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Download Ode to Happiness PDF: Keanu Reeves' Parody of Self-Help Books

Ode to Happiness: Keanu Reeves' Poetic Gift to the World


Keanu Reeves is a famous Hollywood actor who has starred in many blockbuster movies such as The Matrix, Speed, and John Wick. But did you know that he is also a writer and a poet? In 2011, he published his first book, Ode to Happiness, a "grown-up's picture book" that combines his humorous poem with the beautiful artwork of Alexandra Grant. In this article, we will explore what Ode to Happiness is, how it came about, who are the collaborators, and what makes it a unique and charming work of art.

Ode To Happiness Keanu Reeves Pdf Download


What is Ode to Happiness?

Ode to Happiness is a slim, handstitched book that features a poem written by Keanu Reeves and drawings made by Alexandra Grant. The poem consists of 16 lines, each describing a different way of wallowing in sadness and self-pity. For example, the first line reads: "I draw a hot sorrow bath". The drawings are simple blotted ink images that accompany each line of the poem. The book is meant to be a tongue-in-cheek reminder not to take oneself too seriously and to make the best of a bad situation.

How did it come about?

The book started out as a private joke between friends. One night, Reeves was at his house with his friend Janey Bergam, who was the editor of the book. They were listening to some sad songs and Reeves, in the spirit of poking fun at them, began to write a poem. He gave the poem to Bergam, who passed it on to Grant, who was another friend of theirs and an artist. Grant spent six months making the poem into a book as a gift for Reeves. When Reeves saw the book, he loved it and decided to share it with others.

Who are the collaborators?

Keanu Reeves, born in 1964 in Beirut, is a celebrated actor and writer. He has appeared in over 70 films and television shows, including Point Break, The Devil's Advocate, The Lake House, and The Matrix trilogy. He has also performed on stage, notably in an acclaimed portrayal of Shakespeare's Hamlet. He is known for being a generous and humble person who supports various charitable causes.

Alexandra Grant, born in 1973 in Fairview Park, Ohio, is a Los Angeles-based artist who uses language and words as the basis for her paintings, drawings, and sculptures. She has exhibited at institutions such as the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, the California Biennial, Orange County Museum of Art, and the Contemporary Museum, Baltimore. She has collaborated with other artists and writers such as Michael Joyce and Hélène Cixous. She is also a founding member of the Watts House Project, a community arts organization in Los Angeles.

The Poem

The poem in Ode to Happiness is a parody of the self-help genre and the clichés of expressing sadness. It uses irony and exaggeration to mock the ways that people indulge in their misery and isolate themselves from the world. It also invites the reader to laugh at themselves and their own problems, and to realize that happiness is a choice and a state of mind.

The first line: I draw a hot sorrow bath

The first line of the poem sets the tone for the rest of the book. It introduces the idea of sorrow as something that can be drawn, like water or a picture. It also suggests that the speaker is deliberately choosing to immerse himself in his sadness, as if it were a relaxing or therapeutic activity. The word "hot" implies that the sorrow is intense and burning, but also that it might soothe or comfort the speaker.

The second line: In my despair room

The second line continues the theme of sorrow as something tangible and spatial. The speaker has a room dedicated to his despair, where he can go and be alone with his feelings. The room is also a metaphor for his state of mind, which is dark, gloomy, and hopeless. The word "my" indicates that the speaker owns his despair and identifies with it.

The third line: I wash my hair with regret shampoo

The third line introduces another element of self-pity: regret. The speaker uses regret as a shampoo, as if he were trying to cleanse himself of his past mistakes or missed opportunities. However, by using regret as a shampoo, he is also rubbing it into his hair and scalp, making it harder to get rid of. The word "wash" implies that the speaker is trying to purify or renew himself, but he is using the wrong substance.

The rest of the lines

The rest of the lines follow the same pattern of using everyday objects and actions to describe different aspects of sadness and self-loathing. For example, the speaker uses pain soap, I hate myself face cream, alone again silk pyjamas, and so on. Each line adds a layer of irony and humor to the poem, as well as a sense of absurdity and exaggeration. The poem ends with the line: "And then I go to sleep", suggesting that the speaker has completed his ritual of wallowing in his misery and has nothing else to do.

The Artwork

The artwork in Ode to Happiness is a series of blotted ink drawings that complement and contrast with the poem. The drawings are simple, abstract, and expressive, creating a visual rhythm and harmony with the text. The artwork also adds meaning and symbolism to the poem, as well as a sense of beauty and joy.

