Happiness for Beginners: A Novel (Paperback)
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.
About the Author
Katherine Center is the author of several novels about love and family: The Bright Side of Disaster, Everyone Is Beautiful, Get Lucky, and The Lost Husband. Her books and essays have appeared in Redbook, People, USA Today, Vanity Fair, and Real Simple—as well as the anthologies Because I Love Her, CRUSH, and My Parents Were Awesome. Katherine is a graduate of Vassar College and the University of Houston's Creative Writing Program. She lives in Houston with her husband and two sweet children.
“Center has written a wonderful story, a fast-paced read with sharp, perfectly written dialogue. Her newest does exactly what we want a good novel to do, introduce us to characters who engage us and take us on a journey.” —Booklist
“If you're anything like us, you'll read this book in one sitting.” —InStyle
“Katherine Center has a true gift for creating a story arc that includes personal evolution, romance, challenges, disappointments, and joy in a way that avoids cliché and creates enough ebbing tension and resolution that the reader is left hungering for more.” —Boston Mamas
“Center has a gift for snappy, engaging dialogue that frequently had me laughing aloud.” —Lone Star Lit
“This wise, delicious, page-turning novel won't let you go. Katherine Center writes about falling down, growing up, and finding love like nobody else. You can always see yourself and the people you love in her characters and their stories.” —Brené Brown, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Daring Greatly
“Happiness for Beginners is my favorite Katherine Center novel yet. I folded down pages to go back to--and that's a sign of a great book: when I see something so true or profound that I know I need mark it. It's wonderful. Could not put it down.” —Jenny Lawson, New York Times bestselling author of Let’s Pretend This Never Happened
“Happiness for Beginners does what a story should do—introduces characters we want to know and then takes us on their unexpected journey to a new and braver life. Helen Carpenter is doing what needs to be done, and along the way she shows us how to be brave . . . when we need to be and when we want to be. When life doesn't give Helen what she believes she wants, she journeys into the wilderness to find what she needs, and we are with her every step of the way. Center's witty, honest and compassionate storytelling opens us to new ways of feeling and trusting, just as her character is doing the same.” —Patti Callahan Henry, New York Times bestselling author of The Stories We Tell
“Such a charming, heartfelt novel about a woman who needs to escape from her life in order to rebuild it. I read it all in one delicious gulp.” —Sarah Pekkanen, author of The Opposite of Me
“Adding Happiness for Beginners to my all-time favorites list. Fun, moving, and honest, it's a gem of a novel about finding out just what you're made of.” —Melissa Senate, author of The Love Goddess' Cooking School
“Katherine Center has a unique talent for finding humor in the most unlikely scenarios. . . In the wholly refreshing Happiness for Beginners, she explores life's messy moments with comic precision and proves that it is possible to make a fresh start--and find true love--in the midst of emotional disaster. Trust me; you'll feel this satisfying novel deep in your bones.” —Jillian Medoff, bestselling author of I Couldn't Love You More