The Happiness Project | By Pippa James
I received an e-ARC of The Happiness Project from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
1) Exercise more
2) Eat healthily
3) Learn how to live again…
Forty-year-old Alison Lund has always carefully planned everything in her well-ordered life, from colour co-ordinating her beautiful house to persuading her excitable son Alexander that sticker charts are more fun than misbehaving. But Alison’s perfect world has just fallen apart… Her head is left spinning when her beloved larger than life mother-in-law, Maggie, passes away and Alison is left heartbroken. Daring to do things differently, can Alison learn to live more spontaneously and find happiness along the way? Or will letting go be harder than she ever imagined?
Narrative and plot
The Happiness Project is told from the perspective of three mothers who are dealing with life on a day to day basis. The three voices had distinct personalities which made the narrative active and fun in it’s own way.
This was definitely a feel-good book and particularly reassuring if you’re lagging on your New Year’s resolution. ( that is, if you still remember what it was 😉 ) The story line isn’t exactly focused on Alison and her mother-in-law as you get from the description but it was the center from where it all began, The Happiness Project.
Characters and Conflict
With three mums – a single mother, a pregnant parent and a grief stricken mother- there is enough depth in each of the characters. In a usual romantic comedy you have your leads torn into pieces and find themselves by the end of the book. But here, they all start as well put together ladies. Only deep into the story you realise that things are not as good as it looks.
While the conflicts are not earth shattering ones,it is very real and something you could easily relate to. There were moments when you wished things didn’t get resolved so quickly. Nonetheless, every aspect of the story has come around a full circle.
However, the male characters felt too side-lined. The book mentions some aspects regarding the tension between the couples. It was kept subtle and in a good way too . Ben and Sam got their moments, but Matthew was left behind it seemed and so did Kate for some reason. The only thing I wish the book had was more life. There was not enough to cement the friendship between the three women. Also, Maggie who is actually the root to all of this is not given enough space so that reader could actually start caring about her loss. Still, it was not a dull story at all.
The characters were interesting enough that you keep on going. Unlike some stories, where the characters you start with, become completely different people by the end of the book, here, the change is realistic and believable.
Overall I enjoyed the book as a fun one-time read. If you’re a parent, I bet there are several moments you could identify with. Even through the difficult situations, the book had a bit of a light tone which kept things pleasant. The underlying message is inspiring. There are moments of self-doubt in everyone’s life but there comes a point when you just have to deal with it.
About the Author ( Courtesy : Google Books)
Pippa James is a full-time writer. She is best known as Janey Louise Jones, author of the fantastically successful Princess Poppy series. Before Princess Poppy took over her life, Pippa James had always intended to write contemporary fiction.