Review of I’m Happy for You (Sort Of…Not Really) by Kay Wills Wyma

I'm Happy for You (Sort Of...Not Really): Finding Contentment in a Culture of ComparisonI’m Happy for You (Sort Of…Not Really): Finding Contentment in a Culture of Comparison by Kay Wills Wyma

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I really wanted to like this book. I was excited about the message: Being happy with who you are and what you have. Living in the moment. Don’t risk missing precious moments because you’re too busy wanting to be like someone else. In fact, one early quote really resonated with me: “Looking at what we lack prevents us from noticing how sweet the world already is. But when we shift our focus from what could be to what actually is, we find extraordinary joy in our ordinary lives.” What a lovely and positive sentiment. Plus I liked the book’s catchy, humorous title.

I really hate when I’m one of the few people who isn’t raving about a particular book, but I had some difficulty raving about this one. Early on I began to feel as though the author and her friends spend a great deal time envying everyone around them. For me, the constant “comparison obsession” just didn’t seem realistic. Real, everyday life is just too darn hectic to spend so much time ruminating over what everyone else has or does – at least for me it is. Maybe a fleeting thought here and there, but all the time? Highly unlikely. Yet the author confides that she “struggles with comparison almost from the minute (she) gets out of bed.” This is an actual quote from the book. At one point she went on for several pages about how she had agonized over what embarrassing things her friend might have seen in her refrigerator when she brought over some brownies. It also struck me as though Ms. Wyma was trying very hard to make her case for what she’s coined, “obsessive comparison disorder”. Even going back to biblical times to suggest the story of Adam and Eve is really about Eve’s sudden knowledge that “someone had something she didn’t” (and perhaps not about temptation and disobedience to God as we may have originally thought?).

When the author started discussing the impact of social media on society and the obsession with achieving the perfect body I thought I’d find some good information. But instead I found generalized and empty statements that served to further group everyone together as a dysfunctional whole. Things like “each of us carries a mental mirror…” and “Glamour magazine recently conducted a follow-up survey from thirty years ago…the results revealed that women feel worse about themselves today.” A Glamour magazine survey is in no way reliable enough to sway me one way or another about anything and I’m too darn busy to carry a mental mirror around with me all the time. I have a difficult time with books that try to group all of society together in order to make a point.

Before I appear to be doing nothing but bashing this book, I do have to say that the author has included some positive and encouraging tidbits in the form of quotes, sayings and footnotes. She’s clearly intelligent and her writing is easy to read. She’s also a woman of faith and that comes through in her words. (Although, when she talked about buying flowers for a woman who stole her parking spot at the grocery store I admit I did a mental eye roll.) There is a definite religious element in this book that readers may or may not appreciate, depending on their own beliefs. I think the author’s heart was in the right place, but the delivery just wasn’t there – at least it wasn’t for me. received a complimentary copy of this book from Net Galley and Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.

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