Review: Richard Yaxley – The Happiness Quest

The Happiness Quest
Richard Yaxley

Tillie is sad. Tilly doesn’t know why she’s sad. Tilly’s mum takes her to the doctor, who suggests exercise and healthy food. Tilly’s mum takes her to laughter group. Tilly’s best girl friend doesn’t understand her, but her friend Snake does. How will Tilly get happier?

I literally slogged through this novel. I feared reading it from the beginning, because I read Joyous and Moonbeam by this author and didn’t really enjoy it. Imagine my surprise… that I didn’t enjoy this novel either. It takes until the middle of this novel that Tilly starts getting closer to thinking about The Happiness Quest.

That ending. I think it’s cool and all that researching what makes other people happy could help you, but at the same time – clinical depression doesn’t tend to lift like that in my experience. The treatment Tilly received from both her doctor and her mother was pretty typical. I’d hate to think of someone reading this novel and blaming themselves or putting down medication as a treatment. Sometimes it is just the chemicals in your brain!

I think there are important things to be gained out of reading this novel, and it made me want to make notes about its teachings. But at the same time it was such a struggle for me to read it because the style was terrible. I’m sure it suits some people, but just not me. If this novel makes one young person with depression speak up or tell someone the way they feel, then the novel has served its purpose. 2 stars from me.

Scholastic | 1st August 2018 | AU$18.99 | paperback

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