The style and technique of Alexandra Grant

Alexandra Grant is an artist who works with language and words as her primary material. She uses different media such as painting, drawing, sculpture, photography, and video to explore the relationship between text and image, meaning and form, communication and expression. She often collaborates with other writers and artists to create works that are dialogical and interdisciplinary.

For Ode to Happiness, Grant used a technique called blotted ink drawing, which involves applying ink on one sheet of paper and then pressing another sheet on top of it to create a mirror image. This technique was popularized by Andy Warhol in the 1950s, who used it to create illustrations for magazines and advertisements. Grant used this technique to create spontaneous and symmetrical images that resemble Rorschach tests or inkblots.

The meaning and symbolism of the images

The images in Ode to Happiness are not literal illustrations of the poem, but rather suggestive interpretations that evoke different emotions and associations. For example, the image for the first line shows two blobs of ink that resemble tears or drops of water. The image for the second line shows a dark shape that resembles a door or a window. The image for the third line shows two curved lines that resemble hair or waves.

The images also have symbolic meanings that relate to the theme of happiness. For example, the image for the fourth line shows a circle that resembles a sun or a smile. The image for the ninth line shows two triangles that resemble mountains or pyramids. The image for the last line shows a star or a flower. These images suggest that happiness can be found in nature, in geometry, in light, and in life.

The collaboration with Keanu Reeves

The Book

The book in Ode to Happiness is a facsimile of the original gift book that Grant made for Reeves. The book is designed and produced with high quality and care, reflecting the artistic vision and collaboration of the creators. The book also received positive reception and reviews from critics and readers, who appreciated its humor and beauty. The book is available for purchase online and in selected bookstores, but it is a limited edition and a collector's item.

The design and production of the book

The book in Ode to Happiness is printed on thick, archival paper with a handstitched binding and a slipcase. The book is published by Steidl, a renowned German publisher of art books, who worked closely with Grant and Reeves to reproduce their original work. The book is also signed by both Grant and Reeves, making it a personal and authentic expression of their friendship and creativity.

The reception and reviews of the book

The book in Ode to Happiness received favorable reviews from critics and readers, who praised its wit and charm. For example, the BBC News entertainment reporter Genevieve Hassan wrote: "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." The book also attracted attention from fans of Reeves, who were curious to see his literary side. The book sold out quickly after its release, and became a sought-after item among collectors.

The availability and price of the book

The book in Ode to Happiness is available for purchase online from various websites such as Amazon, eBay, and AbeBooks. However, the book is a limited edition of 4,000 copies, and it is out of print from the publisher. Therefore, the price of the book varies depending on the seller and the condition of the book. The average price of the book ranges from $200 to $500, but some sellers may charge more or less.


Ode to Happiness is a unique and delightful work of art that showcases the talents and personalities of Keanu Reeves and Alexandra Grant. It is a humorous and poetic response to the challenges and sorrows of life, as well as a celebration of friendship and creativity. It is also a beautiful and rare book that appeals to fans of art, literature, and cinema. If you are looking for a gift that will make you smile and think, Ode to Happiness might be the perfect choice for you.


  • Q: Is Ode to Happiness a serious or a funny book?

  • A: Ode to Happiness is both serious and funny. It is serious in the sense that it deals with themes such as sadness, regret, loneliness, and despair. It is funny in the sense that it uses irony, exaggeration, and parody to poke fun at these themes and at oneself.

  • Q: Is Ode to Happiness a children's book?

  • A: Ode to Happiness is not a children's book. It is a grown-up's picture book that may not be suitable or understandable for young readers. However, some adults may enjoy reading it with their children or grandchildren.

  • Q: Is Ode to Happiness autobiographical?

  • A: Ode to Happiness is not autobiographical. It is not based on the personal lives or experiences of Keanu Reeves or Alexandra Grant. It is a fictional work that reflects their sense of humor and artistic vision.

  • Q: Is Ode to Happiness available in other languages?

  • A: Ode to Happiness is only available in English. There are no official translations or editions in other languages.

  • Q: Is Ode to Happiness related to Shadows, another book by Keanu Reeves and Alexandra Grant?

  • A: Ode to Happiness is not related to Shadows, another book by Keanu Reeves and Alexandra Grant that was published in 2016. Shadows is a different work of art that features photographs by Grant and texts by Reeves. It explores the theme of shadows as a metaphor for the dark and light aspects of life.



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