By Robert Drinkwater
For my third book review, I chose to read More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera. Initially when I picked up this book, I had no idea what to expect. I saw one of my favorite book tubers A Clockwork Reader promote this book . I became intrigued when she said what the book was about. Think Black Mirror and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, this book felt like a mixture of both of those. A boy named Aaron who is in the aftermath of dealing with the suicide of his father as well as his own attempted suicide. Aaron meets a guy named Thomas and he begins to catch feelings for Thomas. Aaron, afraid of how his friends and family will react decides to get this procedure in which it will erase all memory of Thomas from his mind.
As a fan of the show Black Mirror, the plot of this book reminded me of something that would be on that show. While there is no specific year that the story takes place, there seems to be more advanced technology, such as the memory erasing program. Another similarity I noticed with the book and that show was that it made me question whether or not that type of technology made society better or worse. Throughout the novel Aaron faces a dilemma about whether or not he should go through this process. Despite the fact that this procedure is a key aspect in this novel, it seems like it is more in the background compared to the rest of the plot, such as Aaron’s relationship with Thomas, his girlfriend Genevieve, his friends, and his family.
I empathized with Aaron because he struggles with depression and that is prevalent throughout this book. He just wants to be happy and he is constantly looking at his scar from his suicide attempt thinking that it looks like a smiley face. He’s afraid of what his friends will think of him if they find out about his feelings for Thomas and he believes that he will be happier if he just forgets about him. As I mentioned before, new technology plays a role in this novel. When reading this, it made me think about whether or not this type of technology does more harm than good. I thought there were some interesting parallels to the real world, in which Aaron just wants to be ‘normal’ and accepted, he thinks that having this procedure will return everything back to normal. Several people erased their traumatic memories as a coping mechanism. In a sense this aspect brings awareness to mental health. Can someone be fixed by erasing bad memories? Would forgetting something make everything better?
One of the things I look for most when reading is how the characters interact with each other as well as how their relationship develops. The relationship between Aaron and Thomas was one of my favorite parts of this novel was Aaron and Thomas’s relationship. I felt like both of these characters were well fleshed out and their relationship grew in a well paced manner, it wasn’t rushed and it wasn’t too slow, it was nuanced. I also enjoyed how the community that Aaron lived in seemed realistic. Aaron and the other kids in the neighborhood played games that they made up and we as readers get a little more insight on each character as the novel progresses.
In conclusion, this book has an interesting concept that really made me think about whether or not that type of technology does more harm than good. This book also contains well developed characters and the plot was well paced with an overall sympathetic character.
A Clockwork Reader: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCYejuNiTTA3yCxVSOTyj7yA