'Sad Keanu' Reeves pens book titled 'Ode to Happiness'

Keanu Reeves Marrakech Film Festival 2011
Dominique Charriau/Getty Images

MARRAKECH, MOROCCO - DECEMBER 05:  Actor Keanu Reeves attends the tribute to James Caan  during the 10th Marrakech Film Festival on December 5, 2010 in Marrakech, Morocco. 

The actor pokes fun at his nickname with picture book.

If Keanu Reeves is perpetually sad, it apparently hasn’t affected his sense of humor.

The actor earned the nickname “Sad Keanu” in 2010 after being photographed snacking alone on a park bench looking sullen. A series of long-faced photographs later surfaced in an Internet meme, prompting a Facebook campaign to make June 15th “Unofficial Cheer-up Keanu Day.”

Now, Reeves has lent his hand to a “grown up’s picture book,” which makes light of his melancholy persona titled “Ode to Happiness.” The book features a series of inkblot drawings by Los Angeles artist Alexandra Grant, which are designed to appear as if they have been stained by falling tears. Accompanying each photo is a line from Reeves’ poem, beginning with the phrase: “I draw a hot sorrow bath/In my despair room.”

“Our friend [editor Janey Bergam] sat at Keanu’s house one night listening to wonderfully sad self-pitying songs,” Grant explains of how the concept came to fruition. “Keanu, in the spirit of poking fun at them, began to write a poem.”

Bergman then brought the text to the artist, who spent six months turning it into a book. It was later presented to Reeves as a gift, which he loved so much that he wanted to share it with the world.

“It’s only personal in the sense of looking out and regarding my sense of humor,” he says of the context. “I don’t usually take baths in my despair room with a misery candle burning.” 

The hand-stitched writing has been limited to only 4,000 copies and according to Grant, is “very much an artist’s book – a book that’s meant to be held and touched. We really cared about the quality of the paper as the drawings are really prints.”

The book retails for $55 and interestingly enough, wasn’t created in direct response to the “Sad Keanu” meme. According to The Stir, Reeves insists that the book was finished in August 2009, long preceding “Cheer Up Keanu Day.”