Publication Date: April 19, 2022
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A whip-smart, funny, affecting novel about a young woman who takes a job at a tech company looking to break into the “happiness market”—even as her own happiness feels more unknowable than ever
Four years into work on a still-unfinished philosophy dissertation, and seemingly unready to accept a marriage proposal from her long-term boyfriend, Evelyn Kominsky Kumamoto feels stalled. Meanwhile, all around her, everyone else seems to be getting on with their lives: her corn-fed, relentlessly optimistic boyfriend, Jamie, has no hesitation about committing to a shared future, and even her reserved father is energized by a new relationship—his first since her mother’s passing when Evelyn was just fourteen. The privacy-invading, norm-reinforcing apps, algorithms, and self-optimization messaging that surround her seem more sure of what Evelyn should think and want than she is.
Looking for a change, Evelyn accepts a job as a researcher at the third-most popular internet company, housed at a glass and steel office building in downtown San Francisco. There, she is charged with aiding in the development of an app that will help users quantify—and augment—their happiness. As she grapples with the tech world’s bewildering work culture and jolting excess, an unexpected development in her personal life upends her assumptions about her future, and Evelyn embarks on a journey towards an authentic happiness all her own.
Wry, touching, and sharply attuned to the ambivalence, atomization, and illusion of control that characterize modern life, Happy for You is a story of a young woman at a crossroads that movingly explores how, even in this mediated world, our emotions, contradictions, and vulnerabilities have a transformative power we could never predict.
Story Locale: San Francisco, CA and Hawaii
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