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What If This Were Enough?: Essays
By Heather Havrilesky
(Doubleday)

What if this were enough? It’s the seemingly simple, but ultimately profound question that permeates Heather Havrilesky’s first essay collection. In it, she delves into her own personal grievances and those she has with culture as a whole. (Let’s just say, she’s not sold on the fact that Disneyland is the happiest place on Earth.)

Just like in “Ask Polly,” her advice column for The Cut, Havrilesky’s essays urge readers to dismiss society’s concept of “enough” and instead define it for themselves. For her, romance isn’t big gestures, but rather, her husband cleaning her up after a bout of dysentery. Havrilesky’s writing meanders in languid ways that may require a re-read or two. But in fact, there is a through-line from haunted houses to author Shirley Jackson to Girls, and you’ll be happy she laid it all out for you. With What If This Were Enough?, Havrilesky contemplates the possibility that we miss life’s subtle beauty by worrying about being or doing or having enough. Reading this collection should be enough to convince you that she’s on to something. (5/5)

By Shannon Carlin
What If This Were Enough? is out October 2, 2018
This article originally appeared in the October/November 2018  print edition of BUST Magazine. Subscribe today!

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