Cumbernauld was built to be the town of the future…that is, if the future looked like a really rubbish episode of Doctor Who. It’s also home to Walter Wedgeworth, a child stuck in a uniquely dysfunctional family controlled by the tyrannical Fishtank, whose CB Radio aerial is a metal middle finger to all the neighbours on Craigieburn Road. When 11-year-old Walter discovers the corpse of a baby inside a cardboard box, he resolves to ignore it, pretend it didn’t happen. But the child’s fate haunts Walter, bringing him into conflict with the world around him. Walter’s journey will lead him from childhood to adulthood; school, college, bereavement, Britpop, his first job, Blackpool, the Spice Girls, feuds with his neighbour, and finally…face-to-face with a child killer. Taking place in the 90s, Happiness Is Wasted On Me is a genre-blending tale that spans a decade in the life of Walter. It’s a coming of age tale, a family drama, a mystery, and a biting dark comedy. Ultimately, it’s the story of how even the strangest people can find their way in the world.
*Available on paperback via Fledgling Press and digital worldwide via Faber Factory*
Undiscovered Scotland wrote: There are books you enjoy and then forget. There’s nothing wrong with that. Just move on and find another book to enjoy, then probably forget that one too. Much rarer is the experience of stumbling across a book that you know immediately will stick in the mind; a book that gets under the skin; a book that stands out from the crowd; a book you might even find time to come back to and read again one day. “Happiness is Wasted on Me” by Kirkland Ciccone is one of those rare creatures.
The Bookwitch wrote: Kirkland Ciccone has done that thing which is so often a good move for an author. He has gone home. To Cumbernauld, in fact. Not that he ever left, but in writing his new – adult* – novel, Happiness Is Wasted On Me, he has re-visited his own life. I don’t care how much he says he’s not Walter. This book is home… I can’t recommend Kirkland’s book enough.
Book Banter wrote: This is a comedic, yet darkly funny tale and there’s no way of giving it a genre…. It’s unique.
Fleaing wrote: This is a beautiful coming of age tale filled with heartache and laugh out loud moments, all with a sprinkling of 90s nostalgia. Please go read this you won’t be disappointed!