Bluebird: Women And The New Psychology Of Happiness

by Debbie Stoller

The trend in positive psychology interested memoirist Ariel Gore, especially after further reading uncovered a rash of male experts seemingly out to prove that women with traditional lifestyles were happiest. Bluebird is her personal journey into happiness.

Unearthing the secrets of feminine joy is the task that memoirist and hip mama Ariel Gore sets for herself in this likable and emotionally intelligent new book. Initially, Gore looks to the new science of positive psychology for answers. But discovering that the field’s male-dominated rhetoric doesn’t mesh with the complexity of women’s experiences, she decides to augment its findings with a more personalized study in living joyfully, using herself and a group of women friends as subjects. Bluebird is the eclectic, funny, and honest chronicle of this empowering feminist quest for bliss. Gore’s is a meandering exploration that involves some enlightening scientific and cultural history (the first cheerleader was a guy, for instance), not to mention a lot of soul-searching and journaling (she quotes her friends amply). And what is the formula for happiness? Predictably, but no less important, Gore finds that it is an individualized experience dependent upon a woman’s ability to step back and question the cultural scripts she’s been given, whether modern feminist or ’50s traditional. The most contented women prove to be those who are able to determine for themselves what happiness is-as well as the best path to it. “We can write our own scripts, write our own stories,” Gore entreats, and writing her own story is exactly what she has done in Bluebird.

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