"So Happy Together"
by MaryAnn McFadden
New York: Hyperion Books, 2009
Claire Nobel is a member of the “sandwich” generation. She is in her forties, responsible for caring for her aging parents as well as being the parent of an adult daughter who is not speaking to her. Having taken care of every one else for most of her life, she is planning on (finally!) claiming her life for herself. She is engaged to be married, planning on pursuing her love of photography at a workshop on Cape Cod, and looking forward to moving across the country. When Claire’s daughter Amy shows up and gives birth unexpectedly, a huge wrench is thrown her plans. Thus begins “So Happy Together” by MaryAnn McFadden, a story many women will be able to appreciate and relate to.
McFadden not only deftly tells the story of Claire, but also that of her parents and her daughter. Three generations dealing with life at three different stages are each forced to discover new truths about themselves and about each other. “So Happy Together” is about the ties that truly bind and what it means to be a family. It is also about finding love at unexpected times and places. As the description on the back of the book states, “when you’re a mother, or a daughter, you’re never truly free.” Nor, perhaps, would we want to be.
The only caveat I would offer for Catholic readers is that Claire's mother Fanny was raised Catholic but now dabbles in Buddhism. Nevertheless, “So Happy Together” is a very pleasant read. I highly recommend it.
- Patrice Fagnant-MacArthur