I’m So Happy For You Review
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I think it was sometime in high school—right around the time when my “best friend” talked the guy I liked into dating her instead—when I realized that sometimes your girl friends aren’t really your friends at all. Recently, someone came up with a word for them: frenemies. It’s a common occurrence that author Lucinda Rosenfeld makes painfully clear in her novel, I’m So Happy For You.

For 16 years, Wendy Murman has been the best of friends with Daphne Uberoff—and by “best of friends,” I mean “co-dependent and fiercely competitive.” Since they met in college, Daphne has always been prettier and richer and more popular than Wendy. She’s lived a life of romance and drama. And Wendy has lived vicariously through her. She’s taken Daphne’s middle-of-the-night calls, and she’s talked her off the ledge—always turning around and gossiping about it the next day.

  
 
Finally, though, Wendy has it better than Daphne does. While Daphne wastes away in a relationship with an older married man, Wendy has a decent job at a small (but important) liberal magazine, and she and her husband, Adam, are about to start a family—or at least they’re trying.

Then, one day, everything changes. Daphne meets a wealthy [single] lawyer and falls madly in love. In a matter of weeks, she’s planning her dream wedding and renovating their gorgeous new brownstone. At the same time, Wendy can’t get pregnant, and she and Adam are growing apart—but her best friend is just too fabulously happy to care.

I’m So Happy For You offers an uncomfortably accurate picture of frenemies—the women who are both your very best friends and your very worst enemies at the same time. And the characters are some of the worst kinds of frenemies: Daphne is the self-absorbed drama queen who treats everyone around her like loyal subjects, while Wendy is the bitter, competitive back-stabber.

As you read about Wendy and Daphne, you’ll cringe—because you’ll recognize them. Rosenfeld’s characters are painfully true to life, and they’re guaranteed to remind you of the friend who spread rumors about you…and the one who stole your boyfriend…and the one who seemed to thrive on your unhappiness. Maybe you’ll even see a little bit of yourself in them.

The problem, however, is that I’m So Happy For You is just too accurate. Because while Rosenfeld’s descriptions and scenarios make for a realistic read, they don’t make for an enjoyable one. Instead, it’s a long, painful reminder of how fake and unfriendly people can be. To make matters worse, the story is told from Wendy’s point of view—and not only is she bitter about her friend’s happiness, but she’s also completely unhappy with her own life. She’s tired of her job, she’s frustrated with her husband, and she’s obsessed with her inability to reproduce. And all that bitterness and complaining often make for a depressing read.

Had Rosenfeld exaggerated the characters a bit and told the story with a touch of irony (maybe with a touch of Mean Girls), I’m So Happy For You would have been both accurate and enjoyable. Instead, while it’s an interesting (and observant) look at female friendship, it’s far from upbeat. You don’t want to be friends with people like this—and it’s no fun to read about them, either.

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