Review: The Unexpected Joy of the Ordinary by Catherine Gray
Danni Darrah reviews one of her most loved novels
It’s no secret that I’m a fan of the self-help genre. I’ve read how to not give a f*** with Manson, understood the ways of a calm life with Fearne Cotton and even tried finding the clothes that spark joy with Marie. However, admittedly, nothing hit the mark as well as Catherine Gray’s The Unexpected Joy of the Ordinary; a book that puts into practice the ways to find the pleasure in the ordinary and understand the psychology behind our need for the extraordinary— or just more.
I went through a period of ignoring limits and misunderstanding how to manifest my own happiness. I refused to acknowledge that my materialism was quite detrimental to my mental health and my bank balance until I decided to read Gray’s book. To summarise, this book covers everything from the reason we rush to buy new outfits for every occasion to understanding how acknowledging small pleasures, or ordinary joys, can shift our capitalist-wired, often anxious mindsets.
To discuss a couple of my favourite ideas of the book; firstly, the hedonic treadmill theory. This is defined by our consistent desire for more after the initial novelty of an item has worn off, essentially illustrating why we go to the Apple store for the next iPhone even though our current one is fine. Also, the idea that our brains have adapted to spot the negative points in any situation, dating back to the caveman eras when we would scan a landscape for potential danger. This perfectly explains the reason that majority of us will jump to think of the worst-case scenario.
Although this may not be my favourite book, (I have too many of those) I would recommend this to aid anyone wanting to, like me, step back and appreciate what they currently have.