There's a woman I work with who thinks all the books I read are depressing. I argued for a bit but there was really no point. Our opinions diverge and that is all.
If pressed to explain, I would have said that I actually have a tendency to avoid the overtly depressing books on my shelf. I know I should read them because they are supposedly good but I have a hard time forcing myself to open the covers. A lot of what I read isn't depressing at all, at least to me. It's honest.
The funny thing is that, once I read the darker books, I usually wonder why I stayed away from them for so long. Maggie Helwig's Girls Fall Down comes to mind as an example of this. A story about a photographer losing his eyesight to diabetes while a strange affliction takes hold of the city didn't portend to be the sunniest of reading choices. Once I opened the cover, though, I was hooked, drawn in by a story that, while dark, was not without hope.
The same thing happened with February, Lisa Moore's novel about a woman and her family after the husband dies on the Ocean Ranger. It kept getting bumped by other books on my TBR pile. Finally, I couldn't postpone it any longer and I dug in.
Frankly, it's an incredible book. Dancing back and forth between the present and the past, the book is an honest imagining of what happens when the world changes suddenly.
The book shifts between Helen, the wife, and John, her son. Helen is in her mid-fifties and still coming to terms with the loss. She has moved on in a number ways but her thoughts and emotions are still tied to that event. John is in his thirties and is dealing with the unexpected news that he is going to be a father.
I strongly recommend this book. Sure, it's not the happiest book out there but it is honest. For me, it's this honesty that makes makes it worthwhile. When there are moments of happiness (and there is happiness), they feel well earned and somehow more rewarding than a book those found in a book that takes the easy way.