Thursday, June 11, 2009

Review and Blog Tour: Secrets to Happiness by Sarah Dunn

"Holly Frick had had the worst kind of divorce: the kind where you're still in love with the person who is divorcing you. Not "fond of," not "still attached to," not "building a life together" - hopelessly in love with. And it was a year ago exactly that Alex had left her, a fact that had somehow slipped her notice up until earlier that evening, when she went to hail a cab and saw the dried-out Christmas trees heaped in sad piles on the sidewalk. Alex had left her on January third. Kind of like a benevolent CEO who holds off on the pink slips until after the holidays."

Poor Holly. She can't seem to get over Alex, her novel was a flop and her career as a television writer is not going that well, either. For support she leans on friends. Unfortunately, those friends have a whole host of their own problems. Amanda and Mark are married and have a one year old son but Amanda is dissatisfied and considering an affair. Leonard, Holly's drug addicted television writing partner, can't get over the fact that he used to be a huge success and isn't anymore. Spence Samuelson, Holly's ex boyfriend from before she got married (and inspiration of the central character in her failed novel) is commitment-phobic with a ton of girlfriend troubles and an overbearing mother. How is this bunch ever going to help her?

Throughout the novel, Holly struggles with the difference between people doing what they want and what is right. What will make you happy? Doing exactly what you want, regardless of the effect on others? Doing the right thing and consoling yourself with your own goodness? I don't think those questions ever get answered.

I really enjoyed the author's writing style, she is witty and fresh and the book was a fast read. And I thought the premise behind the story was a good one. Unfortunately, it just wasn't a very good fit for me. I didn't understand why Holly was friends with someone like Amanda, though I thought Spence was a great portrait of a bachelor in his thirties who is just realizing that it isn't a great idea to live the rest of his life the way he did his twenties. His growing pains were the best part of the book, in my opinion. The whole story reminded me quite a bit of Sex in the City, a show which I seriously dislike, and that probably contributed to my feelings about it.

For a complete list of blogs participating in this tour, click here. The tour is actually on June 12, so you will find the reviews up then. You can find out more about Sarah Dunn and her books on her website. Thanks to Miriam at Hachette for sending this to me for review!

Secrets to Happiness is published by Little Brown, ISBN 978-0-316-01358-1


bermudaonion said...

I wasn't crazy about this one either.

Anonymous said...

Sorry you didn't love it, Carey. :( Thanks for posting!

Zibilee said...

This doesn't sound like the type of book I would enjoy either. Sorry that this one was slightly disappointing. Hopefully your next read will be better.

Shanyn said...

I have been considering reading this book... I keep reading reviews hoping to be swayed one way or another. I think that I probably won't read it (yours is the second of a so-so review), especially because I would have to inter-library loan it to get it and I generally only do that for highly recommended books. Oh well!

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New Hampshire, United States
Bibliophile, Anglophile, Traveller... I have been an avid reader all of my life, since I took the Dr. Seuss Dictionary away from my Mom when I was less than a year old because I wanted to read it myself. In college, where I earned my degree in English Literature, I was often asked "What are you going to do with it?" Now I finally have the answer to that question!!! Being employed as a Flight Attendant for twenty years has given me a lot of life experience and, better still, a lot of time to read. I love to travel for fun, too.