Secrets to Happiness by Sarah Dunn
I had fair warning. When I entered the contest to win a copy of this book on Beth Fish Reads, Beth said that she could not finish the book. Had I not entered Beth’s contest, won it, and then received The Art of Racing in the Rain that same week, I may never have been inspired to how the first annual Dog Days of Summer week. I have no regrets, but I did not like this book.
Susan Dunn‘s second novel tells the story of 35-year-old Holly Frick, a seemingly typical New Yorker. She was recently divorced from her husband and she was still in love with him. Holly is the main character, but there are numerous other characters given the spotlight throughout the novel – most of whom for no better reason than to show every other selfish, depressed person in New York City can find love and happiness but her. With so many different characters, I would have thought I would have clicked with at least one of them, but did not. The closest I came was cheering Holly on at first after learning of her casual and very sexual relationship with a 22-year-old. That just wasn’t enough to go on for me.
There is a dog in this book, but he is more of a decoration than a central part of the book. Holly, on the spur of the moment, adopts a dog. He has brain cancer and she takes a risk on him. This act, which is described in after the fact, humanizes Holly more than anything else. Had this story been more prominent and not bogged down by the other characters, I would have enjoyed this novel much more. I was disappointed by that because it really didn’t match the adorable cover. (I know, I know, never judge a book by it’s cover – and that rule goes both ways).
Secrets of Happiness did not make me happy. I had no patience for these characters who kept making the same mistakes only to wonder why their lives aren’t happier and more fulfilling. I was so irritated that even the humor didn’t work for me. I would not have finished it had it not been one of my Dog Days of Summer books. In defense of this novel, however, I didn’t enjoy the few episodes of “Sex in the City” I have watched. I think this book might appeal more to those who did.
This was my least favorite book for the Dog Days of Summer, but others rate it higher than I do. Why don’t you check out their reviews?
To buy this novel, click Secrets to Happiness.