Lisa Vegan's Reviews > The Happiness of Kati

The Happiness of Kati by Jane Vejjajiva
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's review
Nov 04, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: childrens, fiction, novel, orphaned-and-quasi-orphaned-kids, reviewed
Read from November 02 to 04, 2010

This book was very hard for me to rate. I could have just as easily given it 3 stars as 4, so I guess that means 3 ½ stars, or thereabouts.

This is the story of Kati, 9 years old, who lives with relatives and who hasn’t seen her mother for several years, but hasn’t been told why. As the story progresses, circumstances change and Kati finds out a lot of information. The events take place in 3 locations in Thailand.

The writing style is very poetic, but it also sort of distanced me from the emotions in the story, and some of the feelings rang slightly false. I don’t want to say which because I don’t want to give away too much about the story. There are some wonderful and amazingly vivid descriptions of food and flowers and living by the water.

Each chapter has subtitles that don’t reflect the content of the chapters but tell their own back-story.

I loved how Kati’s decision was revealed; I would have really appreciated it when I was young. Kati’s mother’s original decision angered me because in my mind there was a far superior and better choice, but a couple of things Kati’s mother did (the room, the letter) I just loved. I really adored grandpa for the way he relates to Kati, and in giving her some control (other family members do too actually) and particularly for his sly sense of humor. Most of the characters are interesting.

In the author’s bio section on the inside back cover, the reader is told that the author’s father is a doctor who researches ALS and that he asked his daughter, who lives in Bangkok, Thailand, to write about Asian people suffering from the illness. In this book she did that.

This book could be read in one sitting and I think I’d have appreciated it more if I had done that, or if I’d done it in just 3 sittings, as there are 3 parts to the book. To pick up and put down as frequently as I did isn’t ideal. It’s a very short novel and a very quick read.
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Reading Progress

11/02/2010 page 1
1.0% "I plan to read this next. I'm not sure how any book is going to fare in comparison with the book I just finished: Wild Things by Clay Carmichael."
11/02/2010 page 12
9.0% "Well, I just started this, and despite following a book I adored, I am enjoying this a lot."
11/04/2010 page 87
63.0% "This could easily be read in one sitting. I love grandpa."

Comments (showing 1-5 of 5) (5 new)

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message 1: by Kathryn (new) - added it

Kathryn Great review!!!

Is it a melancholy book, do you think? Or one with a mixture of emotions? How does it compare, say, to The Crow-Girl: The Children of Crow Cove? (I don't mind a few minor spoilers--the description of the book made me not inclined to read it, but your review has me intrigued, so...!)

message 2: by Lisa (last edited Nov 05, 2010 03:10PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lisa Vegan Kathryn, There's a mix. It is melacholy but Grandpa is really hilarious, and Kati is not depressed, sad at times but not depressed. The Crow-Girl devastated me, despite its happy ending. This book didn't touch my heart that strongly so I'm not sure how to compare the two. This one definitely has less trials and tribulations for its heroine than the Crow Cove book. Kati is very well loved by several relatives and a good friend throughout the whole book.

Does that help?

message 3: by Kathryn (new) - added it

Kathryn Lisa wrote: "Does that help?

Yes, very much so! Thank you :-)

Lisa Vegan Glad to help!

Lisa Vegan Abigail wrote: "I'm really looking forward to reading his one, Lisa! I hope it eventually gets picked, over in the group!"

Me too!

I'm so glad I read it. Ditto with Wild Things. That one I wouldn't have missed for the world even if the group never ever read it.

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