls for a beautiful but complicated young woman with a long history of falling for the wrong guy at the wrong time. She has a geeky, needy eight-year-old son who latches onto Ted when he offers his services as a tutor. Winston, skilled at revealing layers of conflicting, strong emotion and behavior, is definitely a writer to watch. Performer Melinda Wade has the perfect crystal-clear voice for the various characters; highly recommended for public libraries.
—Barbara Valle

Kirkus Reviews
A deceptively breezy, thoughtful look at the emotional complexities of a childless suburban California marriage. Lawyer Elinor Mackey's discovery that husband Ted, a podiatrist, is having an affair with his gym trainer, Gina, just scratches the surface of troublesome issues in the Mackeys' relationship. Forty-year-old Elinor has been trying to have a baby, enduring exhausting hormone injections and a miscarriage; Ted has stood by her stoically, even tenderly, though their sex life is shot. Immersed in her work as a top-notch international employee-relations lawyer in Silicon Valley, Elinor is addicted to writing lists and sorting the laundry, leaving little room for romance or even dinner with her husband. Ted wonders why she's no fun anymore and readily succumbs to Gina's seduction. Winston doesn't wrestle much with the moral questions raised by a middle-aged man falling for his trainer, nor does she offer any facile condemnation of one party or the other, delighting instead in complicating the plot at every turn. Just as the Mackeys separate and seem to be making headway in therapy, Gina's emotionally needy ten-year-old son Toby (and who knew she had a son?) decides that Ted is going to be the father figure in his life. Ted begins to tutor Toby, perhaps out of guilt, and then starts sleeping with Gina again. She remains wary, having been damaged and left vulnerable by various men in her life. Ted's initial feeling for her morphs from pity into (possibly) real love, while Elinor, more emotionally detached, attracts the local tree surgeon as well as the young man who comes to clean her house. And yet Ted loves El and only wants to be with her (doesn't he?). Pregnancy-at last!-cannot savethis doomed marriage, as Elinor laments, "It's not about having a baby, it's about having a family." The author allows her characters to seethe, stumble and emerge fully human. Winston (Good Grief, 2004) skillfully comes into her own with this brave second novel.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780446533065
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
  • Publication date: 8/8/2006
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 5.60 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Lolly Winston

LOLLY WINSTON lives in Northern California.

Biography

With stints in journalism and public relations, plus an M.F.A. in fiction writing from Sarah Lawrence College, Lolly Winston was an experienced writer before she penned her first novel. Still, her initial goal wasn't to write a bestseller -- it was just to finish the manuscript. "Really, I just had the personal goal of finishing a novel before I turned forty," said Winston in an interview on her publisher's Web site. "Even if it was collecting dust in a drawer somewhere when I was on my death bed, I just wanted it to be finished."

The year before she turned forty, Winston took a hiatus from her other writing to complete Good Grief, the wry and touching story of a young woman coping with the death of her husband. Far from collecting dust in a drawer, Winston's novel flew off the shelves. It was chosen as a No. 1 Booksense pick and received a starred review in Publishers Weekly, where the reviewer wrote: "Throughout this heartbreaking, gorgeous look at loss, Winston imbues her heroine and her narrative with the kind of grace, bitter humor and rapier-sharp realness that will dig deep into a reader's heart and refuse to let go."

Good Grief renders the mourning process with such intimacy and accuracy that readers may wonder whether Winston herself is a widow. She isn't, but she did lose both her parents while she was still a young woman. "My father died when I was 29 and four years later my mother died," she explained on her publisher's Web site. "The day that my dad died I went out and bought a bathmat and a new lamp. Grief didn't hit me for a while. I even found myself resenting the mourners at our house. How could they accept his death so readily? I found grief like charging something on a credit card -- you pay later, with interest. Months after my father's death I started breaking down. I remember sitting at my desk at work one day, unable to pick up my pencil."

After her depression began to subside, Winston realized she wanted to write about what grief was really like -- including "the messy, quirky aspects of grief." Accordingly, the heroine of Good Grief sleeps in her late husband's shirts, eats Oreos by the package and drives her car through the closed garage door. She also struggles to keep living and moving forward, even though she can't at first imagine what her future will be like.

The result is a blend of pathos and humor that rings true for many readers. "Refreshingly, Winston has removed the sap factor that often makes these tales of lost love as gooey as Vermont maple syrup or as saccharine as an artificially sweetened Nicholas Sparks novel," noted a reviewer for USA Today.

