Well look at me, making it all the way to day 8! It’s not been easy – my OU course has just started back up again as well so there are so many things to juggle. Blogging it my creative outlet though, and right now my OU stuff is all maths and chemistry so I desperately need some creativity in my life! Every day that I blog I think to myself “I’ll just do a short one today, people don’t mind short posts” but it always ends up being a longy. Doesn’t matter, I’m having fun!
Today is something a bit different from what I usually write about. I am going to write a review of a book a recently read called How to be Happy by Eva Woods. While I love reading book blogs, I am not in any way a book blogger myself. In fact the last time I wrote a book review was probably when I was at school, so please bare with me!
To be honest I don’t read anywhere near as much as I’d like. I always aim to read before going to bed, but then it’s suddenly past my bed time and sleep becomes the priority. My goal was to read fifty books this year – I have read only four 🙁 Don’t think I’m going to hit that one somehow, unless I start reading the Mr Men books!
Why I chose to read this book
I have quite an eclectic taste in books, but deep down my favourite thing to read are chick lits and contemporary fiction. It’s not ALL I read, but certainly it’s those books I get through the fastest. They’re just so easy to read, you can pick them up and put them down as you wish without losing the plot – literally.
The thing with contemporary fiction, especially when you’re buying from the Kindle store, is that it can be excellent, but sometimes it really sucks. So it’s always a gamble what you’re going to spent precious hours of your life reading.
This one appeared in my “recommended” and the reviews were alright, so I thought I’d give it a go. I was looking for something easy and uplifting for summer. Trouble with uplifting stuff is that I’m quite cynical, so if it’s TOO uplifting I’ll spend the whole book saying “that’s stuuuuuupid”. I was worried at first that this would be one of those books.
The basic premise of the book is that a lady who is generally down about life (Annie) is befriended by a lady with brain cancer (Polly) against her will. They spend the next few months living life to the full, and the down about life lady learns a bunch of lessons about seizing the day and living life to the full. It sounds quite wishy washy but actually it’s pretty good.
I don’t know if I was supposed to, but I loved the main character from the beginning. She’s very relatable for someone like me who has gone through periods of letting everything slip a bit. I can be a bit of a misery guts sometimes and am fully versed in the concept of wearing the same few dark coloured outfits on a rotation. As the book goes on it transpires there’s a tragedy behind the misery, which made her a bit less relatable. My down in the dumps persona is just… me. Not a product of anything particularly terrible.
At first I actually find Polly SUPER annoying. Again, not sure if I’m supposed to. She’s written to be a very likeable character. I get the impression we’re supposed to love Polly, and find Annie a bit tragic. I don’t feel this. Polly turns up at Annie’s house UNANNOUNCED. Nope, that’s invasive and not okay to do to someone you just met. Luckily I did very much warm to Polly, much like Annie does.
The plot is basically Polly taking Annie on a bunch of adventures which slowly change her outlook on life. Some are small things, and others are bigger things. Along the way you learn a bunch of stuff about both people, and I wound up really liking them both. It’s a bit predictable at times, but in a good way. The predictability is comforting and makes for an easy and pleasant read.
I don’t want to say much more because I don’t want to spoil it in case anyone wants to read it…
Do I think you should read How to be Happy?
Definitely. As I said before, I consider myself a bit of a cynic, but by the end of the book I wanted to be more adventurous and live life a bit fuller. I’m not saying I’d do exactly the things Polly gets Annie to do in the book (they end up in a public fountain at one point…) but I do make more of an effort to make time for my friends now.
I was in the right place in my life for this book when it came along. After the death of a friend at the start of the year, I was already looking for inspiration to Be More Happy, and How to be Happy certainly gave me that.