Adèle Geras gave me this book, saying how much she dislikes the cover. It’s the US edition of her Happy Endings, and I’m going to disagree with her. I think the cover works fine. It always feels a bit funny to read American spellings in what’s an English story, but apart from that, this is a nice behind the scenes tale of amateur theatre from the 1980s. With so many writers harking back to a period, it’s good to get the real deal, as it were. Not a mobile phone in sight.
I’d imagine it was fun doing the research for this book, and Adèle offers thanks to a number of theatre people. I’d have loved hanging out, seeing what it’s like before the audience sees a play.
Happy Endings is about Mel, who is 16, during the summer holidays when she gets a part in Chekhov’s Three Sisters, along a with a group of other young people. Lots of goings-on in the personal relationships department, and Mel, being a nice girl, tries to hand out advice to some of her new friends. And there’s love for her, too.
I have to confess to not knowing Chekhov’s play at all, so some of the finer details were probably lost on me. I sense that Adèle has done some fine knitting with the plot of the Three Sisters and the set up with the amateur actors.
Being a sucker for happy endings, I approve of the title of this book. And we learn that there are different kinds of happy endings.