In an essay on her publisher's Web site, Winston writes about "finding the comedy in tragedy":

"I've always loved novels that are funny and sad at the same time. The Bell Jar, Lolita. If you go back and re-read those books, you rediscover their humor with surprise. Suicidal depression, funny? Pedophilia, funny? Somehow, yes. This seems to be where poignancy comes from -- in finding the irony and humor in the worst things that happen to us in life."

Good To Know

Some interesting outtakes from our interview with Winston:

"My first job out of college, with a major in English, was as a breakfast cook at a Sheraton in Durham, North Carolina. You don't ever want to get burned with hot grits."

"I was the world's worst waitress -- I spilled entrees, broke corks, mixed up orders. I was demoted, and that's how I wound up working in the kitchen and working various cooking jobs throughout college and grad school. This is an autobiographical part of Good Grief."

"When I was in my early 20s, I went to Hawaii for eight days and stayed for eight years. I learned to boogie board and dance the hula and barbecue in the wind without using any lighter fluid. My 20s were basically one long summer. Then I had to come home from camp and grow up and face the real world."

"My three cats are my writing companions. I cut and file my cats' nails, brush their teeth, and write songs for them. ‘Life's not too shi#*^, when you're a kitty!' I'm embarrassed to admit that I've become a crazy cat lady."

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    1. Hometown:
      Northern California
    1. Date of Birth:
      November 15, 1961
    2. Place of Birth:
      Hartford, Connecticut
    1. Education:
      Simon’s Rock Early College, 1977-79; B.A., Bard College, 1981; M.F.A., Sarah Lawrence College, 1987
    2. Website:

Read an Excerpt

Happiness Sold Separately


By Lolly Winston

WARNER BOOKS

Copyright © 2006 Lolly Winston
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0-446-53306-8


Chapter One

Elinor Mackey is cleaning out her purse, trying to lighten her load, wondering how a broken sprinkler head wound up among the contents, when she first learns that her husband, Ted, is having an affair.

As she putters in the warmth of her dimly lit laundry room, she tries to gather the energy to sort more than a hundred work e-mails on her laptop. (Russian Teens with Tiny Tits! are stuck in her spam filter. Should she let them out? Do men consider this a good thing?) Maybe she'll make spanakopita for her book-club potluck. Yes, everyone should make Greek dishes, since they're reading The Iliad. Lately, Elinor's brain wanders like this-like the hand of a child who can't color within the lines, jerking across the page, making the trees blue and the sky brown. She squeezes the sprinkler head, remembering that she had planned on taking it to the hardware store to buy a replacement. This is a trick her father taught her: Take the broken part along, and usually a clerk will help you find a new one and explain how to fix the thing. Elinor picks up the phone to call her friend Kat to tell her about the Greek dinner. Then she hears Ted's voice on the line.

"Gina, Gina," Ted whispers. Elinor holds her breath. She looks up at theboxes of Bold and Cheer on a shelf above the washer.

"I miss you," whoever this Gina is says softly. Elinor drops the sprinkler head on the floor, stands up, turns off the dryer. Ted? An affair?

"What's that noise?" Ted asks. "I don't hear anything," Gina says.

Or maybe someone's borrowing the phone? It could be that weird phenomenon where you accidentally break in on a stranger's phone conversation. This happened to Elinor once. She started dialing, and the next thing she knew she was listening in on what sounded like a student bargaining with his teacher for a better grade.

"We can't see each other so often," Ted says. It is definitely Ted, talking to a sniffly Gina. Ted, who hates parties and meeting new people! Ted, who sleeps in torn flannel pajama bottoms that have cowboys and Indians on them.

Elinor exhales, tilting her mouth away from the phone, as though blowing out smoke.

"We should talk about this in person, tonight," Gina says. "I get off at six. I want to cook for you." She moans the word cook as though it's a lascivious act.

"Okay," Ted concedes. Elinor swears she hears dread in his voice. An affair. Elinor waits for jealousy to enrage her. Instead she feels pity. For Ted, for their marriage. And fatigue. It creeps up her spine, pushing her head forward.

