A Netgalley book review: How to Be Happy by David Burton

How to Be Happy: A Memoir of Love, Sex and Teenage Confusion

by David Burton
About the book:

25674284‘Delivers some devastating truth bombs. Sexuality is hard. Identity is hard. Love is hard. School is hard…This book shines a much-needed light back through the tunnel. It is a call-out to teenagers still struggling to find their way.’—Books + Publishing

A funny, sad and serious memoir, this is David Burton’s story of his turbulent life at high school and beyond. Feeling out of place and convinced he’s not normal, David has a rocky start. He longs to have a girlfriend, but his first ‘date’ is a disaster. The same debilitating anxiety cripples his encounters with boys.

He carefully constructs an outgoing identity—an extroverted, adventurous character, for whom everything is fine. But everything is not fine. At the center of it all, trying desperately to work it all out, is the real David.

How to Be Happy tackles depression, friendship, sexual identity, suicide, academic pressure, love and adolescent confusion. It’s a brave and honest account of one young man’s search for a happy, true and meaningful life.

David Burton is a writer from Brisbane, now based in Sydney, best known for his theatre work. A speaker and presenter in school across Queensland, David is passionate about finding ways to open dialogue about the challenges faced by teens including sexual identity, depression and family life.

My Review

I have to say I actually wasn’t sure what this book was about, I thought it was a guide to how to be happy and actually got something entirely different. It was someone’s journey through life and a reminder of what goes on in our own head can been quite a minefield in itself. How we are led to believe there is only one what we should be, how we should act etc. What it points out is, that growing up we aren’t always taught these things, it’s simply just expected.

This book is quite a roller-coaster of emotions.  From growing up and not knowing who he was or should be, to his friends, some of which were troubled, to his parents and their problems, David had quite a lot to deal with while growing up. And as with any child, school was one of the biggest problems.

‘There are a lot of ideas out there what a man should be, ‘Dad wrote, ‘and most of them are bullsh#*t. What counts is character. And by God you’ve got a lot of that.’

Like other reviewers, there have been parts in the book difficult to read, but I think that’s what is so brilliant about this book. It doesn’t shy away from anything and digs deep into the emotions of a troubled teenager, showing the high’s and low’s and that in life it’s not always a bed of roses. I believe so much more should be taught to our youngsters on how to cope with feelings and how to ask for help. As adults we learn to cope with things, but as teenagers we have so much going on, not just in our bodies with hormones etc, but our young minds need to be able to find a way fo coping to all the changes to. Especially the cross over from school/university to adulthood. This book is a must read for everyone.

‘I realised I had grossly underestimated the kindness of the people around me, and their interest in my wellbeing. The world was a nicer place than I made it out to be.’

And I leave you on this note, it appears everything with in self help always points back to one thing…..

‘You see young padawan, true happiness is only ever found within yourself. Yuck.Lame But True.’

Thank you for reading



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