Title: Secrets to Happiness
Author: Sarah Dunn
Release Date: March 25, 2009
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Genre: Chick Lit
Rating: 4 out of 5
From the dust jacket:
Holly Frick has just endured the worst kind of breakup: the kind where you’re still in love with the person leaving you. While her wounds are still dangerously close to the surface, her happily married best friend confesses over a bottle of wine that she is this close to having an affair. And another woman comes to Holly for advice about her love life–with Holly’s ex!
Holly decides that if everyone around her can take pleasure wherever they find it, so will she. As any self-respecting 30ish New York woman would do, she brings two males into her life: a flawed but endearing dog, and a good natured, much younger lover. She’s soon entangled in a web of emails, chance meetings, and misguided good intentions and must forge an entirely new path to Nirvana.
From the author of The Big Love: A Novel, Secrets to Happiness is a big-hearted, knife-sharp, and hilariously entertaining story about the perils of love and friendship, sex and betrayal–and a thoroughly modern take on our struggle to be happy.
Though the summary of Secrets to Happiness makes it sound like a typical chick lit novel revolving around a single character (in this case, Holly Frick), it most certainly isn’t just that. Secrets to Happiness is the story of multiple people living in New York City whose lives are intertwined. It doesn’t provide bubble gum cheeriness; instead, it shows a realistic and often amusing portrait of life in New York City.
Holly was definitely my favorite character in the book. She was easy to like and I loved her nature. I thought her adoption of Chester was so sweet – it’s something I hope I would do in similar circumstances.
“I fell in love with him, and then when I said I wanted to adopt him, the woman who ran the shelter explained what the deal was. I couldn’t say then to Chester, I wanted you, but now that I know you aren’t perfect, I’ll have to take a pass, good luck to you, enjoy the gas chamber, I’m going to go pick out a better, tumor-free dog” (page 54-55)
Under those circumstances, I think most of us would simply pick out a different dog without thinking about it too much. But not Holly, and I loved her for it.
Lester honestly wasn’t that likeable, but it was okay because he was really funny. The way he thought was completely foreign to me, but it made him that much more amusing. I can’t say I really liked Holly’s best friend Amanda, but she seemed more confused than anything else. I almost pitied her.
Secrets to Happiness is a fun read that is great if you are looking for something light. It doesn’t get too deep, but also isn’t mind-numbingly happy – it’s a nice balance that most readers will appreciate. The characters are well-developed and the book is funny – Dunn is talented at writing humor, a talent I hope she continues to explore in her subsequent novels. If you are a fan of chick lit, you should definitely pick this one up! I certainly enjoyed it and I think you will too.
Thank you to Miriam for sending me a copy of this book to review!