I just finished trudging through as much as I could handle of Secrets to Happiness by Sarah Dunn and let me just say, I cannot believe I actually got as far as I did. I made it to page 160 of 277, and it was mind-numbingly boring.
This book first intrigued me by the title and the cover with the cute beagle lying on the grass, looking rather pleased with himself, or maybe herself? Eh, whatever sex, the dog was the highlight for me. I read the jacket and it sounded like a fun and light read, very “chick-lit-esque”. So, I read the first chapter and literally laughed out loud, in the middle of Barnes & Noble mind you, because it was written in such a way that I felt like I knew the heroine and could relate to her. The “first chapter test” is what I do with every potential book, it is my way of deciding if a book is worthy of purchase or not. Clearly, I did not read this one far enough. This book would have made me happier had it stayed put, on the shelf at the store, where other unsuspecting people would fall for the “happiness” that was in store behind that deceitful jacket. Luckily, for me, it was in the bargain section and therefore did not break the bank, otherwise this review would have a slightly different ranting going on. 😉
After that first chapter things carried on and never really went anywhere. By the time I reached chapter 4 or 5, I was adamant about not finishing it. The problem with such a decision for me is, I have a weakness for leaving a book, any book, unfinished. It drives me crazy, so that is why I continued. It is just a part of my masochistic nature I suppose. haha!
Anyway, during the first few chapters I felt optimistic for the storyline to pick up, but kept hearing that nagging chick on my shoulder telling me to quit while I was ahead. I ignored her though and unfortunately it just kept going downhill. Every chapter had different characters thrown into it. Granted, they all some how are involved in each others lives but it didn’t make any sense when they were introduced. There was no rhyme or reason to Dunn’s choices throughout the story. Plain and simple, it is just bad writing.
Now I don’t mean to make it all negative, even though most of it is, but there were some really delightful little trinkets hidden away in there. These parts were the rare gems that made me bubble up with laughter, real laughter. The kind of laughter that makes those around you inquire, “What is so funny?” Seriously. The only issue is, I honestly cannot remember any real details of the story to even try to humor you at this point, which is a shame. Those small moments should have been broadened and perhaps that would have saved her story.
Bottom line is, which I think I have made abundantly clear already, this book sucked. Well, at least the first 160 pages of it did anyway, and by my definition that is a pretty large chunk of bad writing. I am going to try to finish it though because I have a book goal I am trying to reach. Yet again, masochism at play. Eek! I can only say that I am intrigued to see if what is already horrible can get any worse and I’m also secretly hoping that they all get run over by a taxi, I mean, it’s set in NYC after all! Anything is possible!