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Publisher's Summary

In this exuberant novel, a thirtysomething-year-old woman embarks on a wilderness survival course and discovers that sometimes you have to leave things behind in order to find yourself.

A year after getting divorced, Helen Carpenter, thirty-two, lets her annoying 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.

©2015 Katherine Center (P)2015 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    378
  • 4 Stars
    316
  • 3 Stars
    108
  • 2 Stars
    17
  • 1 Stars
    20

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    410
  • 4 Stars
    246
  • 3 Stars
    73
  • 2 Stars
    17
  • 1 Stars
    13

Story

  • 4 out of 5 stars
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  • 4 Stars
    276
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    102
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    21
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    19
Sort by:
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Hard to get through.

The narrating and voices were like nails on a chalkboard to me- very difficult to enjoy. The book was also so fluffy and unrealistic that I couldn't bare to listen without rolling my eyes. After listening to Girl On a Train, All The Light We Cannot See, and Me Before You, this book was like eating sugar free cake when you were hoping for the real thing. Blah.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Funny and charming

Would you listen to Happiness for Beginners again? Why?

Yes. It is a light hearted, good read. Inspirational too.

Have you listened to any of Marguerite Gavin’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

I haven't, but plan to after this one. She was awesome! A different voice for each character and I was never wondering who said something. I think she may be the best audio book performances I've ever heard.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

yes.

Any additional comments?

It was a funny book about finding yourself by connecting with others. A fun adventure. I'm not sure if a guy would get into it. It's more of a "chick flick" type book.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Sequel Please

Where does Happiness for Beginners rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

This is one of my all time favorite audio books. I have listened to it several times.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Happiness for Beginners?

When her brother brings her the cooler with the surprise. I actually cried.........and I never cry.

Which scene was your favorite?

The elevator scene.

If you could take any character from Happiness for Beginners out to dinner, who would it be and why?

Duncan. There is clearly more to him than meets the eye.

Any additional comments?

I wish there was a sequel. I want to see how things turn out. I hated when the book was over.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Enjoyable, would listen to a sequel

Would you listen to Happiness for Beginners again? Why?

I would listen to this again. It was enjoyable, but was really just brain candy. Nothing to deep. No long-term lessons gained. However, I got attached to the characters and would definitely read a sequel to see where their lives take them.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • RETog
  • New Brunswick, NJ
  • 09-21-15

Listened to it twice already!

What made the experience of listening to Happiness for Beginners the most enjoyable?

This was the first Katherine Center book I read or listened to, first about 6 months ago, and I have already listened to it again! It went by so fast the first time so I listened to it again. Same thing. I was completely absorbed in the book like I was hearing a story about my possible self or my best friend. Somehow it was so relate-able, even though I have never been divorced and would never own a dog. Ha, ha! I ran to get another book of hers as fast as I could, "The Lost Husband", and found the same familiar attachment to it. I can't wait for her next book!

What did you like best about this story?

Tough question. That I would read it again and again speaks highly about the whole book, right?

Have you listened to any of Marguerite Gavin’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

No, and I love audio books anyway, but in this story I particularly liked how the narrator used the use of things like sarcasm, self pity and softening in her voice to interpret the changing moods of the character.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

When Helen "rescues" Jake.

Any additional comments?

Katherine Center is talented. Having creativity, writing skill AND a connection with the human soul is not something you find in every work of fiction. She is a genuinely admirable person and author.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Garbage

The main character is a petulant child who feels sorry for herself the duration of the ENTIRE story. She never reaches catharsis and goes after what she wants. She sulks and runs away from everything. She's pathetic. The whole time, though, she's going on and on and on and on about how she wants to be fierce and not a victim. And it NEVER happens. Not even the ending.

And then there's the narrator, whose whiny voice exacerbates the child factor ten fold.

It was grating and irritating start to finish. Thank god I only spent $3.95 for the thing. And had I known that the character that starts the book doesn't evolve at all, I would never have finished it.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

It was ok.

If you are ok with suspending your disbelief, this book will be very enjoyable. I found that I kept rolling my eyes throughout the book, but it ended decently. I have listened to this narrator before and she does a great job.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A fun read

This is my first exposure to Katherine Center. I'm hopeful her other books have interesting characters as well.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Favorite Katherine Center book

Fun, interesting and a great story of life, and learning how to grow as an individual. I really enjoyed Helen's transformation as she allowed herself to explore her life and continue to take on new experiences. Jake was simply adorable and I truly loved looking at his friend Duncan through his eyes.. I also learned from Windy's happiness studies, and also enjoyed her character a lot on many levels. Bought the paperback for my daughter in college wanting to share the complex characters and their journey with her.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Steva
  • Tampa-ish
  • 07-03-16

Chick lit without the mushy romance

The characters were pretty good. The wilderness course was the most exciting part. I prefer novels that leave out the heaving bosoms and throbbing manhood. There were a few f bombs, but not many. The story had a nice pace and the narrator was very pleasant and easy to listen too. She did the male voices really well. I would read/listen to another by the author and/or narrator.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful