Review of The Invoice by Jonas Karlsson

This is the story of a nameless main character who at first glance seems to be living an eBook Review Gal Book Review of The Invoice by Jonas Karlssonunproductive, aimless and boring life. He works part-time at a local video store, rents a modest apartment, has only one close friend and cherishes his solitary life. When he receives an astronomical bill from a mysterious entity calling itself W.R.D. he’s sure it’s a scam. Digging deeper, he finds the bill reflects his “external happiness” score, aka “E.H”, and he’s convinced there’s some mistake. After all, there are people with more money, more friends and better lives than his; surely these things make them happier. He takes his case to the head of W.R.D., who reviews it thoroughly, only to multiply the total several times over, quickly putting him over the “debt ceiling”. W.R.D. must then determine what’s to be done with someone who owes so much but has no way to pay.

I wasn’t sure what to make of this book at first. When I began reading, I was fooled into thinking that the author was simply writing an account of a boring, ordinary man going about his dreary, mundane life and I wondered where he was going with it. In fact, I almost gave up after just a few pages. However, I’m glad that I gave it a chance. There is so much more to this story than what happens in the first couple or so chapters.

Happiness, what it means to us and how we perceive it is at the root of The Invoice. There’s a passage where the main character is describing a scene from a movie and it’s clear that he’s been deeply impacted by it. Yet, another character describes the same exact scene as being boring and unremarkable. Clearly, happiness means different things to different people and happy people tend to view the world around them more positively.

Although we never really find out what the W.R.D organization actually is or why they’re charging people for their happiness, I found that it didn’t matter. This book is quirky and odd, yet I found it to be intriguingly philosophical. It definitely makes you think about what true happiness is and I enjoyed it immensely.

5 of 5 Stars, Review by Susan Barton

eBook Review Gal received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.