Happiness for Beginners: A Novel (Paperback)
From the New York Times bestselling author of How to Walk Away and Things You Save in a Fire
Helen Carpenter can’t quite seem to bounce back. Newly divorced at thirty-two, her life has fallen apart beyond her ability to put it together again. So when her annoying younger brother, Duncan, convinces her to sign up for a hardcore wilderness survival course in the backwoods of Wyoming—she hopes it’ll be exactly what she needs.
Instead, it’s a disaster. It’s nothing like she wants, or expects, or anticipates. She doesn’t anticipate the surprise summer blizzard, for example—or the blisters, or the rutting elk, or the mean pack of sorority girls. And she especially doesn’t anticipate that her annoying brother’s even-more-annoying best friend, Jake, will show up for the exact same course—and distract her, derail her, and . . . kiss her.
But it turns out sometimes disaster can teach you exactly the things you need to learn. Like how to keep going, even when you think you can’t. How being scared can make you brave. And how sometimes getting really, really lost is your only hope of getting found.
Happiness for Beginners is Katherine Center at her most heart-warming, captivating best—a nourishing, page-turning, up-all-night read about how to get back up. It’s a story that looks at how our struggles lead us to our strengths. How love is always worth it. And how the more good things we look for, the more we find.
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