Book Review: The Survivor’s Guide to Family Happiness – Maddie Dawson

Title: The Survivor’s Guide to Family Happiness
Author: Maddie Dawson
ISBN: 9781503939103
Pages: 372
Release Date: October 25, 2016
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Source: Publisher


After the death of her mother, Nina Popkin feels alone in the world. On a whim, she decides to go in search of her birth mother, the woman who gave her up for adoption. Will Nina find the family and sense of belonging she so desperately needs, or is that something that can only come from within?


A Survivor’s Guide to Family Happiness is a breezy novel featuring a flawed but relatable main character in Nina Popkin. Nina’s life isn’t exactly going smoothly, and she believes that finding her birth mother will solve all her problems. The reader knows that things aren’t quite that simple, and yet it’s easy to see why Nina craves some sort of stability. After the death of her mother, there’s nothing to tether her to the world she lives in. She feels alone. It’s understandable why she’d go out in search of something solid, something she can depend on.

It’s interesting to see how Nina relates to the world in A Survivor’s Guide to Family Happiness. She’s so desperate for family, so sure that it’ll lead to some sort of happy ending, and she can’t see that happiness comes from within. It’s interesting to see her on her journey, as much as for her own personal struggle as how she affects those around her. The people in Nina’s life can’t help but be touched by her optimism and hope.

In the end, A Survivor’s Guide to Family Happiness is a heartwarming story about the messiness of family. Family is what you create in your heart. It’s big and it’s not always neat and it doesn’t always check the boxes we expect, but it’s worth fighting for, as hard as we can.

Other books by Maddie Dawson

The Stuff That Never Happened

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