Happier at Home: How I Learned to Pay Attention, Cram My Day with What I Love, Hold More Tightly, Embrace Here and Remember Now. by Gretchen Rubin
Format: eAudio Books
Narrator: Kathe Mazur
Source: Library Copy / Overdrive
Random House Audio, 2012
If there is any one book I actually regret having finished, it has to be this one. Well, maybe Goodnight June, but this one as well. This book was incredibly myopic, superficial, elitist and uninviting in virtually every sense. I kept hoping for insights, for little gems of inspiration or change, but none was to be found. Rubin is best known for her other NY Times Bestselling Book The Happiness Project. I read and half-heartedly enjoyed that book. I thought I would give Happier at Home a try. I didn’t have any other audio books to listen to at the time.
I think if Rubin had written this as a long article, or a blog post, it wouldn’t be so bad. It might even have been helpful had it been shorter in length so much less in her head. Also, she should have branded it as being more mindful rather than being happier. She wasn’t unhappy when she started. She was still riding the high of her Happiness Project book being such a success. In the end, I don’t feel like she made herself any more happy than she was at the beginning. It did feel like she paid more attention to the incredible minutiae of her life and looked for happiness in random areas. At times it felt like she was nit-picking just to find something to complain about in otherwise easy life. A loving husband, great kids, a great apartment in walking distance to wonderful restaurants, libraries and more. She could travel, but doesn’t want to. She wanted to look for happiness in the small things in life. Its commendable. It’s a bit monastic. It was a big stretch because she already has so many wonderful and happy things in her life that rather than just appreciate what she has, she has to elaborate in boring detail all the pot-holes in her life.
I’m still stumped as to her target audience is with this book. Is it the low-income mother juggling two jobs? Is it the Park Ave mother with 2 nannies on the payroll? It’s somewhere in the middle, but leaning heavily towards Park Ave. mother. Although her Wednesday adventures outing with her eldest daughter sounded like a fun idea, tallying up the weekly admission costs for each and every place they went to every week had my head spinning. Her main source of happiness was purchasing Demeter Fragrance for her home. This book actually made me really sad and judgmental, which I don’t think was her intent. She did even include a disclaimer that her path to being happier at home is not the path that everyone should take. It’s just one person’s story. To be honest, the most helpful part of the entire book was the appendix at the end where she summarized her findings and her nine-month trial run at being happier at home.