Reviews for Happier At Home : Kiss More, Jump More, Abandon a Project, Read Samuel Johnson, and My Other Experiments in the Practice of Everyday Life
Kirkus Reviews 2012 July #1
A well-meaning but not especially insightful guide to deriving greater satisfaction in life by feeling "more at home, at home." In this sequel to her bestselling The Happiness Project (2009), Rubin explores some of the elements that influence happiness in domestic contexts. After being inexplicably "hit by an intense wave of homesickness" in the well-ordered world of her New York apartment, she created a plan to examine the concepts she saw as inextricably linked to her own personal satisfaction. "I took my circumstances for granted," she writes. "[I] wanted to appreciate my life more, and to live up to it better." Rubin began her learning project in September, just as her children were going back to school. She first took account of her possessions and the relationship she had to them and discovered that her material happiness came from wanting what she had rather than making efforts to have more or less. Rubin reached similarly mundane conclusions about other concepts in the months that followed. Marriage, family and parenthood took work, and time management was as essential as determining how to most meaningfully use it. Taking care of herself and feeling good were important because how she behaved influenced the happiness of those around her, and staying mindful of the present was the key to appreciating just "how fleeting [and] how precious" her seemingly ordinary days actually were. Rubin's aim is clearly to help people enhance their relationship to all things domestic, but the portrait of her privileged, relatively trouble-free home, along with the earnestness with which she speaks of being a "moral essayist" interested in delineating "the practice of everyday life," make her look out of touch. Read Samuel Johnson instead. Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.
Publishers Weekly Reviews 2012 May #4
In her earlier book The Happiness Project, Rubin dedicated each month for a year to a theme (friendship, work, etc.), each accompanied by "a handful of modest resolutions." In this sequel, spanning September through May, Rubin narrows her focus to strategies "to feel more at home, at home." A goal for her for September was to glean more happiness from her possessions by arranging and spotlighting meaningful possessions and getting rid of meaningless stuff. Resolving to cultivate a shrine, Rubin transformed areas of her apartment into places of super-engagement such as painting wisteria climbing the walls of her tiny office. In October, Rubin's thoughts turned to her 16-year marriage, and she started kissing her husband more often, took driving lessons to share motoring responsibility, began thanking him for tackling chores, and focused on being cheerfully accommodating. Other months concentrated on parenting, time management, body-related resolutions, parents and siblings, and neighborhood. Although it lacks the freshness and originality of her earlier book, this perceptive sequel offers elegant musings about the nature of happiness combined with concrete ways to make the place where we sleep, eat, and watch TV truly a home. Illus. Agent: Christy Fletcher, Fletcher & Company. (Sept.) [Page ]. Copyright 2012 PWxyz LLC