Wow. When I started reading Luncinda Rosenfeld's new book I'm So Happy for You, I thought that there might be some character growth in the novel. I was wrong. Touted as "a novel about best friends", and lauded on the cover by Publisher's Weekly and authors like Zoe Heller (Notes on a Scandal), I was expecting something along the lines of a black comedy about jealousy in a female friendship. It's not a comedy - it's pretty much just about one-sided, irrational (at least as far as I could tell) jealousy in a female friendship.
The story follows Wendy, a thirtysomething editor at a left-wing New York magazine who lives modestly with her writer husband, Adam. Wendy has been the 'successful' one in her friendship with Daphne, a college girlfriend who has drifted from job to job and man to man since graduation. When Daphne finally gets her life in order, Wendy, who we might all expect to be happy for her 'best friend', couldn't be less happy. Why? Well, you never really know why - other than that Wendy just seems to blossom as long as Daphne is a misfit. As Daphne literally walks into the perfect relationship, and apparently gets all that Wendy didn't know she wanted out of life (until she saw Daphne get it), Wendy becomes more and more bitter and recalcitrant toward her friend.
The novel was a fast read, and mildly enjoyable. The main character, Wendy, is just not likeable, and that made it hard to like the book. And we really don't get to know Daphne, so it wasn't really possible to root for her. In addition, the book is wrapped up too quickly and not in a particularly satisfying way. I just couldn't help but wonder more than once while I read this why these women ever stayed friends after college in the first place. And then, frankly, I wondered if it was some kind of a roman a clef. Which I think it might be.