NOTE: I tried to make this review spoiler-free but to I can’t guarantee the absence thereof.
I actually don’t know how and where to start this review. It’s probably best if Baymax appears in front of me and assess if there’s something wrong in me – no surprises if he finds my emotional being in shatters. I need Baymax and his squishy tummy to hug me right now and tell me this is just a story. But the thing is, More Happy Than Not is practically fashioned out of reality that every state of pain and euphoria here is so palpable it’s hardly just any story. To think it’s nothing but a product of fiction is difficult. Adam Silvera’s writing lets you get immersed on it the moment you start it.
More Happy Than Not is that book that impeccably delivers diversity as it promised. It is an amalgam of various themes – depression, homosexuality, friendship, love, poverty, etc. – wherein each is given their own spotlight and handled finely. This kind of story happens in one out of a few individuals that it’s safe to say it’s a run-of-the-mill. However, despite it being common, it’s one of those that are unheard of either because people enduring such circumstance are reluctant to speak out or we just turn deaf from them and shrug these topics away. Adam Silvera just sucker-punched us with these truths.
In the novel, being a homosexual is regarded as a root cause of problems, a state that paves the way to a multitude of mishaps. Aaron was introduced as a straight guy enjoying a healthy relationship with her girlfriend. This was until he identified himself as someone attracted to the similar sex. A “twist” in the story also pinpointed homosexuality as a culprit to another stroke of bad luck, his dad’s death. Homosexuality is multifaceted; Adam Silvera chose that which scrutinized a delicate aspect and for me, he saw to it well. Aaron’s story in More Happy Than Not exemplified a fact that homosexuals are not only grappled with fear of denial from society but also from themselves. We thought the contemporary period, the age of social media and revolution brought forth gargantuan courage for the members of the LGBTQs in coming out. For them, it’s empowering. In fact, it wasn’t for everyone. For some, like Aaron, he was regarding his inclination to the similar sex as a jinx. For him, it was a phenomenon beyond his control and while he embraced it at first, he felt regretful over the course.
It’s not like my heart is in running or anything like that, but at least I learned that you can’t always choose who you’re going to be. Sometimes you’re fast enough to run track. Sometimes you’re not.
I found the concept of Leteo procedure – though very illusory – smart and interesting. This is sort of a medical/surgical method of eradicating a portion of one’s memory. I was mulling over whether Leteo is mankind’s savior or not. At first glance, the idea seemed egotistical. To have a memory makeover means forgetting faces and important exchange of interaction with them in exchange of a promised better life. It’s hardly fair for those who will be shut out of one’s memory. However, this is just coming from someone who haven’t been gone into a deep abyss of depression yet so I can’t say for certain. Depression isn’t simply synonymous to having the occasional blues but a condition that completely takes over one’s life. I couldn’t speak for those who experienced such.
More Happy Than Not is the kind of book that doesn’t implore pity but rather lets a reader instinctively empathize with the characters. Unrequited love, as manifested by Genevieve’s love for Aaron and Aaron’s to Thomas, is very eminent here. Friendships strengthened through years of playing in the streets are wrecked by one contemptible ideology from a friend who came out of the closet. Poverty drive an individual to have a brimful of embarrassed emotions to friends and pubescent angst to parents.
This is a coming-of-age, coming-out story that’s like no other. It gave diversity as it promised and spoke truth as harsh as it should be. I recommend this book to those who are sick of the typical YA plot and are looking for such that could deliver a message across on point.
If there’s happiness tucked away in my tragedies, I’ll find it no matter what. If the blind can find joy in music, and the deaf can discover it with colors, I will do my best to always find the sun in the darkness because my life isn’t one sad ending – it’s a series of endless happy beginnings.