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Happiness for Beginners

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  5,373 ratings  ·  901 reviews
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 ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published March 24th 2015 by St. Martin's Griffin
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4.03  · 
Rating details
 ·  5,373 ratings  ·  901 reviews

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Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
Omg! I had such a love/hate relationship with this book but I loved it so much more! I'm so glad I read it for one of my book groups or I might have missed it! I did get this through the library Overdrive but I have since put the paperback on my Amazon wishlist.

Sometimes there are just those books that get to you. It might not be the whole book, it might be bits & pieces. It was just that for me. There were parts that got to me that I want to insert into my own life. Just little bits that I
Katherine Center
Mar 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
Okay--Accidentally clicked on the rating area and wound up giving my own book 2 stars. So then I had to go back and give it FIVE. Of course! But now it looks like I'm going around reviewing my own books. Which I guess I am--but only by accident. I DO give it five stars, though!! :) My favorite of them all.
Apr 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Christy by: Jennifer Kyle
Shelves: 2016-audios
5 stars!

 photo EF851F43-874F-42B1-847B-E19FD9219CDE_zpsqppzg8e8.jpg

“Don’t be a Helen.”

Happiness for Beginners wasn’t just a story, it was a journey. This author will take you on a journey of epic proportions. It’s witty, fun, and fantastic.
I wanted to amaze everybody, including myself. My own personal campaign of shock and awe.

Helen Carpenter has just made the list as one of my favorite heroines ever. This thirty-two-year-old divorcee decides after a year of being alone, she needs an adventure. So she goes on the adventure of a lifetime. Forg
This was such an excellent and inspiring story and everything I was looking for in the previous travel books I’d bought but ended up not liking. This story was about overcoming your fears, being content with the person you are today, and finding happiness in little things. Add to that a stupidly cute romance with plenty of humour and a survival story in the middle of the mountains, and you’ve completely got me hooked.

Helen was an extremely likeable protagonist. She wasn’t perfect in the slightes
Helen was emotionally recovering from a miscarriage and a divorce. She felt like she needed to do something new and challenging, and joined a wilderness-survival course in the mountains of Wyoming. Along the way she learns to appreciate the good points of a diverse group of people, and connect spiritually to nature. She also starts noting three good things that happened every day. The more you remember good things, the happier and more positive you will feel.

I have to admit that carrying a 70 po
Jan 27, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks
Perfect light-hearted, laugh-out-loud novel after reading some heavy and serious ones. It also has some deep moments, great plot, and character development. Loved Helen and rooted for her as she tried to put her life back together. Highly recommended to fans of Sophie Kinsella. I need to look for Katherine's other books! 4.5★s!
[~Ami~]♥Sexy Dexy♥
4 stars

I really liked this. I thought there was quite a few 5 star worthy face grinning moments. I felt like the adventure could have been more dangerous or life threatening than hiking. A few things at the end I was a bit let down by and maybe in another book I would have been annoyed by one or two things. But in the end I really wanted them together. Helen was awesome in a funny but bitchy kind of way. I really enjoyed it and it's one of those books I'll be happy to read again.
Dec 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Brenna by: Erin
This book completely owned me. I picked it up to read one chapter before bed to see if I was into it and it's less than 24 hours later and I cannot wipe the grin off my face. This is definitely a new top favorite!

Helen is 32, has been divorced for a year, and decides it's time to get her life back. The night before leaving for a three week wilderness adventure she runs into her brother's best friend, Jake. She finds out he is also going on the same trip and he ends up weasling a ride with her. H
Feb 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
5 glowing, laughing,crying, wonderful, all-time-favourite stars
I loved, LOVED, loved this book so much! I had to create a new Goodreads shelf for it: all-time-favourite!

I laughed A LOT...then I cryed a bit and then I laughed while I was crying. I learned to look at things a different, better way. And while I did I had the greatest time ever.

