What If This Were Enough?

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 16 Oct 2018

Member Reviews

Sometimes essay collections can be a little tricky - I find that often there are some really good pieces, but that I might not connect to all of them. This was exactly how I felt about Havrilesky's work. I was completely into some of the essays, and then felt a little blah about some other ones. She covers a huge range of topics - everything from Disneyland to "The Sopranos," with my favorites touching on popular culture and entertainment. I also felt like I had a harder time with some of her writing style choices - her syntax forced me to concentrate really hard, instead of the reading feeling effortless (although this probably has more to do with me than her). I would be interested in reading more of her essays in the future if the topics were intriguing to me.
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Love Heather Havrilevsky and was excited to see her releasing a collection of essays.  I found them all to be thought-provoking and intelligent.  She's an excellent writer and her take on modern life is eye-opening and inspiring.
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I enjoyed Havrilesky's first collection tremendously and this proved equally thoughtful and well written. There have been a lot of great essay collections to come out recently and we readers are lucky to have them. This collection belongs in that stack and is a thoughtful, critical, fresh look at things that are often overlooked. I found it very insightful.
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I haven't read Havrilesky's Ask Polly columns, but I have heard a lot about her because of them, so I was excited to pick up this book. The essays are a combination of pop culture, personal and advice, which were sometimes combined in ways that were unexpected.  I found the tone of this book to be a bit more pessimistic than I expected, especially because the essays are being marketed as "inspiring." Although it's well written, and  there are some gems in here, I overall felt like this book just wasn't for me.
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I so wanted to love this book, but just couldn't get there. I see where the writer was going, and I loved the first essay, but subsequent chapters seemed discordantly harsh against the book's gentle title. I also wish the writer had done a better job of establishing herself as an authority from the outset - it can be hard to accept advice and strong opinions from someone before you've decided to trust them.
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I found this book to be powerful and essential especially during these times of domestic turmoil in the United States. I liked the abrupt approach in which Havrilesky went about gathering her thoughts on matters and dispensing the appropriate wisdom. This book is timely and simply well crafted. It is sure to bring perspective to any who need it. I know I sure did!
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This essay collection is extremely well written and a cohesive collection examining materialism, consumerism, and related issues. Havrilesky examines these issues in a thoughtful - and thought-provoking - way, which I really appreciate. Her writing resonates with me. My one disappointment is that this particular collection does not feel as personal or as empowering as her Ask Polly columns often do. What I admire about Ask Polly is how she both empowers the person to whom she's giving advice while at the same time holding them accountable. She is so moving and persuasive when it comes to being a good person - what does it mean to be a good person? What does it take? WHAT IF THIS WERE ENOUGH does not often delve down to that personal level and many of the essays are somewhat negative in tone, as you might guess from the subject matter. Nonetheless, if the subject matter interests you by all means grab this book!
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I enjoyed all of these essays and truly loved many of them. Though, if I never take my children to Disneyworld, they'll have Heather Havrilesky to blame.
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3.5 Stars

Havrilesky’s aptly named book of essays examines and critiques materialism, consumption, and our obsession with consumerism and the pursuit of happiness. Pulling largely from pop culture and current trends and fads, she delves into the world of foodies, 50 Shades, Disneyland, The Sopranos, romance, and so much more. Each essay is strong in their own right and collectively they make a small tome that packs a punch and causes one to examine their own lust for such things.
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This book explores the modern culture and its obsession with “new” and constant self improvement. It’s an interesting examination, though at times a little pompous.
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I found this collection of essays to be well written. This would be great for fans of the authors column. 

I would like to thank Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with a review copy in exchange for my honest and unbiased opinion of it.
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Highly recommend! If you loved Ask Polly you will love this book. Almost like a philosophy book, in the best possible way.  Very aligning, and turning towards positive thinking.
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