Is there an aspect of your life that you’re not proud of and you wish you could forget? If you had the chance to erase any of your memories for a better life, would you do it?
In More Happy Than Not, the experimental Leteo procedure is designed to make people forget things. It’s used to make people forget the bad decisions that they made, for murderers forget their evil deeds, for the grief-stricken to forget loved ones who have passed. As for Aaron Soto, he wants to forget that he’s gay because he thinks it is central to all his problems in life. All in all, the Leteo procedures is for the pursuit of happiness. Or the idea of it, anyway.
Aaron has had a hard life, as he’s lost in the aftermath of a dead father and his own suicide attempt. We’re introduced to Aaron as he hangs out with his friends, falls in love all over again with his girlfriend Genevieve and meets his new best friend, Thomas. The slow start to the book is quite draggy, without much depth and information about Aaron’s background. I started to lose interest, wondering whether it was going to get better…but patience paid off and oh boy, it really DID get better.
From his friendship with Thomas, to realising that there may be something more and his subsequent confusion over Genevieve, I felt things progressed a bit too quickly for Aaron. The book takes a lot of time building up the friendship with Thomas as they get to know each other, without much background behind their developing feelings. If you’re like me, you’ll question the lack of emotional development between the characters. But as I kept on reading, all the pieces fell into place and the twists were completely unexpected.
I loved how the book explored gay relationships and the pain, truth and guilt that people endure to live with their decisions. Being gay is not a choice, and I was really touched by the author’s note at the end where he believed that it was in his youth. If you could choose to be straight or gay, then why would you choose the hardest path? This book explores the nuances of that in a raw and honest way, showing the hidden sides to many people around Aaron. While I didn’t agree with some of the character’s decisions, I could see why it happened that way because everyone chooses the path that will bring them the most perceived joy.
Memories: some can be sucker punching, others carry you forward; some stay with you forever, others you forget on your own.
More Happy Than Not is a mind bending experience, one that you’ll immediately want to relive again once you reach the last pages. Once you have the full story, it’s easier to go back and find out why things happened the way they did. Aside from the slow beginning, I loved how More Happy Than Not played out, with the unreliable narration, to the sci-fi concept, the LGBT representation, while questioning the true meaning of happiness.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
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