Book Club of the month: March 2013

Find out what MiNDFOOD’s Book Club of the Month thinks 
of its latest read, The Happiness Show.


At 38, Lizzie Quealy thinks she has things sorted: a happy relationship, a couple of gorgeous kids, a steadfast best friend, and a career she loves. But when Lizzie bumps into Tom, an old flame from her twenties, her life begins to unravel.
Ten years on, the spark is still there – but how far is she prepared to go to recapture it? The Happiness Show is a refreshingly honest story of love, fidelity, and the messiness of second chances.


Catherine Deveny is a comedy writer, comedian, author, social commentator and broadcaster. She is also one of the co-founders of No Chicks No Excuses, a website dedicated to redressing the lack of female voices in public life by providing a data base of women available to speak, write, advise or consult on any subject.


As a group of seven immigrant women who enjoy reading (to a lesser or greater degree) we decided to form our book club, The Chapter Chat Book Club, about two years ago.

Each month one member of the group gets the opportunity to recommend a book, which means they also host the meeting for that particular month.

The nature of the meeting is entirely up to the host. So far we have had discussions at restaurants, at members’ homes, and we’ve even had a discussion while eating dinner based on food served in the respective book 
for that month!

Our book club meetings are occasions where we can be ourselves, have a laugh, and, of course, discuss the positives and negatives of each month’s book.

 Over the past two years, we’ve become much more than just a book club: we provide support and friendship for each other. Because we got so much from our book  club, we wanted to help others, so for our first Christmas we decided to donate a food hamper to a family in need. Last year we stepped it up a notch and donated food hampers to two families.

Cheryl Van Niekerk

The Happiness Show is a very different read to what I usually read. There is lot of swearing and sex scenes in it and switching from past to present. Something to take away with you after reading this book is that the key to happiness is having something to do, someone to love, and something to look forward to.

Magda Clayton

The book flowed well and is a quick read. Will Lizzie and Tom be able to recapture what they had in their youth and will they sacrifice their current relationships in order for this to happen? Is Tom Lizzie’s happiness or is it Jim her partner and father of her children? Gripping read.

Alyssia Khatib

I enjoyed the book, because it kept me wanting to know what would happen next. While I found it a little erratic at first, it was easy to follow, funny, and exciting. Although, it was also little predictable at times. However, having said that, I was pleasantly surprised in the end. It was unexpected and unrealistically perfect.

Rhonda Daniels    

Although the author chose a controversial topic, she somehow still managed to capture my attention from the very first page. Even though I found the heroine to be quite selfish and her choices somewhat questionable, her honesty and funny outlook kind of made me “get” why she made these choices.

Adele Siljeur

I found Catherine Deveny’s dialogue gritty, honest, and realistic. For Lizzie happiness seems to depend on her being able to have both Jim and Tom in her life. She is unable to completely find happiness in her present because she can’t shake her past. I found it unlikely that Tom and Lizzie’s spouses never seemed to find out about their affair and the “happy ending”, although satisfying, 
was somewhat unrealistic.

Adele Selfe

It seemed to me that Lizzie had a very fulfilled life … a career, an understanding husband, great kids – but that did not seem to be enough for her. I found The Happiness Show an overall interesting read, but I was left wondering if Tom’s wife had any suspicions around the secret rendezvous that her husband was having, but was also grateful  to Lizzie for saving her daughter.

Linda Jacobs

The book was very candid in places, but will be pertinent in some people’s lives. We all sometimes wonder “What if?” Some people act on this, others don’t. We just need to figure out which category we fit in to.  The following line I have taken out of the book, and chosen to use  in my life: “We would all be much happier if we woke up every morning, looked around at our lives and felt that we had enough.”


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