Secrets to Happiness

Secrets to Happiness

by Sarah Dunn

Holly Frick has just endured the worst kind of breakup: the kind where you're still in love with the person leaving you.

And another woman comes to Holly for advice about her love life--with Holly's ex!

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.

  • Language: English
  • Category: Fiction
  • Rating: 3.16
  • Pages: 277
  • Publish Date: March 1st 2009 by Little Brown and Company
  • Isbn10: 0316013587
  • Isbn13: 9780316013581

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dunn really needs to put more focus on character development and the climax. i could not understand what motivated these people to do what they did because each character was filled with fluff and nutella.

I'm not sure why I thought a book about a single woman writer living in Manhattan wouldn't be chick lit, since most chick lit begins with those very same ingredients. It's kind of like taking ground beef, adding orange powder, serving it in a hard shell and saying "But it's not a taco." But in Jancy Willett's review of "Secrets of Happiness" in the NYT's Book Review, she says point blank: " "Secrets of Happiness": was definitely not written just for women, no matter how its packaged. And I believed her because she writes for the NYT's Book Review, which means that reputable writerly people accept e-mails from her, and they probably wouldn't call security if she walked into their office. Holly's friend Betsy keeps hearing she is too old for a) her job; b) men in her age group. "I mean, who's in the mood to rape another person at that time of day?" said Holly. I'm not sure what Devil-Wears-Prada-Lipstick-Jungle-Bitter-Is-The-New-Black books you've been reading, but this is chick lit. Largely, I think that chick lit is written by women who don't like men or women very much.

Thus, this novel is full of cliches, both linguistically and in depiction of its of characters. And it doesn't seem matter who it is with as long as it is with "someone." Preferably, that person is not "fat" or "short." The reason why these characters cannot find, or keep, fulfilling relationships is because they have nothing going for them. In this novel we have the depictions of empty, vacuous beings going through the motions of living.

Maybe I'm missing some kind of humor the author intended, but I honestly came away from this book thinking Dunn is the biggest misogynist I've ever come across. Grrr...I'm getting angry all over again :-) I'm also starting to think it deserves 1/8 of another star just for getting this kind of reaction from me.

However, for me, Secrets to Happiness wasn't the book to showcase that talent. The central character of the novel is Holly Frick, a recently divorced writer on the downward slope of her career, who has been anything but lucky in love. However, a few pages more had me wondering why Holly would choose to spend time with many of the other characters, especially her best friend Amanda.

I give the author credit for trying to write a chick lit book that transcends the genre by having some depth and asking some philosophical questions. Her friends gently accuse her of being a self-righteous prig at times, but that doesn't stop her.

The American cover shows a dog lying on its back in grass and as soon as I saw it I fell in love and wanted to read the book. Ive been thinking for quite a few hours how to go about writing my review for the book because, frankly, I just didnt like it. There was just no focus whatsoever, and it might just be me this book could be some sort of literary masterpiece, but I just want a story I can make sense of and Secrets To Happiness is not such a book and I ended up skimming the last half of the book in a desperate bid to finish it. I didnt care for the characters, I found them vapid and annoying, I couldnt make sense of the story and I just wanted it to end. So no, I wouldnt recommend Secrets To Happiness, not unless you like a book that leaves you incredibly confused.