• A Happy Catastrophe

  • A Novel
  • By: Maddie Dawson
  • Narrated by: Amy McFadden
  • Length: 11 hrs and 52 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (528 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

From the bestselling author of Matchmaking for Beginners comes a novel about love, loss, and the beautiful mess of family.

Marnie MacGraw and Patrick Delaney have been in love for a few years now, enough to realize that they are imperfectly perfect together. Still, there are some things that maybe need a little attention. Marnie’s ebullient; he’s brooding. She thrives on change; he prefers stability. She sees marriage and parenthood in their future, but he can’t see beyond the shadow of an earlier tragedy.

Then an eight-year-old surprise from Patrick’s past shows up on their doorstep, cartwheeling into their lives and spinning things in all directions. While it’s not exactly the change she envisioned, it looks like instant family to Marnie. But Patrick, afraid of being hurt again, retreats further into himself. Suddenly, two very different pieces of a beautiful puzzle find it harder and harder to fit. How can Marnie trust in the magic of the universe when it seems to be doing its best to knock her off her feet?

But some love stories are worth waiting for. And what’s love without a little chaos anyway?

©2020 Maddie Dawson. (P)2020 Brilliance Publishing, Inc., all rights reserved.

Critic Reviews

“Dawson has created a truly quirky story, filled with a little bit of magic (think unicorn glitter and sparkles) and a lot of love.... An optimistic, feel-good story that celebrates love, community, goodness, and the creation of family, however it might appear.” (Kirkus Reviews)

“Alive with action, compelling and evolving characters, and screwball comedy, Dawson’s latest will appeal to readers looking for a story that is both pleasurable and substantial. Personal growth is achieved by overcoming obstacles, and the ending is honest and satisfying.” (Booklist)

What listeners say about A Happy Catastrophe

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

I wish I had read it instead of listening to it.

I don't like the narrator. Everytime I listen to a book read by this woman, I wonder why people keep hiring her. Every sentence ends in a tone that seems wrong.

The book was good but I liked the one previous better.

5 people found this helpful

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Cannot Stand Narrator

Voice she uses for main character is incredibly irritating - smug Valley Girl who over-enunciates “r” sounds? - and spoiled book for me.

5 people found this helpful

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Miserable catastrophe...

Everything about this book was a total waste of my time. First, the narration - bed pronounced bad; head is had...so annoying. The main character was self-absorbed, stupid and dull. The plot was non-existent. Three more hours of this when I regained my sanity and pulled the plug. If you want to go on a downer, this will do it.

4 people found this helpful

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So glad this was a read & listen freebie

The premise: "Let's pester and nag this poor, scarred introvert into fathering a baby" was just WRONG. The high, giggly, persistently upbeat voice of the wannabe mother drove me round the bend, and for the sake of my sanity I abandoned the book just as the two protagonists were getting a surprise dumped on them. No good, in my opinion, could come from that.

1 person found this helpful

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Not as good as the first one

I loved Happiness for Beginners, so I was very excited for the sequel. Unfortunately I was sincerely let down. It dragged on, was repetitive, and honestly wasn’t of the same story type as the first one. I thought Marnie’s mom’s story was completely unnecessary and made the book much longer than it should have been. Once her story arc was done I actually enjoyed the book...unfortunately that was pretty late. The narrator did an excellent job and is pretty much the only reason I finished.

1 person found this helpful

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Funny, heartwarming and modern

This book totally snuck up on me and hooked me into the characters and plot and subplots before I realized what was happening. I was just listening on and then found myself laughing and crying and cheering and basically trying to imagine my life before my mind was opened up by the author to viewing life and relationships from the perspective of the main characters. How refreshing and wonderful and real and at the end of the day, positive about the human connections we form and the way they enrich our lives.

1 person found this helpful

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So fun.

This was just a fun light read the second in the sequel. I read the first one and listened to this one and laughed throughout both.

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Craziness of Family

Although I really enjoyed this sequel, it was not quite as strong as the first book. Also, I found myself angry with and annoyed at Patrick and annoyed at Marnie for putting up with Patrick.

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What happened from book 1 to 2?

I am in the minority, this did not work for me on any level. I truly adored Matchmaking for Beginners. Quirky, sweet and a lovely listen. I’m not sure what happened between the two books, but Marnie changed and I found zero to like about her. She has become a selfish, egomaniacal narcissistic person that has zero redeeming qualities. Patrick is clearly suffering and she does exactly the opposite of helping him or even trying. I couldn’t wait for it to end. Kept hoping it would get better and she’d magically become a decent person. She didn’t and my opinion didn’t either. Not likable at all.

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An exercise in frustration

Marnie pushes Patrick, she disregard his feelings she read disregard his thoughts on things and keeps pushing. Then when things go wrong she blames him and doubts him. Sure Patrick is complicit in some of the problems but I say that Marnie is the biggest problem of all. Maybe it’s her belief that she and Patrick are destined to be together that s drives an idea that she can push and it will all work out. Maybe the belief makes her oblivious to the harm that her actions and words are causing. She is definitely the creator of most of the problem issues that are happening in their lives.
Another frustration is that it appears these people never heard of therapy. No one in their world suggests therapy And almost from the get go therapy is highly warranted. Then after things get super bad - one day Patrick has an epiphany… he realizes that he’s been so wrong all along, has a change of heart and apologizes. He accepts full responsibility for all the trouble. No mention of Marnie‘s part in all of this which is a much higher percentage than Patrick’s. Then in a quick shared bathtub experience all is made right and it’s happily ever after.
Ugh!!

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  • jocou
  • 06-19-20

Big mistake

Something must have appealed as to why I gave this unknown author (to me)
A try , the narrative is by an American with the most awful annoying twang , and I love the USA, two chapters I made the biggest mistake in my book reading career!
Having bought the audible version probably did not help , and I really cannot make the effort to see if the writer is narrator as well.
You can’t win them all ! Just wish I had given the money to charity .