She hugs her empty purse to her chest. The contents are spread across the dryer. In college, she carried a bag large enough to smuggle a six-pack into a rock concert. Now her big purse holds an expensive leather wallet bulging with charge cards and receipts, a Palm Pilot, reading glasses, a cellular phone, migraine medication, a tube of under-eye concealer touted as "forgiveness in a bottle," and a huge ring of keys, some of them mysterious.

Ted and Gina hang up. Elinor presses the phone to her sternum. Ted, an affair. Their marriage, unraveling.

Run and tell him you need to talk, she tells herself. Then schedule a session with the marriage counselor. This is the calm, take-care-of-business sensibility that carried Elinor through college, law school, and fifteen years as an employee relations attorney at various high-tech companies in Silicon Valley. But lately this competence has been replaced by an overwhelming urge to lie down. By an exhaustion that lingers in her bones like a flu.

The malaise seemed to come on after she and Ted stopped trying to have children. They tried for a year on their own with no luck, then succumbed to two years of tests and treatments, including three intrauterine inseminations and two in-vitro fertilizations. Elinor got pregnant once, but she miscarried early on. Still, this gave them the hope to continue. She longed for two boys-she loves boys. Instead she wound up with a diagnosis of "unexplained infertility"-probably due to her age, the doctor explained-twenty extra pounds, and hormone insanity. By the time her fortieth birthday rolled around, she felt like a malfunctioning farm animal that needed to be put down.

"Mind if I go to a testosterone flick?" Ted shouts down the hall, startling Elinor. She realizes she's just standing there, dumbfounded, holding up a stray sock.

"Uh," she says. Sometimes she and Ted go to the movies separately. She likes art-house movies and period films, while Ted prefers shoot-'em-ups. Confront him about the affair! The sock trembles in her hand.

"You there?" There's worry in Ted's voice. "A movie!" Elinor shouts back to him. "Sure. Have fun!" She sounds too enthusiastic, overly cheerful. "Wait," she says more softly. She hears Ted's footsteps as he ambles down the hall and through the kitchen. The garage door rumbles and creaks. Do something! She drops the sock and runs down the hallway. Follow him. Heading for the garage, she remembers that her car is in the shop. She turns and crashes through the back patio doors and between the bushes to her neighbor friend Kat's house to borrow her minivan.

"I'll explain later," she pants, grabbing the keys from Kat. "You're barefoot." Kat peers out from under a baseball cap pulled over her short black hair and points to Elinor's feet. Elinor appreciates the lack of judgment in her voice as she states this simple fact. Kat is the least judgmental person she knows.

Elinor catches up with Ted at the stop sign at the end of their street. She snatches Kat's sunglasses from the visor and ducks behind the steering wheel. The car is stuffy with August heat, and she punches on the air-conditioning. The Lion King plays on a little TV screen in the back of the van. Elinor can't figure out how to shut the damn thing off. "It's gonna be King Simba's finest fling!" the animals cheer as she jabs at the buttons.

Ted surprises her, turning into the parking lot of their gym. Elinor makes the turn too suddenly, thumping over the curb. A woman waiting on the sidewalk out front waves to Ted. Elinor recognizes her from her own infrequent trips to the club. The woman works there, as a trainer. She's in her early thirties, slim and fit, with long, light brown hair down to her ass-an ass that Elinor envies, small, hard, and round, like an apple. Sometimes the girl wears a coaster size pin on her tight black T-shirt that says ASK ME ABOUT THE ZONE! Elinor pulls to the back of the lot and watches the trainer climb into Ted's car, tossing her gym bag in back.

Elinor follows them onto the freeway ramp heading south. They turn off a few exits down, then wind through an unfamiliar neighborhood. Ted pulls into a Healthy Oats grocery store and parks. The woman-Gina, this must be Gina-jumps out and does a little leap, as though she's been taken to Tiffany's. As she squeezes Ted's hand in hers, he looks around furtively. Ted! Holding hands with your fling in broad daylight? Ted pulls his hand away, but Gina doesn't seem to notice. She bumps up against him as they head into the store. Elinor turns off the minivan and waits. There's a Healthy Oats in her neighborhood, too, but Elinor's only been there a few times, buying chalky protein shakes and balking at the produce prices. Maybe this would explain the flax. About a week ago, when she was fishing for an umbrella, Elinor found a one-pound bag of pungent grain in the backseat of Ted's car. It was from the health food store where they rarely shopped. Upon closer examination, Elinor saw that the mixture was tiny, honey-colored seeds, shiny and slippery through the plastic. Another bag was filled with a fine golden powder. WHOLE GROUND FLAXSEED MEAL.

