Michael Piafsky (author); ALL THE HAPPINESS YOU DESERVE; Prospect Park Books (Fiction: Literary) 15.00 ISBN: 9781938849152
Byline: Nancy Rubin Stuart
A modern morality tale of male hubris, high jinks, and humility comes in brilliant prose.
Author and creative writing professor Michael Piafsky is a word wizard who moves readers from pity to humor to pathos in All the Happiness You Deserve. The title is a wry commentary on life's twists and turns that Piafsky's protagonist, Scotty, illustrates as he matures from boyhood to manhood through a destiny determined as much by his behavior as by external circumstances.
Scotty's middle class, Midwestern youth is marred by the behavior of an explosive father and an unhappy mother who abruptly leaves home for two years with his sister and then, just as unaccountably, reappears. "Dinners have become a struggle," Scotty says to himself. "Your father, formerly a joker, an arm puncher, a kidder But this father is in hibernation Your mother distances herself from your father's rare jokes For now, you know only the sudden arguments and the lulls between."
Later, as a young man, still shaken by his sister's recent death in an automobile accident, Scotty begins life anew in Washington state with his girlfriend, Meg. Smitten, he plans to propose to her on a mountaintop ("The ring in your pocket is the rocket fuel pushing you forward"), but after...