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The Pursuit of Happiness

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4.07 of 5 stars 4.07  ·  rating details  ·  2,939 ratings  ·  285 reviews
The critically acclaimed bestseller from the number one bestselling author of The Moment and A Special Relationship. A powerful romantic novel set in the tumultuous world of post-war America.





New York, 1945 - Sara Smythe, a young, beautiful and intelligent woman, ready to make her own way in the big city, attends her brother's Thanksgiving Eve party. As the party gets into
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Paperback, 616 pages
Published September 5th 2002 by Arrow (first published 2001)
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B the BookAddict
Apr 02, 2015 B the BookAddict rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Mish, Dale,Sharon
Recommended to B the BookAddict by: Bekah
Douglas Kennedy writes women so well; he writes about how women think, like a female writer does. There is no insult meant in that comment. A wonderful story set in 1940-50s America; this novel will teach you something about McCarthyism if you are unaware of that shameful time in USA.

New Years Eve, a party at struggling playwright Eric's apartment. A gatecrasher Jack, an army journalist looks across the room at Sara, Eric's sister, and so begins a powerful but tragic love story. It is not a sog
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Tea Jovanović
Reading this book I fell in love with Kennedy's writing... And bought the rights for his first (and only so far) Serbian edition... Everybody who read the book fell in love as well... but as it usually happens, when I left the publisher nobody continued to take care of "my" author... His books are big bestsellers in France as well and many of his novels made it to big screen...
MUST READ! One of my most valuable "editorial picks"...
Dale Harcombe
The story starts with Kate at her mother’s funeral and a stranger who appears at the funeral. Then it goes back to tell is who this woman is, why she came to the funeral and what her interest is in Kate. I liked the way the story went back to fill in the background and history of Sara Smythe and Jack Malone.
This is a story of choices and consequences that have far reaching effects on others. The characters are complex and well portrayed. Even if I didn’t agree with their choices, it was easy to
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Sara
This was a 99cent special from Nook so I didn't know much about it when I started reading it, but I got so completely absorbed in the story that I couldn't put it down. It's about 500 pages and I read it in about a week. Rarely do I get so engrossed in a book but it was heartfelt, interesting, and good plot twists that I didn't see coming.
Denise
Feb 24, 2011 Denise rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Denise by: no one...love his other books
Shelves: fiction
This was my fifth Douglas Kennedy novel, and I was not disappointed. Kennedy is a true story-teller; I can't put his books down! The Pursuit of Happiness takes place in post-WWII and much of the plot revolves around tragic McCarthyism period in U.S. history. Young Sara Smyth moves to New York against her very staid parents' wishes where her older brother, Eric, already resides. Sara meets journalist Jack Malone at a party at Eric's house. They spend one passionate night together and fall in love ...more
Cindy
WOW, WOW, WOW!!!!!!! I found this book interesting on many levels. I, also, found it interesting that I had read another of Kennedy's books a while ago, "A Special Relationship". As I was reading this book, my mind went back to Kennedy's other book, because I, once again, kept thinking, "How can a man write so convincingly about women?". Until I researched Kennedy's other books on "Goodreads", I did not know the other book that kept coming to mind was written by the same author! I have recently ...more
Jenn
Even though this was a pretty long book and there were parts that had me thinking "why am I reading this", this was a very enjoyable read.

This story tells the life mainly of Sara Smythe. I didn't expect the book to be this way but soon found it extremely enjoyable getting to know Sara. Sara was a successful writer yet her life was never complete. She had an immense love for her brother, Eric, and not only were they siblings they were friends. He would get her through many times and visa versa.
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Wendy Gina Ewurum


THE STORY:
The story starts of with the death of Dorothy, Kate’s mother. We see Kate trying to come to terms with the death of a complicated woman whom she loved but never understood. It is only after her mother’s death that she catches a glimpse of the magnitude of the sadness and loneliness that overshadowed 40 years her mother’s life. She learns this through a manuscript written by Sara whose life was intricately entwined with that of Dorothy for 40 years. Dorothy married and lived with a man
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Sarah Rhouma
في مرحلة ما من شدة الألم الذي سببه لي الكتاب قررت التوقف عنه . ثم وجدتني البارحة اقرأ منه 300 صفحة دون إدراك
غرقت في بركة من الكآبة و- المآسي
لا انصح به أحداً من أصحاب القلوب الضعيفة
أسلوب الكاتب يذكرني بأسلوب : ALBERT CAMUS . جمل قصيرة وبسيطة لكن اثرها لم يكن أبداً بالسطحي . يجعلك جزءًا من المجموعة ترى ما ترى الشخصية وتحس ما ينتابها من ألم .

