I Don’t Have a Happy Place by Kim Korson is a memoir, a collection of personal essays on Korson’s life, starting with childhood and continuing through adulthood. The essays are eclectic and you get a glimpse into Korson’s mind – the way she thinks, the way she reacts, the way she imagines. It’s funny, but there’s this underlying sadness and melancholy that envelopes each essay. (Not surprisingly, as the tagline for the book is “Cheerful Stories of Despondency and Gloom.”)
I really enjoyed reading about Korson’s childhood. She had an interesting one, and I especially loved reading about her time in summer camp. I have this insatiable curiosity about summer camp and reading stories about that time in a person’s life – mainly because I never had the chance to go to summer camp and wish I could have gone! (Though I’m 99% sure I would have been insanely homesick, haha.) I found my attention waning a bit while reading about her foray into the entertainment world (I just don’t respond to stories about people being outrageously awful at their jobs… it’s not humorous to me) and her marriage.
For me, this book was just okay. I didn’t love it, but I didn’t hate it. It reminded me a lot of Let’s Pretend this Never Happened by Jenny Lawson (aka, The Bloggess), especially towards the latter half of the book where she wrote about marriage and family. So, if you loved that book, then you would definitely enjoy this one!
This is Korson’s first book, and while I thought it was very well-written, but I didn’t find it to be super engaging. I never fully embraced the book, and at a certain point, it all started to feel a little contrived and a bit forced. Still, it was an interesting read and I think if you love reading humorous memoirs, you would definitely enjoy this one.
Goodreads summary: When a trip to the therapist ends with the question “Can’t Kim be happy?” Kim Korson responds the way any normal person would—she makes fun of it. Because really, does everyone have to be happy?
Aside from her father wearing makeup and her mother not feeling well (a lot), Kim Korson’s 1970s suburban upbringing was typical. Sometimes she wished her brother were an arsonist just so she’d have a valid excuse to be unhappy. And when life moves along pretty decently–she breaks into show business, gets engaged in the secluded jungles of Mexico, and moves her family from Brooklyn to dreamy rural Vermont—the real despondency sets in. It’s a skill to find something wrong in just about every situation, but Kim has an exquisite talent for negativity. It is only after half a lifetime of finding kernels of unhappiness where others find joy that she begins to wonder if she is even capable of experiencing happiness.
In I Don’t Have a Happy Place, Kim Korson untangles what it means to be a true malcontent. Rife with evocative and nostalgic observations, unapologetic realism, and razor-sharp wit, I Don’t Have a Happy Place is told in humorous, autobiographical stories. This fresh-yet-dark voice is sure to make you laugh, nod your head in recognition, and ultimately understand what it truly means to be unhappy. Always.
I received a copy of this book for free from Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review. All words and opinions, unless otherwise stated, are my own.
Do you enjoy humorous books/novels?