Janet wears a cloak of gloomy realism, until one summer when she learns of a new pill that offers even confirmed cynics a short-term taste of happiness. Her family stages an intervention, her boyfriend leaves her, and she decides to take the pill to get through the Christmas holiday. What follows is life-changing for all concerned, in ways no one expected.
The narrative voice of Janet in Britsch’s debut novel is a skin-tingling combination of new and necessary ... The joy of Janet’s narration is in her self-acceptance, which results in surprising notes of humor and profound truths ... This book and this character are radical, and readers are likely to feel a relief at reading the thoughts they’ve had but not spoken.
In Britsch’s darkly comic debut, a deadpan, abrasive narrator muses on her depression ... Preternaturally self-aware, Janet has a gift for homing in on her own emotional state and everyone else’s, which Britsch renders in rueful, knowing prose that may land or miss, depending on if the reader can relate to pronouncements such as 'the cool kids call it melancholia, because of that Lars von Trier movie.' Still, Britsch’s monologue about the experience of unhappiness is undeniably infectious.