My first read of 2018 was This is Happy by Camilla Gibb. I had this book on my first day as an intern at Penguin Random House Canada a year ago, and only got around to reading it now. Prior to working at PRHC, I never heard of Camilla Gibb, but her memoir set on my work desk asking to be read. After thinking about what books I wanted to read in 2018, I decided I wanted to read Gibb’s book first.
I had no prior knowledge as to what the book was really about, so when picking this book to read first, it was quite impulsive. The title is what enticed me to be honest; what specifically is happy? Well, while reading the memoir, I realized that it’s multiple things, but I’ll get to that later. This is Happy is a memoir that centres around Gibb’s life through depression and mental illness. The memoir depicts her life from a young child, all the way to the present, detailing all her greatest and worst memories. One thing I appreciated most about this memoir was her honesty toward her mental health, and her life in general. She writes exactly how she felt during the ending of relationships, and her struggles of becoming a mother at a later age. I felt her honesty was a way of healing for her, and for her to accept the things that have happened in her life. Although I never read any of her fiction, I found her memoir excellently written.
From her honest depictions of her life, she doesn’t decide to give the reader a fairy tale ending. She even points this out in her memoir that people would expect her to say something changed all of this. But she never gives the reader that satisfaction because it’s real life. If she didn’t meet someone later in life, why add that in? She shows that although her life didn’t end up how she expected, there are still happy moments in everything. She finds happiness with her brother, her daughter, her friend, and her nanny. All of these people bring about happy, even in her darkest days. I found it refreshing to see how even if life hasn’t turned out to be this cookie-cutter depiction of a happy life, there still is the possibility of happiness.
I found Gibb’s memoir inspirational, in a sense, because it shows how happiness can be found anywhere. There may be days where life absolutely sucks, but we can all find a few moments that warms our hearts. Of course, her memoir is not a how-to-guide on how to be happy, but it emphasizes that the little things can make the difference. And with that, I think I’ll reference her memoir from time to time, just as a reminder that there are always happy moments to look forward to.
I rated This is Happy by Camilla Gibb as 5/5 on Goodreads.
Have you read this memoir?