"What're these for?" she asked Ted, setting the bags on the kitchen counter.

When Ted turned from the sink and saw the bags, he flinched with surprise. His face flushed red.

"It's flax," he stuttered. "Okay." Elinor laughed. "Didn't mean to pry." Sheesh. He'd reacted as though the bags were porn or cigarettes.

Ted launched into an unnecessarily long explanation of how flaxseeds and flaxseed meal were the healthiest way to get your grains. Flax was rich in fiber, omega-3 fats, and lignans, whatever those were. That's what Dr. Edmunds had said. If you were going to eat carbohydrates, they needed to be complex.

"That sounds good," Elinor replied. "When did you see Dr. E?" Again, she didn't mean to launch a flax inquisition; she was just trying to talk to her husband. They talked so little lately.

"Last week," Ted said. "While you were at the conference in Monterey?" A podiatrist, Ted had spent all of the previous week at a conference with his podiatry colleagues. But Dr. Edmunds was a GP.

"On the golf course."

Ted hated golf. Usually he managed to get out of it at conferences. Still, maybe he'd started playing again-and eating flax. "I'll make you some flax pancakes," Ted offered, finally turning off the water and drying his hands.

"Okay," Elinor said. "Flax jacks." Her head hurt. Now the relentless honking of a car alarm makes Elinor want to drive Kat's minivan through the serene pyramid of apples and strawberries just outside the store. Call the marriage counselor, she thinks, and schedule an appointment for tomorrow. But her cell phone's at home, with her wallet and shoes. She likes the cocoon of the counselor's sunny office, the Oriental carpets, the shelves of books, the dust motes floating lazily through the air. When she and Ted discussed how infertility had ruined their sex life, the counselor- Dr. Brewster-nodded sympathetically and insisted this was common. When Ted lamented how the treatments made Elinor angry and distant, Dr. Brewster explained that the hormones caused these mood changes. Elinor couldn't help it.

During those early months of procedures and doctor's appointments, Elinor had managed to fight off the hormone horrors. She practiced yoga and visualization, took watercolor classes. She imagined OshKosh overalls and tiny cowboy boots. The lab evaluated the quality of their two embryos during the first in vitro and gave them a grade A, the best you can hope for. Elinor wanted a bumper sticker: MY EMBRYOS ARE GRADE A AT STANFORD HOSPITAL! But that cycle didn't work.

"Something's wrong with me," Elinor insisted. "It's not your fault," Ted replied, taking her into his arms. "I love you. Let's take a break from all this. Let's go to Paris."

Elinor pushed him away. "Non, merci," she said glumly. During the second in vitro, somewhere around the twentieth injection Ted gave Elinor, the hormones engulfed her. She slammed doors and snapped at him. Everything was his fault. Raining? Flat tire? Tedious meeting at work? Chalk it up to Ted.

One morning Elinor tried to smash a home pregnancy test stick with a hammer, a task that's impossible, it turns out. She whispered to the stick, Just give me the second. Pink. Line. Setting the stick on a paper towel, she washed her hands, then closed her eyes. She opened them. Nothing. Then she flew to the utility room, yanked the hammer out of the toolbox, returned to the bathroom, and smashed the stick. Or tried to. One swift hit did nothing. The second blow chipped the sink, but barely dented the stick. She became a whirling storm of rage and sobs and repeated strikes with the hammer. Her face burned, and she saw a silvery strand of drool hanging from her mouth. Finally, she collapsed on the floor cross-legged, cradling the hammer. Ted pushed open the door. He gaped at Elinor on the floor as though she were a stranger on the street you'd definitely want to steer clear of. She'd never felt so unattractive. It was then that the fatigue draped her, as heavy as an X-ray smock.

The marriage counselor encouraged Ted and Elinor to take a break from the treatments: go on vacation, go out to dinner, get massages. They were supposed to take a break together, but Elinor has really been taking a break on her own, recoiling from Ted, retreating from the fury, into the laundry room. It's comforting to wash and fold clothes-a task that's easy to complete. She runs small, unnecessary loads, just to be lulled by the sound of the dryer. She especially likes the clinking of buttons and zippers-a metal-against-metal metronome that brings calm as she stares into the blue screen of her laptop, never actually doing any work. As her energy has waned, she's quit separating loads by color. Now all of their clothes are a purplish gray reminiscent of bad weather. Ted doesn't seem to notice. He's always grateful, never picky. "Let me help you," he'll insist whenever he finds Elinor in the laundry room. "You shouldn't be doing this."

