THE BIG HAPPY by Scott Mebus


Email this review


News flash: Many men are afraid of commitment.

David, the protagonist of the second novel by Mebus (Booty Nomad, 2004), is a young Manhattanite whose ambition is surpassed only by his shallow self-regard. He jettisoned a lucrative career in TV production to concentrate on his novel, which is inspired by his last breakup, and he bemoans the fact that his friends are doing crazy stuff like hooking up and settling down. (Clearly they ought to be living a lifestyle more like his, which involves collecting rejection letters, occupying a shoebox apartment and being barely competent at his weekend job as a wedding deejay.) David adores his tribe for being “sarcastic, overly intellectual, competitive smart-asses,” so he’s pained by the transformation of his friend Annie, who’s engaged to a decent fellow David takes to calling Rat Boy. He dubs another friend’s girlfriend Donkey Girl, and pretty quickly it’s clear that anybody who enjoys conjuring up infantile nicknames for his friends’ significant others is the guy with the problem. But though Mebus acknowledges that David could stand to grow up a little, he’s oddly confident that this egotistical, emotionally stunted fool is some kind of hero. The snark just keeps on coming, with David stubbornly cracking wise about his quirky (but less-brilliant) friends and family members. His love interest is a woman named Janey who waitresses at many of the weddings at which David deejays, and she’s interested in getting into TV production and—well, enough about Janey, what about David’s needs? The plot centers less on any would-be romance than on David’s efforts to wreck the relationship between Annie and Rat Boy with the help of Zach, who’s a stereotype twofer (trust-fund brat; promiscuous gay man). David eventually reaches the stunning conclusion that maybe, just maybe, people are allowed to make choices others may disagree with; most people could figure that out without being fed 300-plus pages of bad jokes.

Wearying fluff.

Pub Date: June 21st, 2006
ISBN: 1-4013-5256-1
Page count: 384pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15th, 2006