Wendy's best friend, Daphne, has always been dependably prone to catastrophe. Read more...
Wendy's best friend, Daphne, has always been dependably prone to catastrophe. And Wendy has always been there to help. If Daphne veers from suicidal to madly in love, Wendy offers encouragement. But when Daphne is suddenly engaged, pregnant, and decorating a fabulous town house in no time at all, Wendy is...not so happy for her. Caught between wanting to be the best friend she prides herself on being and crippling jealousy of flighty Daphne, Wendy takes things to the extreme, waging a full-scale attack on her best friend-all the while wearing her best, I'm-so-happy-for-you smile-and ends up in way over her head.
Rosenfeld has a knack for exposing the not-always-pretty side of being best friends--in writing that is glittering and diamond-sharp. I'M SO HAPPY FOR YOU is a smart, darkly humorous, and uncannily dead-on novel about female friendship.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page 26.
- Review Date: 2009-04-13
- Reviewer: Staff
Rosenfeld (What She Saw) delves into the thornier side of female friendship in this hip take on modern womanhood. Wendy and Daphne have been best friends forever, but their relationship, sketched out in e-mails that cascade from their group of girlfriends, comes to a breaking point when Daphne suddenly pulls herself together, stops fooling around with a married man and finds a new love interest who happens to be handsome, rich and obnoxious. In quick succession, Daphne ties the knot, moves into a brownstone and gets pregnant. Meanwhile, Wendy, a low-paid editorial drone who's been trying and failing to conceive with her slacker husband, feels that her own life is thrown into miserable relief. She begins to lash out at Daphne, first passively, and then rather aggressively. In the course of a few twists, misunderstandings and revealed secrets, Wendy questions whether the source of her inferiority complex is Daphne or herself. The two friends are by turns frustrating and sympathetic, while Rosenfeld takes a dark, hilarious and painfully accurate view of the less-than-pure reasons why women stay friends. (July)
From best friends to ‘frenemies’
After spending college in her best friend’s shadow, Wendy Murman has emerged into adulthood as the more successful of the pair. She’s an editor at an important political magazine and married to a great guy. True, she can’t seem to get pregnant. And OK, she’s never been a great beauty. But she’s happy—until the tables turn.
In the span of a week, Wendy’s best friend, Daphne Uberoff, flips from threatening suicide because of her distress over a married lover to falling in love with an available, age-appropriate lawyer Wendy almost instantly dislikes.
When things start going well for Daphne, Wendy becomes argumentative, quickly growing frustrated with her husband for the little things (the fact that she has to walk the Doberman Pinscher while he visits his father in the hospital) and the big (her inability to conceive). As she becomes even more obsessed with fertility, her resentment toward friends—especially those with kids or newfound happiness—grows and grows. “Envy was a bulldozer emotion,” Wendy says—and in Wendy’s case, envy invites comparison and critique of her social circle.
In I’m So Happy for You, Lucinda Rosenfeld turns her attention from the romantic dilemmas of her past work to the dark side of female friendships. The book retains the humorous and often satirical tone of Rosenfeld’s novels, What She Saw. . . and Why She Went Home, while building on the female friendship articles she’s penned for the New York Times Magazine.
I’m So Happy for You is an amusing and chilling look at the less frequently explored one-upmanship of some female friendships. And while Wendy’s psychotic behavior pushes people away, Rosenfeld will only draw fans closer with this masterful cautionary tale.
Carla Jean Whitley writes from Birmingham, Alabama, where she’s fortunate to have lots of friends and few “frenemies”—that she’s aware of, at least.