"Why not?" Elinor will ask defensively. How did she get to a place where it's weird to wash her own underwear?

Ted brings flowers, fixes pots of homemade soup. Elinor doesn't thank him enough. Their sex life has faded to nil. Sex only leads to disappointment. Elinor obsessively does the laundry and reads novels, burrowing back into the comforting familiarity of the classics she read in college-Anna Karenina, The Age of Innocence. Meanwhile Ted obsessively works out at the gym. Or so Elinor has thought.

What's taking Ted and Gina-from-the-Gym so long? Are they in there kissing by the bulgur bin? SUVs clog the store parking lot, everyone shopping for dinner. Elinor's not sure what she'll do when they come out of the store. She tries to muster rage. Anorexic juicehead bitch!

Finally, Ted and Gina emerge, each hugging a bag of groceries. Paper, not plastic. For the first time, Elinor sees how much weight Ted has lost. He mentioned the fifteen pounds before, but now she notices how his pants hang at his waist. Her husband is aging-highschool-football-star handsome-stocky, with a broad chest, sloped shoulders, boyish face, endearing crow's-feet. Gina smiles up at Ted and blows a strand of light brown hair from her face. Elinor realizes that she has not let go of the steering wheel the whole time these two were in the store. She grips it as though turning into a sharp curve. Gina's black leggings outline firm calves and a circle of tanned skin above her white ankle socks. Elinor reaches in for the anger, tries to coax it. Hey, Sandy Duncan! Put some fucking pants on! For a moment she imagines a public scene, Ted's worst nightmare. Anything to avoid a scene. Ted, you jackass! she could scream across the parking lot. But that would only bring them both humiliation.

Elinor follows Ted and Gina through the winding streets of a strange neighborhood. Ted seems familiar with the route. He and Gina don't appear to talk on the way. She gazes out her window and Ted looks straight ahead, never checking his rearview mirror. Elinor manages to mute The Lion King, but the animals flicker on the back windows of the minivan. "Did I mention that I'm mortified by this car?" Kat, a stay-at-home mom, asks Elinor on a daily basis. The two became fast friends when they discovered that they share a dry sense of humor, and they're both former English majors who partied a little too much in college. Elinor thinks of Kat as her road not taken-the mother of three boys who love to play touch football with her in the front yard. Kat says Elinor is her road not taken-a successful lawyer whose husband beams when he talks about how good Elinor is at her job. Of course, most of their friends pull off both the well-paying career and the terrific kids. But Kat and Elinor have confessed to each other that they've never felt capable of both.

Finally, Ted pulls into a town-house complex. Elinor wonders what to do next. Until recently, she's been an ace problem solver-settling compensation disputes, fending off litigation, handling difficult employees. One employee who hadn't been taking his meds insisted that the CFO was talking to him through his car radio. Another woman tried to claim her wedding cake in her expense report. Now Elinor wants an easy solution to the Gina Problem. She imagines busting out a whiteboard in their living room at home, Ted sitting before her on the sofa. Gina, she'd write on the whiteboard, breathing in the chemical smell of the erasable marker. Then she'd draw an X through the name.

She drives past Ted and Gina as they park, observes which unit they hurry into, then pulls into visitor parking. The gravel walkway is cold and sharp under her bare feet. The whips of a sprinkler sting her calves as she makes her way between buildings to Gina's backyard.

Hunkering behind a low row of newly planted poplars, she peers out over the deck and through the sliding-glass doors, hoping Gina won't draw the curtains. The condo is a split-level deal with a combination kitchen/living room/dining room on the first floor. Ted sits at the kitchen table, drumming his fingers. Gina bounces down the stairs in a short kimono robe, wet hair slicked back. No makeup, no blow dryer necessary. Long sleek legs. Elinor runs a hand over the pooch of her belly.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from Happiness Sold Separately by Lolly Winston Copyright © 2006 by Lolly Winston. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 43 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(9)

4 Star

(13)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 43 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 17, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    still unsure, but i couldnt stop reading....