لم أكن يوماً من محبي الروايات لكن دوغلاس يعلم كيف يجعلك تنتظر كل تفصيل قادم

الرواية تبدو في الظاهر قصة حب تراجيدي . والمتأمل لن يجد للحب فيها سوى مكان ضئيل
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Ann
This is my 3rd Kennedy book and I'm glad it was much more like the first one I read ("Leaving the World"). I'm impressed, again, that the narrator of this book, like "Leaving," was a woman. Kennedy does a good job of using a woman's voice. I actually forgot that a man wrote it. Is that sexist? I don't know. I just know that he's a good storyteller. There always seems to be dark elements and tortured souls in his novels but not so much that you get depressed and want to give up reading. Instead, ...more
Michele
This was the first Douglas Kennedy book I read. I thought he must actually be a woman and then checked and realized he really was a man. I was blown away at his dead-on insights into the emotions of women in marriage, divorce, motherhood, grief, etc.

The book opens with a woman's loss of her mother. The roller coaster of emotions she experiences, and the way that loss leads the daughter to review the breakdown of her own marriage was very moving to me. The grief was incredibly raw to me.

And the
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Emily
Somehow, whenever I'm sick I find myself reading a WWII novel, and really loving it...

(Not sure what the cause/effect relationship is here, but I'm not really complaining.)

Actually, the main story of this novel is set in the period of time immediately following WWII through the height of the McCarthy Era. Two people meet one night at a party, but life separates them and puts them on paths that really aren't headed the same way. Usually, when two characters are presented as "soul mates," I don't
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Kathe Dimeo Coleman
The Pursuit of Happiness by Douglass Kennedy
The measure of a great book for me is when they characters continue to reside in my head long after reading the novel. This is the case in The Pursuit of Happiness. It is a story of the forties and fifties and narrated by two characters; Kate the younger more modern women and the elder Sara self-driven writer. . .the connecting link being Kate’s father. Both characters are deeply flawed but in a way that for me was believable in a somewhat dysfunctiona
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Karen
I picked this up in New Zealand. My first Douglas Kennedy experience - and definitely not my last! This guy can write! Pursuit of Happiness is written in the first person from a women's perspective, set in America during the McCarthy era. It tells the tales of the ups and downs of Sara, her brother Eric, and Jack Malone - a wayward stranger who turns up at Eric's New Years eve party.

I couldn't put this book down. Until it ended. Then I went to amazon.co.uk and ordered more Douglas Kennedy!

If you
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Olga Rozhkova
I couldn't get myself away from this book.. totally plunged into it..
The beauty of such stories is that they might really happen with people around you.
It's a book about personal choice, dignity, love and ability to forgive.
I recommend!
Amanda
Stunning. Beautiful writing, perfectly chosen words, a life presented with all its flaws and highs and lows. I adored every page.
Gina
Easily became one of my favorite books!
Lizzy
Wowza. This one was a long one. That’s why I haven’t posted a review in a while. I was working my way through this bad boy, but it was definitely worth it.

This is a book you can really sink in to. It’s setting and the writing are so detailed that it kind of draws you in even if you’re reluctant to the story. Sometimes with historical novels I feel like the author really just wrote a story set in 2014 and just removed the cell phones. This book really gets into the McCarthyism era and all of the
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Valeriane
Un beau souvenir que va me laisser mon premier livre de Kennedy Douglas. C'était une réelle poursuite du bonheur que de son plonger dans cette lecture. Plus de 770 pages dans lesquelles j'ai été engloutie. J'ai totalement dévoré l'histoire de Sara Smythe. De rebondissement en rebondissement, l'auteur tient le lecteur en haleine. De longs chapitres qui se terminent en point d'orgue. Une suite d'évènements qui jalonnent une vie. L'histoire débute dans les années 90, avec le décès de la mère de Kat ...more
Ricki Lewis
Pursuit of Happiness is a family saga in which a one-night-stand on the eve of World War II leads to years of longing, unfulfilled relationships, and the wrong people married to each other. Sara Smythe, a writer, spends her life as the lover of the married Jack Malone. They eventually break up when Malone rats on Sara's brother during the McCarthy era.

