Book Review: This Is Not The Story You Think It Is: A Season of Unlikely Happiness – Laura Munson

Title: This Is Not The Story You Think It Is: A Season of Unlikely Happiness
Author: Laura Munson
ISBN: 9780399156656
Pages: 352
Release Date: April 1, 2010
Publisher: Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam
Genre: Memoir, Non-Fiction
Source: Publisher
Rating: 4 out of 5

Summary:

Laura Munson’s personal crisis begins the moment her husband tells her that he’s not sure he loves her anymore, then leaves without any further explanation.  Munson takes us through her thoughts, raw and emotional, written during the months of the disaster, created by her husband.  This is an unflinchingly honest look at marriage, midlife crisis, and the sources of our happiness.

Review:

Laura Munson wrote an essay that appeared in the New York Times last August.  Called ‘Modern Love’, it was a precursor to this memoir, a shorter version of the events that take place in This Is Not The Story You Think It Is: A Season of Unlikely Happiness.  However, I hadn’t read the article when I first picked up this book, so I wasn’t sure what to expect.

I’d read some criticisms of This Is Not The Story You Think It Is: A Season of Unlikely Happiness saying that it’s a bit indulgent on the author’s part.  To that, I say:  well, of course it is!  As Munson makes clear from the beginning, the book was originally written as an effort to vent her feelings and just get through each day when her husband was going through his midlife crisis.  Sure, it’s been edited and cleaned up, but really it’s a memoir of emotional struggle and trying to cope when the bottom falls out in your marriage.  The question is whether it is a book other readers can get something out of, and I firmly believe that it is.

Munson is outwardly stoic and self-assured during her husband’s tantrums (her word, not mine), though on the inside, she is angrier than she thought possible.  She demonstrates an incredible amount of patience – I don’t know if I would be able to do the same.  Her husband doesn’t come across very positively in this book, so I admire her for being willing to publish something so personal.

The main message of This Is Not The Story You Think It Is: A Season of Unlikely Happiness is about taking responsibility for your happiness.  If you want to be happy, then make it such that it’s in your control.  Happiness shouldn’t be dependent on others, it should come from yourself.  This is something I firmly believe and I appreciated Munson’s discussion of the subject.

This Is Not The Story You Think It Is: A Season of Unlikely Happiness is a great book for any married woman.  Munson embodies patience and love, and it’s really inspiring to see how she deals with a nightmare situation in a marriage.  Though this book definitely isn’t for everyone, I think if you find the article interesting, the book will be a rewarding experience.

Comments

  1. Well, the vows usually do state in sickness and in health, so I commend her for staying strong and supportive throughout her husbands struggle. I love memoirs, and this sounds like an important one for someone who is newly married, like myself. Thanks.

  2. Well, the vows usually do state in sickness and in health, so I commend her for staying strong and supportive throughout her husbands struggle. I love memoirs, and this sounds like an important one for someone who is newly married, like myself. Thanks.

  3. I won a copy of this book about a month ago, and am glad to read this review to get a feel for what it is like. It reminds me a bit of Perfection by Julie Metz, even though there are some big differences in the plot. After reading this review I am looking forward to trying this one out. Thanks for sharing your great review!

  4. I won a copy of this book about a month ago, and am glad to read this review to get a feel for what it is like. It reminds me a bit of Perfection by Julie Metz, even though there are some big differences in the plot. After reading this review I am looking forward to trying this one out. Thanks for sharing your great review!

  5. Until your review, I had not heard of this book, but it sounds like an important story. My first reaction is about this books connection to Eat, Pray, and Love. Did you see any similarities in content, revelations, or style? Both authors, it appears, are forced to look for happiness in new venues because of a failed marriage, so some similarities might just be inevitable.

    Thanks for sharing it with me!

  6. Until your review, I had not heard of this book, but it sounds like an important story. My first reaction is about this books connection to Eat, Pray, and Love. Did you see any similarities in content, revelations, or style? Both authors, it appears, are forced to look for happiness in new venues because of a failed marriage, so some similarities might just be inevitable.

    Thanks for sharing it with me!

  7. I just got a copy of this today, so I’m glad to see that you liked it.

  8. I just got a copy of this today, so I’m glad to see that you liked it.

  9. Aren’t all memoirs somewhat self indulgent? I love memoirs, so I’m looking forward to this book.

  10. Aren’t all memoirs somewhat self indulgent? I love memoirs, so I’m looking forward to this book.

  11. I’ve heard of this book, and already added it to my wishlist. It seems like an interesting read. In today’s society, many people are very negative towards marriage.

  12. I’ve heard of this book, and already added it to my wishlist. It seems like an interesting read. In today’s society, many people are very negative towards marriage.

  13. i’m also a memoir fan but this one sounds a bit bleak for me right now.

    my husband and i have been together for 18 years this fall and it’s always fun but couples around us are not doing so well. i’m not sure that i need to read about someone else’s unhappiness when there is so much sadness around me.

    i’ll keep this title on file, though. it sounds like a great read.

    ps. i often tell my students and friends that happiness comes from within and can’t be achieved or gained (long term) from other people. 🙂 i love that the author (and you) also recognize this!

  14. i’m also a memoir fan but this one sounds a bit bleak for me right now.

    my husband and i have been together for 18 years this fall and it’s always fun but couples around us are not doing so well. i’m not sure that i need to read about someone else’s unhappiness when there is so much sadness around me.

    i’ll keep this title on file, though. it sounds like a great read.

    ps. i often tell my students and friends that happiness comes from within and can’t be achieved or gained (long term) from other people. 🙂 i love that the author (and you) also recognize this!

  15. I am intrigued by this book. It sounds like it would be worth reading and I haven’t heard of it before. Thanks for turning me onto it!

  16. I am intrigued by this book. It sounds like it would be worth reading and I haven’t heard of it before. Thanks for turning me onto it!

  17. It’s a memoir and the nature of the beast is somewhat self-indulgent. I’m looking forward to reading it.

  18. It’s a memoir and the nature of the beast is somewhat self-indulgent. I’m looking forward to reading it.

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