    This book wasnt my favorite book in the world but for some reason I couldnt put it down, I just wanted to find out what happened. There was always something interesting going on to grab my attention and if your going through a crap marraige or your husband cheated on you then this is a good book to read!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 19, 2010

    Not great

    I loved the beginning. I found the main character very witty. The depictions of pain were so vivid. But then I was disappointed. Yes, I wanted to know what was going to happen but it was so sad throughout and there were actions that left me wondering if adults would really take.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 17, 2009

    Good book

    First time choosing book by Lolly Winston. Was a nice audio book to listen to-not one of my favorites though

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 28, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Could Have Picked a Better Book.

    I love Lolly Winston's writing style, but I found this book useless banter back and forth between descisions. I thought this was a really sad book, and I believe it could lead people in a direction that they do not want to take with their life.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 5, 2006

    People Watching in Silicon Valley

    This book was, very much like her first one 'Good Grief,' a page turner. I can go on and on about how Ms Winston works life's most intimate details into her charaters and fleshes them out till you actually believe these charaters are absolutely living and breating, but I will not waste your time with that. Instead, I will simply say that 'Happiness Sold Separately' is one of the best character studies that i have read in some time. This was a very good and interesting book, if you have some time on your hands then curl up and read away. You will not be disappointed.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 22, 2014

    So depressing!

    *****SPOILERS*****SPOILERS*****SPOILERS*****SPOILERS*****SPOILERS*****

    I don't even know where to start with this book. The entire things is depressing, and what's worse, it ends in the most peculiar way. The main characters, Gina, Ted, and Elinor are in a love triangle. Ted and Elinor have been married for years and have been trying to have children for years without success. Ted has an affair with Gina, his nutritionist at the gym, which leads to something more than just the usual fling. He ends up falling in love with Gina and her ten-years-old son, who is fatherless. Ted still loves Elinor and Gina. In the end, nothing was resolved with either of these characters. The book takes you through a whirlwind of emotions, especially with Elinor and her infertility treatments, and all the while I'm reading hoping for some good to come out from all this, at least a small one, and at the very end, the author decided to leave everything unresolved and leaving me clueless as the why I read this book in the first place. It took me a while to finish mainly because it was so depressing. Not even a hint of humor. At one point I thought the couple would just end up going their separate ways and call it quits to find their own happy endings. I was wrong. This is my first book by this author and sadly my last.

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  • Posted October 12, 2011

    Okay book. Not my favorite.

    The author does a great job of making you feel the main charcter's trials and tribultions. The storyline felt a little drawn out. Great example of how some things happen for a reason.

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  • Posted August 28, 2011

    Would unabridged audio book have been better?

    I think not. Ms. Winston's style had such promise. Both of the central female characters were good people - unusual. This was too much of a go-right-to-TV-screenplay formula to hold my interest. The reason that I finished listening tho the audio book was because I was on a long trip and had no radio signal, nor other audio book available. I'll be looking for it on Lifetime.

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  • Posted July 26, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    My first book by Lolly Winston.

    I like this book except for a few things.First of all,if you know the person who you are training and a client is married.Why would you want to involve yourself.Why bother?You shouldn't be dating your client.Just stick with being his trainer.Not at ALL!PERIOD!Conflict of interest.I'm glad that Ted's wife found out about his affair.She had every right what she did.She invited the mistress over and pretending to be a potential future client.Gina the mistress had no idea that it was Ted's wife.The look on Ted's face and Gina's face when he went to answer the door.He shouldn't have been cheating on his wife.Gina should have stopped seeing Ted.But she continued to flirt with Ted at the gym by putting his finger in her mouth and sucking on it.Plust wearing these skimpy outfits and grinding on Ted's groin.He enjoyed it and he felt himself get harder and harder.No matter what,he and his wife should have been able to work things out.He and Gina cont. to see each other.He finds out she has a son.Her son Toby likes Ted.Toby wants Ted to marry Gina.He bought Toby a matchbox car and a videogame.She says she enjoys having sex with him but she doesn't want her son to get hurt by Ted.Why is he buying his mistress's son gifts,when he's trying to reconcile his wife?What's wrong with Ted?Elinor had every right to get mad at Ted b/c Toby called the house.Ted moved out.He still saw Gina and her son Toby.He should have been honest with his wife from the beginning.Before things got out of hand and the he had this affair.This mistress of his can't seem to get enought of the Married man.Ted seems that he can't get enough of his Mistress Gina.He wants them both.They go to marriage counsceling.When you take your Vows,you should respect them.They are sacred and you said them in the eyes of the Lord.He hangs with Gina and Toby.When Toby is asleep,the two has sex and Ted leaves before Toby awakens.Gina dates other men but all she thinks of is Ted.A miracle happened,Elinor got pregnant.Ted moves back in and he's a different person.He tells Toby to stop calling b/c his wife isn't feeling well and he doesn't want to stress his wife.Elinor miscarried-again.Gina wants to find a male figure for her son to look up to.She picked Ted.She's in search of a Tutor since Ted left to go back to his wife.He stopped being Toby's tutor.She's meeting Elinor's cleaning guy,Roger as a Tutor.Her son is very smart.He thinks that all the guys she brings home are boyfriends.The men in Gina's life hasn't been the best.Barry the concert promoter,buys her expensive gifts.Shane who is in a band,has a problem with drugs and alcohol.She only thinks of Ted.Ted is married and she doesn't seem to care.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 27, 2009