In the beginning I thought, this book is kinda funny, then I thought it is really good, then I thought it is amazing and when I thought it can't get any bett
Julie Ehlers
Mar 16, 2015 rated it it was ok
I wanted to read this novel because its oft-used plot--a person who's been through a difficult experience decides to go on an Outward-Boundish trip as a form of renewal--has always appealed to me. I knew it was going to be some light reading, and that's what I was in the mood for at the time.

What I didn't quite expect was just how predictable this book was going to be. Everything about it was so obvious--when the main character mentioned that she kept a list of all her goals tucked inside her b


Genre: Romance – age difference, adventure
Cover: 8/10
Writing: 8/10
Heroine: 7/10
Hero: 9/10
Humour: 2/10
Hotness: 1/10
Romance: 6/10
Extra book Details: Heroine POV; 1st person. Stand-alone.

Happiness is for Beginners was a nice change of pace for me. It's not solely based on the romance, I'd say, 50/50; 50% romance, 50% about the heroine finding herself.

Our heroine is a divorced 32 year old first-grade school teacher. After a year of wallowing after the breakdown of her marriage, she decide
Jennifer Kyle
Apr 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
5 + “Don’t be a Helen” STARS



Straight to my Favorite Shelf this novel goes with a bullet! The price tag had me hesitant because let’s face it anything over five dollars has me nervous and skeptical to try. Somewhere along the way I became so invested in the characters that nothing could stop me from fully immersing myself in this book.


The heroine is Helen Carpenter. She's a thirty-two years old bitchy-ish big sister and divorc
Nov 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I'm a pile of mushy goo, right now. I need to review this book because it is one of the best I've read. Pure reading bliss!

"To get stronger and toughen up. To care less. To rise up from the ashes of my existence like a really badass phoenix and give life the finger, at last."

The best way for me to compare my feelings on this gem of a book is: think of being in the woods and breathing in the crispiest breath of fresh air. Take it in, and send it back out. I felt that, I felt the freshness of the
Susan's Reviews
Oct 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Empowering Chick Lit. One of the best reads of this decade for me. Unforgettable heroine and an equally endearing, swoon-worthy hero. What more could you ask for? You have to read this book!

And now for my original review:
I laughed uproariously so many times while reading this book! At first, I was worried: there is an extremely well written steamy scene very close to the beginning of the book (I had to switch my a/c on - in October!) Hmm, I thought, was this going to be yet another predictable g
May 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
SUCH a feel-good, uplifting story. Happiness for Beginners had all the elements of chic lit story but went more in depth with the characters so that it read more like fiction.

We met Helen Carpenter a year after her divorce as she was about a embark on a soul searching trip of self-discovery. Why Helen chose to go on a dangerous wilderness tour I will never understand, but then I’ve never been what you would call an “outdoors-y” type. (I am giggling as I wrote that last sentence because anyone wh
Krista Regester
Aug 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Sooo when I first started this novel my immediate reaction went something like this:


Then about five chapters in something began to change. Helen started to hike. It was the biggest ‘glow up’ of a book I’ve ever experienced. Instead of annoyingly rolling my eyes every chance I got, I couldn’t wait to start reading again. The love story APPALLED me at first, but somehow Katherine Center got through to my dark, cold, nonexistent heart and made me a believer.

Mar 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: women-s-fiction
This was a quick read that was light and fluffy and it had some feel-good moments. I was in the perfect mood for this. Chick-lit is one of those genres I don't spend a lot of time in because I just don't have the sweet tooth for this kind of thing very often. However, every now and then, it is completely doable.

What I enjoyed the most was that the male MC had a story all his own and it wasn't just about the romance. I also liked that this takes place on a hiking trail with a group of strangers.
Anna Reads
Jun 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing
LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE. Already gave two copies of this book and forced people to read it. They loved it too. Perfect mix of humor & personal growth.
Apr 10, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio
What a great book!

