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What If This Were Enough?

What If This Were Enough? by Heather Havrilesky
Hardcover
Oct 02, 2018 | 240 Pages
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Praise

*A Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2018*


Wise, wry essays on the false promise of self-help, the emptiness of materialism, and the beauty of the ‘imperfect moment.'”
People

What If This Were Enough? feels cathartic…. Havrilesky’s book is hilarious and pulls no punches, and its cohesiveness feels fresh.”
—Broadly
 
“A sharp, humorous, and heartfelt essay collection that explores our culture’s obsession with self-improvement, perfection, and success, What If This Were Enough? asks readers to reconsider their endless quest for the coolest, the biggest, the shiniest new thing, and instead find happiness in what they already have.”
Bustle

 “The popular ‘Ask Polly’ columnist returns with a witty collection encouraging readers to embrace their imperfections and reject our culture’s self-improvement obsession.”
Entertainment Weekly

“Always briskly observant, and often mordantly funny…brimming with the author’s warmly diagnostic and incisive voice, the pieces crystallize as potent blends of cultural critique, memoir, and anecdote, which take a scalpel to the inured surface of modern American life.”
The Millions 

“Insightful, intelligent, and with trademark honesty, the book (and Havrilesky through it) seems to want to grant us all permission to feel deserving of, and happy with, our lots in life.”
—Guernica

“For the people who don’t get to have their midnight crises answered personally, there is this book…[Havrilesky] has written a book of essays. But no book of essays has ever been so hellbent on making you feel better.”
Romper

“Think of Heather Havrilesky as your wisest girlfriend whose advice is never wrong. (Seriously, read her advice columns!) In this collection of essays, Havrilesky takes on our never-ending quests for self-improvement and will make you feel a hell of a lot better no matter your end goal.”
—Cosmopolitan


“A soothing and much-needed reminder to tap out of the digital jealousy game and give ourselves and others TLC from the Cut’s sanity-saving ‘Ask Polly’ columnist.”
Vulture


“In 19 wry, insightful and compassionate essays, Havrilesky peels back the layers of late-capitalism malaise that bind us to the promise of some better version of ourselves lurking just beyond our reach, and dares us instead to accept our current, flawed lives, suffering and all, in order to settle into a less anxious and resentful present.”
Salon 

“Heather Havrilesky is a singular talent and an indomitable force. When it comes to the tension between thinking and feeling, of being out in the world and being alone with yourself, there is no one sharper, wiser, funnier, most honest, or more insightful. In What If This Were Enough, readers will find a splendid mix of Havrilesky’s familiar and intimate ‘Ask Polly’ voice and the authority and erudition of a seasoned cultural critic. I couldn’t get enough.”
Meghan Daum, author of The Unspeakable: And Other Subjects Of Disucssion

“There’s an effortlessness to Heather Havrilesky’s writing that is incredibly rare. Her funniest sentences are still empathetic. Her darkest confessions are still pretty funny. It doesn’t seem to matter what she’s writing about, or what point she’s trying to make. She’s just good at it.”
Chuck Klosterman, author of But What If We’re Wrong? and Killing Yourself to Live

“Heather is that dear friend you run into at a bad party at which you’re stuck and you say ‘Oh thank God you’re here’ and spend the rest of the night making dark and hilarious jokes about the party, other attendees, and the human condition. Thank God she’s here.”
Jake Tapper, author of The Hellfire Club and The Outpost

“[Havrilesky] wants Americans to ‘wake up to the unbelievable gift of being alive,’ even though it means facing… the scary emotions that are easier avoided. It’s a message she relates with insight, wit, and terrific prose.”
—Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)

“Provide[s] a crucial analytical perspective on human interactions…A fun, often insightful read.”
—Kirkus Reviews 

“[I]n this quick-witted collection of essays, advice columnist Havrilesky pointedly asks whether it is possible to be satisfied without having everything our world of excess offers us…[T]here is always a sharp edge to her observations…[S]he presents some more personal stories about love and loss that tantalizingly offer a glimpse into a more grounded way of life, leavening the dark atmosphere with humor and hope.”
Booklist

“Thoughtful, direct, and often funny, these essays are a lovely blend of personal reflection and cultural critique.”
—BookRiot

Table Of Contents

Introduction

The Smile Factory
The Happiest Place on Earth
To Infinity and Beyond
Playing House
Delusion at the Gastropub
Adults Only 
Stuffed 
Running on Empty 
Lost Treasure 
The Land of Heroic Villains 
The Popularity Contest 
Tag and Release
Haunted 
Bravado 
Survival Fantasies 
True Romance 
A Scourge of Gurus 
My Mother’s House 
The Miracle of the Mundane 

Acknowledgments 

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