FeaturedComing of Age

Happy as Larry: A New York Story of Cults, Crushes and Quaaludes


Loved it! 😍

Cherney superbly explores the complexities of grief, society and family.

Cherney’s novel is a beautifully written account of Saskia Soyer’s downward spiral after her father’s death. The writing is fluid and buoyant; taking you from one part of Saskia’s story to the next. It isn’t an easy ride, however, as moments like Saskia’s encounters with Rick, substance abuse and Grey, the therapist who holds great influence over her siblings, prove to be unsettling, uncomfortable or downright frightening. 

Saskia’s journey is brimming with darkness, light, hormones and hedonism but not one moment is unbelievable. Yes, some parts are crazy but others are incredibly normal; such as the family having no choice but to downsize when money gets tight. I think any adult can see a part of themselves in Saskia’s story because it isn’t just a coming-of-age novel, it’s also an exploration of grief. 

Cherney reveals how grief appears in many ways, changes you in many ways and does not just apply to those who are dead. Saskia and her family grieve; they grieve for their late father, who they once were and what they once were. 

Thus, whether you know New York or not, the fact Saskia goes looking for herself not realising she was ‘it’ all along is something we can all undoubtedly relate to, as well as raise a glass to the mess of our teenage years.

Reviewed by

I am a writer and freelance editor/proofreader based in the UK. I have self-published two poetry collections (Between the Trees and Flowers on the Wall). I enjoy reviewing poetry, short stories, literary fiction and historical fiction. I am the Editor-in-Chief for Free Verse Revolution magazine.


About the author

Kaethe Cherney is a native New Yorker with a background in film production and theatre. She holds an MA in Script Writing from Goldsmiths University. Her short film and two plays have been produced in London, where she lives with her husband and two children. ‘Happy as Larry’ is her first novel. view profile

Published on November 27, 2018

Published by

80000 words

Contains mild explicit content ⚠️

Genre: Coming of Age

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