Happiness for Beginners is the story about Helen, a thirty-something who decides to go on a 3 week hike in the woods to find herself after a really bad year. It was funny, sweet, inspiring and even a little emotional- at least for me. There were a few times that I really related with Helen and was moved to tears.

This was such a refreshing read. I found it hard to put down and it kept me up late to finish. I could definitely see myself reading this again.
Gina *loves sunshine*
Giving this one a surprising 4 stars!! This book had 2 themes which I don't usually connect with - the divorced female finding themselves storyline and the older woman, younger man connection. So it was such a delight to say I thoroughly enjoyed this wilderness adventure!!!

Helen and Jake had an immediate connection and I happily buzzed along on their journey!! This is my second book by Katherine Center, safe to say she’s got my attention in the contemporary fiction genre!
Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
Dec 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Personal growth, happiness, healing, humor, and love, with a wilderness adventure thrown in; this book was all that and more. I highly recommend this brilliant novel to women's fiction fans. Now I'm off to read all of Katherine Center's other books!
Mar 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Posted on Life Between Reads

The best books are the ones that completely exceed your expectations. You know, the ones where you have an opinion or assumption formed before you even read the first page, only to have those opinions or assumptions completely blown out of the water? That’s what happened to me with Happiness for Beginners.

Ehhh, looks like a Wild knockoff, my pessimistic self said as I requested it on NetGalley. But you liked Wild, so you might like this one, too. Plus it’s almost spri
Tracie Payne
Sep 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I listened to this one and it was fantastic! Great story, awesome characters and quick and witty dialogue. It had everything!
May 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I simple loved this book. It was like a warm cup of tea with a cookie on the side for good measure. Comforting, sweet, a little bitter. Perfection. I could not put it down (literally, I read it in one sitting!). My mood is lifted, my heart light.
Beautiful written, great characters. Charming!
Chris Conley
Feb 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Wow. I loved this. The search for happiness is such a human endeavor. Helen’s own trek to figure out her version of happiness and, in the end, peace felt very real to me.
The audio performance was wonderful and funny. Ms. Gavin did an excellent job with both female and male voices.

I thought the story was cute and funny, but I wished Helen and Jake weren't (view spoiler)

“The things we remember are what we hold on to. And what we hold on to becomes the story of our lives.”

I don't even know how to express my feelings about this book. I do know that I really adored this book! And honestly, I didn't even realize how much I NEEDED to read this book until I did. It's so well written, inspiring, full of heart, beautiful and memorable.

P.S. I adored Beckett and Duncan. If you've read this book already, you'll probably laugh at me. But I did! :D

Kathy V
Nov 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars
Kaytee Cobb
Feb 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was fun and adventurous. Helen is trying to get over her divorce and feels like her life is falling apart. She signs up for a wilderness adventure course and ends up with her brother's childhood best friend, Jake. You might guess how it goes but it's a fun road to get there.
1-Click Addict Support Group
Mar 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Oh. Oh, WOW! I loved this book. I loved the whole experience of reading it -- the feel of the *gasp* paperback in my hands, the late night, just-one-more-chapter atmosphere, and the story. What a great story.

After a hellish year -- six years, actually -- Helen Carpenter decides she needs to do something for herself. Something to improve her outlook on life, something to kick start the new Helen. And that something is a three week survival course in Wyoming. Just Helen, glorious nature, a freak
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Katherine Center is the New York Times bestselling author of How to Walk Away, the upcoming Things You Save in a Fire (August 2019), and five other bittersweet comic novels. Six Foot Pictures is currently adapting her fourth novel, The Lost Husband, into a feature film starring Josh Duhamel, Leslie Bibb, and Nora Dunn. Katherine has been compared to both Nora Ephron and Jane Austen, and the Dallas ...more
“The things we remember are what we hold on to. And what we hold on to becomes the story of our lives.” 16 likes
“It's my battle cry: Appreciate Everything!” 12 likes
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