Book review of “What Makes Women Happy” by Fay Weldon
Reading Fay Weldon is a bit like getting advice from your Mum’s blunt but kind friend. The one that’s known you since you were born and is familiar with your more unappealing habits. Or submitting to the wisdom of the friend who, rather than telling you what you want to hear, confirms what your better self has already intimated. “Twelve pairs of shoes are fine, but twenty-four are pushing it” she suggests in “What Makes Women Happy”, the book she wrote in 2006, aged 75. If you think you’ve offended a friend, phone them, a text just won’t do.
Not all of the advice is this prosaic and some of it is downright shocking (Weldon heads it up as “irresponsible advice”). If sex is no longer part of your relationship, then why not seek out “another friend”? Not too many questions will be asked if you go away for the odd weekend, she writes. Want a baby but it isn’t happening naturally? Follow the example of her friend Clara, whose husband is still blissfully unaware that their first child is the product of a liaison with a “drunken medical student”. Oh, and when it comes to orgasms: “Just fake”. Some feminists are likely to take issue with her suggestion that “The fight for gender equality is bad for the looks”.