Women and the New Psychology of Happiness
By Ariel Gore
(Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Hardcover, 9780374114893, 208pp.)
Publication Date: January 19, 2010
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CAN A WOMAN BE SMART, EMPOWERED, AND HAPPY ?
Happiness has become a serious business. Where twentiethcentury psychology focused on depression and illness, in the new millennium scientists have begun focusing on “positive psychology”—the study of happiness. Ariel Gore first became intrigued by this subject when she discovered that Positive Psychology was the most popular course on the Harvard campus. As she read deeper into the topic, she noticed something disturbing: everyone in this happy land was a man. Worse still, some of these new “experts” seemed hell-bent on proving that women with traditional values and breadwinning husbands—those who had made “an effort to expect less,” according to one sociologist—were more content than women with feminist values. The more she read the more she wondered: Can a woman be smart, empowered, and happy? Determined to find out, Gore began her own “study in living”— a journey into the feminine history, science, and experience of happiness. Her results, chronicled with humor and curiosity in Bluebird, are by turns fascinating and enriching. A woman’s happiness may not come easy, and it may not take the forms prescribed by popular culture. But, as Gore discovers, it is not only possible but necessary. Bluebird is a smart, no-nonsense, uplifting study of the real secret of joy, and whether it’s truly at odds with the goals of modern women.
ARIEL GORE is the author of numerous books on parenting, the novel The Traveling Death and Resurrection Show, the memoir Atlas of the Human Heart, and the guidebook How to Become a Famous Writer Before You’re Dead.