What if all the things you'd been told would make you happy … didn't?
Jill Stark was living the dream. She had a coveted job, she was dating a sports star, and her first book had just become a bestseller. After years of chasing the dream, she’d finally found it. And then it all fell apart.
Getting her happy-ever-after plunged Jill into the darkest period of her life, forcing her to ask if we've been sold a lie. Could it be that the relentless pursuit of happiness is making us miserable?
From the ashes of Jill’s epic breakdown comes this raw, funny, and uplifting exploration of our age of anxiety. Happy Never After is a soul-searching journey from despair to clarity and a forensic examination of our troubled times. Road-testing neuroscience’s latest psychological frontiers in compassion, acceptance, gratitude, play, hope, and solitude, Jill turns the happiness fairytale on its head and asks what would happen if we flipped the script and found contentment in places we least expected?
‘A brilliant intersection between searing personal experience and the wisdom of the elders: nothing brings us closer to despair than the relentless pursuit of our own happiness.’
Hugh MacKay, author of The Good Life
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‘Faced with the crippling paralysis that comes with anxiety and depression, Jill Stark doesn’t completely crumple. Instead, she does what a good journalist does: looks it directly in the face in order to explain, investigate, and reveal. Anyone who reads this book who lives with anxiety will be a beneficiary of its courage and clarity.’
Benjamin Law, author of Gaysia and The Family Law
‘By looking back on her childhood, interviewing experts and amassing anecdotal data, Stark expertly links her lifelong struggle with anxiety with a collective social malaise that is exacerbated by our constant connectivity, underfunded mental healthcare systems and the pervasive ‘happiness myth’ … The book’s resounding takeaway that there are multiple ‘happy-in-betweens’ instead of one ‘happy-ever-after’ is an uplifting and liberating one.’
‘With the same keen eye evident in her previous book, Happy Never After is full of far-reaching and astoundingly thorough research … this is a must-read for anyone who has either struggled with mental health themselves or knows someone who has – and according to Stark, that’s most of us.’
‘Extraordinary … Stark address[es] this vexed question of what effect our over-stimulated, almost constantly wired brains are having on our sense of well-being.’
‘Her personal experience with anxiety gives readers an insight into why we should hit the brakes on our quest for happiness.’
‘This is a book we need. Highly, highly recommended. Puts a deft finger on many things that I guarantee have been quietly troubling you for a while. A book for our times.’
Susan Carland, author of Fighting Hislam: Women, Faith and Sexism
‘Exploratory and explanatory.’
Miriam Cosic, The Saturday Age