Secrets to Happiness Review
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Not long ago, thirty-something New Yorker Holly Frick thought she was happy. Then her husband, Alex, decided that he didn’t want to be married anymore.

Now, Holly seems to be caught up in one big mess after another—both hers and her friends’. While Holly secretly searches for some temporary happiness with a friend’s 22-year-old brother, her married best friend, Amanda, confesses to a questionable relationship with a handsome single guy. At the same time, Holly starts getting phone calls from a woman who wants some advice about her boyfriend—who also happens to be Holly’s ex-boyfriend (and the subject of her moderately successful novel).

Throughout Secrets to Happiness, Holly’s various friends and acquaintances try, in their own misguided way, to find happiness in life. Whether it’s her ex-boyfriend, Spence, who can’t seem to commit, or her writing partner, Leonard, who’s living well beyond his ever-shrinking means, they all just keep stumbling along, making their lives messier and messier in the process.

Secrets to Happiness isn’t your typical chick lit (which, incidentally, is a term that Holly absolutely despises—but, at the risk of upsetting a fictional character, I’m using it anyway). It’s a light and enjoyable read, filled with humor and romance and awkward situations—yet it has more depth than you might expect from a novel about a 30-something divorcee. It isn’t as simple (or as formulaic) as the same old romantic comedy. Instead, the situations are often messy and, well…complicated. There isn’t an easy solution to every problem. And even though things generally come together in the end, the outcomes aren’t always neat—nor are they painless—and they’re rarely predictable.

The characters, too, are believable—and they struggle with questions that go deeper than “Does this make my butt look big?” They’re not just looking for a pair of shoes that will make them happy for a day or two. They’re struggling with issues that real people struggle with—things like family, relationships, careers, and even religion—and they’re trying to find a way to make peace with it all.

But don’t let all that talk of depth and serious issues scare you—because while Secrets to Happiness is a smart and thoughtful novel, it’s also remarkably witty. Dunn’s style is light and clever, and she fills the book with keen observations and random little anecdotes that will make you laugh out loud when you least expect it.

In short, Secrets to Happiness has it all. It’s smart and funny and highly entertaining. It’ll make you laugh, and it’ll make you think. So if you’re looking for a change of pace from the same old chick lit, pick up a copy—you’ll be happy you did.

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