    Love this author!

    Great book that completely draws you in and you are sad when the story is over. I want to know more!

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  • Posted December 23, 2008

    Great Book, Great Author

    I had read Good Grief and was excited to read this book as well. There was no disappointment as this book has a little bit of everything-humor, drama, sadness, etc. I would recommend reading this book to anyone who is a chick lit fan and wants a good read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 14, 2008

    Disappointing

    I was very disappointed in this one. It starts out very well, fast paced and then it just gets bogged down. I never liked any of the characters--I thought the whole thing was incredibly whiny. I loved Good Grief. I hope her next one is better.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 18, 2008

    First Read of this Author

    This book was on the bargain table and looked interesting. While it is chick lit, it tells a beautiful story of relationships, loss and finding happiness in yourself rather than others. The characters are all quite unique and the story line compelling-read it in a day. Can't wait to buy her first book 'Good Grief' and read it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 12, 2008

    Beautifully written

    I loved this book! I love how Winston is not afraid to take on real tragedy. She has a gift and I can't wait for her next book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 31, 2007

    Good Grief was way better

    I really liked Good Grief, so gave this one a shot. What happens when you and your husband can't conceive and then, to cap it all, you find out he's cheating on you with a buff, cheerful, single-mother, fitness-instructor? Elinor Mackey tackles her situation with humor, a bit of weirdness (like becoming really attached to an ancient tree in her front yard and naming him Warren), and an affair of her own... with the tree surgeon. Starts out good... This did not live up to Good Grief, although I do like Winston's style of humor and wackiness. Some language.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 8, 2007

    Could not put this book down!

    Happiness sold seperately...like Good Grief...is a very 'real life' book. It's impossible not to relate and love each of the characters. I read this book in 1 day and wish that it never ended!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 14, 2007

    believeable

    I really enjoyed this second novel by Lolly Winston as I did her first. All the characters are believeable and likable. Shane being the exception, but I found myself feeling sorry for him. I even liked the 'other woman' and wanted her to find happiness as well as Elinor. Having personally gone through infertility troubles in the past, I really connected w/the Mackeys. We have since been blessed w/a beautiful son. But reading this book really took me back to those days of hoping, wishing,praying and heartaches. I am hoping w/the way Ms Winston ended this book, that a series may be in the works? I would love to see how and where these characters move on from here.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 3, 2007

    Started off great but ended lame

    I was pretty dissapointed with this book. It started off really funny and was honestly emotional and heart warming. I really was into this book at first, reading it in almost 2 days but then towards the end it got boring and weird. I felt like it could have been such a great story had it had a better ending. Toby was hilarious and Gina was just annoying. Sorry Lolly, better luck next time.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 9, 2007

    A reviewer

    i was really disappointed in this book. i read Good Grief and absolutely LOVED it! this book just simply did not compare. she developed too many characters 'with extreme depth' that didnt have very important roles in the overall story line. it ended up just being confusing and honestly a waste of time. i was bored after the first half and had trouble getting through the rest of the book desperately hoping the end would make it all worth it... unfortunately that was not the case. it just seemed rushed, and wandering, and like the author wasnt sure how to end the book or where to go next.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 12, 2007

    EMOTiONAL AND AWESOME

    I loved this book. The details are great and she puts so much into her charachers.

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