A funny, sad and serious memoir, How to Be Happy is David Burton's story of his turbulent life at high school and beyond. Feeling out of place and convinced that he is not normal, David has a rocky start. He longs to have a girlfriend, but his first 'date' is a disaster. There's the catastrophe of the school swimming carnival-David is not sporty-and friendships that take devastating turns. Then he finds some solace in drama classes with the creation of 'Crazy Dave', and he builds a life where everything is fine. But everything is not fine.
And, at the centre of it all, trying desperately to work it all out, is the real David.
How to Be Happy tackles depression, friendship, sexual identity, suicide, academic pressure, love and adolescent confusion. It's a brave and honest account of one young man's search for a happy, true and meaningful life that will resonate with readers young and old.
David Burton is a twenty-seven-year-old writer from Brisbane, best known for his theatre work. His play April's Fool (Playlab Press) toured nationally in 2012. He has recently co-written Hedonism's Second Album for La Boite indie, and The Landmine Is Me for Queensland Theatre Company. A speaker and presenter in school across Queensland, David is passionate about sharing his remarkable story with young people. How to Be Happy won the Text Prize for Young Adult and Children's Writing in 2014.
'[Burton] delivers some devastating truth bombs. Sexuality is hard. Identity is hard. Love is hard. School is hard...This book shines a much-needed light back through the tunnel. It is a call-out to teenagers still struggling to find their way. How to Be Happy says "here's the path I took, hope it helps".' Books & Publishing
'I'm blown away by Burton's raw honesty and admirable wit.' Alpha Reader
'A fast-paced read that reminded me of one of my favourite memoirs, I thoroughly enjoyed this book.' Bumbling Bookworm