The compelling story kept me reading, but the organization and the dialog nearly made me stop. On the matter of organization, the book consists m
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Michelle
Douglas Kennedy has a way of capturing the tumult that is life - the swings between highs and lows, the drama, the staleness, and everything in between - and doing so in such a way that utterly captivates the reader. He does so this time while highlighting one of the darkest periods in American post-war history. While the post-WWII era is typically considered one of bucolic happiness, The Pursuit of Happiness explores the fleeting spirit that is happiness and the challenges faced by everyone dur ...more
Galen Johnson
Story-wise, this book was fine--not overwhelmingly great, but fine. The main character was a (usually) strong, independent female, which is always good. The writing was flowing enough that it didn't bog the story down, but it certainly left the reader without anything to interpret for ones' self. Overly descriptive of emotions and reactions and self-analysis by the main character--nothing about these characters emerges solely from their action or dialogue, everything is hashed out in the narrati ...more
Robert Starner
An excellent story set in the late 40s-50s of New York, told in the truly engaging voice of Sara Smythe as she reveals her one-night love at first sight encounter with military journalist Jack Malone and the changes in her life and her family. Kennedy has an amazing gift in creating remarkable female characters. The story does come down a bit when she reunites with Jack some time later in the story and her choice is somewhat surprising yet without it the rest of the book would not be. HUAC rears ...more
Sophie
Another winner - a compulsive page-turner. The author has a knack to spinning a compelling story with strong characters. Interesting that the protagonist is female, the author male. And the character of Sara is pretty convincing, especially poignant the relationship with her brother Eric.

Reminded me of 'the great American novel' - Sister Carrie or the other Dreiser one - An American Tragedy. Big themes, strong characters facing truly heartbreaking circumstances. Strong insight into the human con
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Dupsie Oriyomi
This was a very interesting story. I thoroughly enjoyed this story, Mr Kennedy wrote this story so well, it felt like I knew the characters initimately. Eric is still my favourite character, he stuck to his guns till death. I loved his relationship with his sister. While I do not accept any form of extra-martial, the relationship between Sara and Jack was beautiful. I felt that Sara did make some very stupid mistakes and blamed it on Jack. Nonetheless, this was a very beautiful story, the ending ...more
Tom Richards
Prior to this book I had read only two of Mr Kennedy's other novels: Five Days was so tiresome that I closed it before finishing. I didn't give a damn about the characters, the plot, the world... Then there was The Moment (which I reviewed in Goodreads). I managed to finish it. Barely. Frankly it was one of the most trying novels I'd ever read. It fully reserved its single star. I swore that I would never again read anything else by Douglas Kennedy.

And then.... and then I picked up The Pursuit o
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Sara Comuzzo
una storia d'amore, come suggerisce il titolo ma anche di perdita, perdono, tolleranza, violenza, discriminazione. ambientata prevalentemente in una New York degli anni '50 in cui la forte corrente conservativa e repubblicana si scontra con quella liberale e comunista.

La relazione di Jack e Sara che si incontrano per caso una sera ed è colpo di fulmine.
Ma lui deve partire come volontario in Europa e perciò sono costretti a lasciarsi.
Si rivedranno anni dopo, incontrandosi, ancora una volta per ca
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Seoyoung Park
The best book of his. The title, as you can see, is about the woman who pursuits happiness. At first, the title seemed too philosophical; I guess this would not touch me, but it was great. While reading this book, I laughed and cried a lot. Usually, I was reading in focusing on main character in the book. (I cannot remember her name, I read this last year.) When she got into some negative feelings, I was depressed either all day. I was sorry about that even though she pursued the happiness, she ...more
MaryMartin
Can you really fall in love with someone so passionately in just a few short hours of knowing them? Sarah and Jack did – but at what cost?

I have never read a more powerful, beautiful, yet tragic love story that literally took my breath away – with characters so vivid they become your friends, whom you dread saying goodbye to at the finish.

Compulsive is the only word to describe The Pursuit of Happiness. A book you just cannot put down - guaranteed. I loved it. Margaret
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Minutepapillon
Agréable mais répétitif dans le genre. Pour avoir lu Leaving the world juste avant, je peux dire que j'ai regretté d'y avoir retrouvé des tournures d'événements similaires: ie *l'avocat sans prétention qui se trouve face aux grosses pointures et trouve sa cliente tellement intègre et admirable qu'il est prêt à la facturer à peine *Les sommes d'argent qui tombent du ciel et qu'on accepte d'abord à moitié mais qui finalement arrange bien deux ex machina et tout le bazar.... etc...
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Douglas Kennedy was born in Manhattan in 1955. He studied at Bowdoin College, Maine and Trinity College, Dublin, returning to Dublin in 1977 with just a trenchcoat, backpack and $300. He co-founded a theatre company and sold his first play, Shakespeare on Five Dollars a Day, to Radio 4 in 1980. In 1988 he moved to London and published a travel book, Beyond the Pyramids. His debut novel The Dead He ...more
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The Moment Leaving the World The Big Picture The Woman in the Fifth A Special Relationship

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“The only time you truly become an adult is when you finally forgive your parents for being just as flawed as everyone else.” 145 likes
“...hate is a hard thing to sustain. Grief isn't. Grief is something that can stay with you for a very long time” 5 likes
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