Happy All the Time

by Laurie Colwin
Knopf, $7.95
Two young men court and wed two young women in this breezy novel, and all comes right with the world. Though little else of note occurs, Laurie Colwin’s characters are so fresh and likable, and she tells her story with such wit, that the reader, amused and disarmed, wouldn’t think of accusing her of undue sentimentality.
Guido Morris and Vincent Cardworthy, cousins and best friends, are undeniably the stuff of which Wodehouse heroes were made. They are goodnatured, generous, and old-fashioned in love; both work at rather silly jobs; both are held in willing enslavement and perpetual confusion by the strongminded women they fancy. Holly Sturgis drives Guido to helpless rage by never saying how she feels. Misty Berkowitz exhausts Vincent by religiously saying or doing the opposite of what she wants to. “In the old days,” says Guido, “there weren’t any Hollys or Mistys. Our trouble is that we don’t know how things are supposed to be any more.”
But their difficulties are minor, quickly overcome, and the foursome exits drinking a toast to their happiness present and future. The author of Passion and Affect and Shine On Bright and Dangerous Object has delivered in her third book a lighthearted, genuinely funny treat for the romantically minded.