Review: Happiness for Beginners by Katherine Center

Posted November 13, 2015 by Erin in Recommendations, Reviews / 2 Comments

Happiness for Beginners Review: Happiness for Beginners by Katherine Centerby Katherine Center
on March 24th 2015
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five-stars
Genres: Chick Lit, Romance
Source: ebook

A year after getting divorced, Helen Carpenter, thirty-two, lets her annoying, ten years younger brother talk her into signing up for a wilderness survival course. It's supposed to be a chance for her to pull herself together again, but when she discovers that her brother's even-more-annoying best friend is also coming on the trip, she can't imagine how it will be anything other than a disaster. Thus begins the strangest adventure of Helen's well-behaved life: three weeks in the remotest wilderness of a mountain range in Wyoming where she will survive mosquito infestations, a surprise summer blizzard, and a group of sorority girls.

Yet, despite everything, the vast wilderness has a way of making Helen's own little life seem bigger, too. And, somehow the people who annoy her the most start teaching her the very things she needs to learn. Like how to stand up for herself. And how being scared can make you brave. And how sometimes you just have to get really, really lost before you can even have a hope of being found.

“To get stronger and toughen up. To care less. To rise up from the ashes of my existence like a really badass phoenix and give life the finger, at last.”

The best way for me to compare my feelings on this gem of a book is: think of being in the woods and breathing in the crispiest breath of fresh air. Take it in, and send it back out. I felt that, I felt the freshness of the book, the story of her on her wilderness trip might of had something to do with that, but trust me in that, the story is so good for the heart, and the soul. If you are a 30 something like Helen and I, I think you would really love this journey.

Happiness for Beginners starts with Helen taking her crazy anti-social dog to her college aged brother. He is to dog sit while she goes off to this extreme hiking trip. Only problem is Duncan (her brother) flakes out on her. And she can only find his best friend Jake. <3 Only Jake isn’t the annoying pot head kid she remembers, he has grown up, she kind of likes that, but cant let go of her past judgments, and will not give into that small voice, telling her he might be something more.

Jake is such a perfect guy. He is smart, has a way to him that makes him so lovable. He sees the best in every person, no matter their flaws. And he has had a MASSIVE crush on Helen, since the day he met her, at 16. Jake always had this certain mystery to him the whole book, and it worked so well. I mean we get to know him deeply, but he just has an ora to him that people flocked to.

“He taught you something. He taught you how to let somebody love you a little bit. That lesson right there is enough to change your life.”

Hello Helen, I am in your head, sister! I was there with you at every moment in your journey. I get your type of messed up self doubt thinking.

The way she reacted to life is so relatable. When she would get jealous, man I was GREEN with it. When she would hold back, and never let others see her struggles or pain, I so understood that to. And at one point when she finally has a moment of clarity, I was bawling my eyes out. It was almost cathartic for her, of course, but for me as well!

“I just wanted to be good at this. And competent. And tough. And, ultimately, just: anybody but me. I was tired of being a disaster. I was tired of being a trampled-on flower. I wanted to be awesome. That wasn’t too much, was it?”

Not many times I’ve loved a book as much as this. A truly beautiful, and real story. I highly recommend this and will most likely be my favorite this year!

A little note to all who are reading this, yes the price of this ebook is $9.99, but ill tell you I’d pay twice as much for it. Sometimes you get what you pay for, and this is worth every penny. Maybe check with your local library if it’s too much for your budget. The library is my home away from home. Get the overdrive app too, if you don’t have that yet.

About Katherine Center

Katherine Center is the author of five novels about love and family, including The Bright Side of Disaster, The Lost Husband, and Happiness for Beginners. Her work has appeared in Redbook, People, USA Today, Vanity Fair, InStyle, and Real Simple. She is a graduate of Vassar College and the University of Houston’s Creative Writing Program. Katherine lives in Houston with her husband and two sweet children.

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2 responses to “Review: Happiness for Beginners by Katherine Center

  1. I have to admit that I am not fan of books with may-to-december romance with older woman and younger man. So synopsis itself would not be enough to persuade me to read it. But your review did. Oh boy, did it. I am not only going to add this to my TBR but also to my wishlist so I can read it asap.
    Spectacular review, Erin!!!

    • I agree, the synopsis didn’t get me, but it came so highly recommended. Thank you so much for the praise <3 Its so much easier to review books that get you right down to the bones.

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