Happiness For Beginners Audio Review -- A New Found Love

Happiness For Beginners | Katherine Center
Release Date: March 24, 2015
Narrator: Marguerite Gavin
Listening Length: 9 hours. 19 minutes
Publisher: Blackstone Audio
Format: Audiobook -- Unabridged
Genre(s): Adult, Contemporary, Adventure

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

I received a review copy courtesy of the author/publisher. This does not affect my opinion or views regarding the book whatsoever.

When I first became a book blogger, I wasn't into audiobooks AT ALL. I tried listening to one (the title long forgotten) some hundred years ago, and it must have been a pretty horrific experience if I vowed to never listen to them again. But this community has a way of pushing you out of your comfort zone -- a way of making you fall in love with even your worst bookish enemy. So when I clicked on my audiobook, turned the volume to the max, and began to do whatever it is I was doing while listening, I never knew just how much I would LOVE this audio version until the last minutes were complete, and I was left longing for more.

Newly divorced and not sure what to do with her life, our main character Helen is in the middle of what I call a ' pre-midlife-crisis. ' In hopes to regain some type of order while doing something out of her comfort zone and pretty damn daring, she takes the advice of her younger brother Duncan by signing up for BCSC (Back Country Survival Course) which simplified is basically a wilderness survival camping trip. Little bro obviously had SOMETHING up his sleeve, because he convinces his best friend Jake to tag along, and together they embark on a journey of self-discovery, friendship, and even possibly . . . love.

What I've quickly noticed, are that audiobooks are super tricky. You see with novels, you can have a EH plot, iffy characters mixed with superb writing and it could all turn out to be a surprisingly great read. Unfortunately for audio, none of this actually applies, because if your main focal point -- the narrator, is complete shit, then the story is bound to sink faster than the Titanic. Lucky for us, our incredibly talented narrator Marguerite Gavin was a complete force to be reckoned with.

 At first, I was a bit nervous to find out that she'd be doing the voices of all the characters, female and male included of course, but she blew me away with how well she was able to transition from one character to the next. I especially loved how she captured my top 3 favorite characters. Helen with her quirkiness, Jake with his nerdy adorableness, (I mean he turned a closet into a nook to read books and play video games. How can you not love that?) and Beckett with his hippy/surfer vibe. It was hard not to be invested in this story when the characters came to life and sounded exactly as I had imagined them.

Happiness For Beginners will appeal to all readers intrigued by adventure. The romance isn't the focal point of the story, instead is shadowed by subtle messages like ' age ain't nothing but a number'. It's surprisingly fast paced, packed with bright characters that have so much to give, not to mention are down right hilarious, and the narrator is beyond impressive, taking this audio book to a whole nother level. If your a fan of adult fiction or chick lit as everyone is calling this, then I highly recommend you snatch it up, or sit down for a listen!

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