Sunday, 6 August 2017

Happiness for Beginners

Finished July 16
Happiness for Beginners by Katherine Center

Helen Carpenters is 32. She's been divorced for a year from her immature husband Mike. She's trying to figure out how to give herself a kickstart to a new beginning, and decided to sign up for a wilderness survival course that her younger brother Duncan mentioned. When she gets to Duncan's to drop off her dog, she finds that he has forgotten entirely (typical for him) and she must take the dog to her vet to board. She also finds that Duncan's long-time best friend James is also going to the course and is expecting to drive out to Wyoming with her.
Helen is disgruntled by all these surprises, especially as she was looking forward to some solo driving time to belt out the tunes, and a good visit with her grandmother, who brought up her and Duncan in Evanston, along the way. She gets more surprises along the way, from James, from her beloved Grandma Gigi, and from the company, BCSC, who is running the course.
Helen finds the group taking the course mostly consists of university students: guys wanting a near death experience to fuel their adrenaline, and sorority girls wanting to tone their bodies. She ends up befriending a young woman named Windy, beautiful and nice, and a good listener. The challenges of the trek are daunting to many: no soap, no washing, no deodorant, no toilet paper, sleeping under tarps rather than in tents, and only one book each. But Helen welcomes these, reading the company's guide as her book, and relying on the advice in Chuck Norris jokes she has grown to know from her boss at work. She also learns that she must deal with all the issues of her past to move forward.
This is a story of learning one's strengths, working as a team, and recognizing that we sometimes need help in recognizing love when it comes along.

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