I have spent a lot of the last two years reading writing about writing, as I studied literary criticism. In Not Another Happy Ending I’ve been doing much the same but in a fun and light-hearted way for a change. David Solomons’ book, adapted from the screenplay for the film of the same name, takes all sorts of clichés about writing and shakes them up.
Have you ever written a dramatic domestic scene where the tension builds as the kettle rises to the boil? Read ‘Not Another Happy Ending’ and you’ll be taking the red pen to all mentions of kettles. What about stories of would-be novelists who get the deal of their dreams, and discover that the reality of being a successful author isn’t all they had hoped? Well, that’s the cliché that Solomon’s book explores. There’s a handsome French publisher, with a hapless assistant, who takes up Jane’s first novel, a ‘misery-lit’ thinly disguised story of her childhood. The book sales start slowly, but then take off. Jane wins an award, meets a Hollywood screenwriter who soon becomes her boyfriend, and reconciles with her father. For the first time in a long while, she’s happy. But … and there’s always a but … she has to write another book. Second novels are called ‘difficult’ for a reason, and Jane’s struggling with the weight of expectations, while her screenwriter boyfriend is happily working on the screenplay of her first book.
There are plenty of fun twists and turns in the tale – a pub quiz team, a character from Jane’s book who becomes real, a run down cottage in the wilds of Scotland, and a book launch on a double decker bus. In Not Another Happy Ending David Solomons has done a great job of delving into the preconceptions surrounding becoming a successful writer and shaking them up.
This is an easy read, and I’d recommend it for holiday reading for writers … and anyone else who wants a fun romance where the girl gets her guy, of course!
You can also watch the film on Netflix – the trailer is below.
ETA: Having now watched the film, it’s fine, it’s fun … but the book is better!
Not Another Happy Ending costs around £7.99 in paperback and £3.49 on Kindle at the time of writing