Alexandra Grant: Ode to Happiness

Ode to Happiness
Steidl, 2011
Hardcover, 40 pages, $55

Alexandra Grant (MFA 2000) illustrates this book by the celebrated actor and writer Keanu Reeves. It is a grown-up's picture book about making the best of a bad situation, a charming reminder not to take oneself too seriously. In the tradition of a classic "hurtin' song," Reeves's text externalizes a melancholy internal monologue and subtly pokes fun at it. Grant's images, delicately realized in somber inky washes, reflect the dark and light, the pathos and humor, of the text. Neither entirely earnest nor wholly ironic, Ode to Happiness is both a meditation and a gentle tease about how we cope with life's sorrows.