Sad Janet : a novel

by Britsch, Lucie,

Format: Print Book 2020
Availability: Available at 1 Library 1 of 8 copies
Available (1)
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CLP - Squirrel Hill Fiction Collection FICTION Britsch
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Summary
Named one of the Best Books of the Summer by Lit Hub , The Millions , Refinery29, and Hey Alma .

"Hilarious, wise, wicked, and tender." --Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney, The New York Times - bestselling author of The Nest

Janet works at a rundown dog shelter in the woods. She wears black, loves The Smiths, and can't wait to get rid of her passive-aggressive boyfriend. Her brain is full of anxiety, like "one of those closets you never want to open because everything will fall out and crush you." She has a meddlesome family, eccentric coworkers, one old friend who's left her for Ibiza, and one new friend who's really just a neighbor she sees in the hallway. Most of all, Janet has her sadness--a comfortable cloak she uses to insulate herself from the oppressions of the wider world.

That is, until one fateful summer when word spreads about a new pill that offers even cynics like her a short-term taste of happiness . . . .just long enough to make it through the holidays without wanting to stab someone with a candy cane. When her family stages an intervention, her boyfriend leaves, and the prospect of making it through Christmas alone seems like too much, Janet decides to give them what they want. What follows is life-changing for all concerned--in ways no one quite expects.

Hilarious, bitterly wise, and surprisingly warm, Sad Janet is the depression comedy you never knew you needed.
Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "The narrative voice of Janet in Britsch's debut novel is a skin-tingling combination of new and necessary. Sadness is not situational for Janet; rather, it is a way of being in response to the difficulty of living. Janet's countercultural aspirations--to not have a boyfriend, not own a house, not reproduce, and not have a job with a future--bedevil everyone she knows, in particular her mother. Janet folds to the pressure of a sadness-intervention and agrees to participate in a study for a new, seasonal antidepressant that promises its swallowers will have Happy Christmases. The joy of Janet's narration is in her self-acceptance, which results in surprising notes of humor and profound truths. "Love is like gluten," Janet says, "I should have told the doctor. I can't process it properly." She works in a run-down dog shelter in the woods, and the dogs emerge as their own sort of characters. Like the rest of her life, Janet refuses to romanticize them; many are abandoned, aggressive, elderly, misbehaved, and unadoptable, as well as her saving grace. This book and this character are radical, and readers are likely to feel a relief at reading the thoughts they've had but not spoken."
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "In Britsch's darkly comic debut, a deadpan, abrasive narrator muses on her depression. "There's no word in the English language that properly describes this feeling I have, the one that makes other people uncomfortable," Janet thinks. After getting a degree in postmodern feminist science fiction, Janet takes a job at a dog shelter out in the woods with an equally depressed boss and a slightly sunnier co-worker. Everyone she knows, including her parents and boyfriend, is on one antidepressant or another, and they're all attempting to get Janet, who clings to what she calls her "manageable melancholia," to do the same. What plot there is revolves around whether Janet will take a newly invented pill designed to increase one's appreciation of Christmas--181 days away at the start of the novel, yet heavy on Janet's mind--and if she does, if it will work. Meanwhile, she spends her time napping, drinking, and curling up on dog beds pretending to be a dog. Preternaturally self-aware, Janet has a gift for homing in on her own emotional state and everyone else's, which Britsch renders in rueful, knowing prose that may land or miss, depending on if the reader can relate to pronouncements such as "the cool kids call it melancholia, because of that Lars von Trier movie." Still, Britsch's monologue about the experience of unhappiness is undeniably infectious. (June)"
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Subjects Single women -- Fiction.
Happiness -- Fiction.
Sadness -- Fiction.
Self-actualization (Psychology) -- Fiction.
Animal shelters -- Employees -- Fiction.
Humorous fiction.
Publisher New York :2020
Language English
Description 276 pages ; 22 cm
ISBN 9780593086520
059308652X
Other Classic View