Saturday, May 18, 2024

Happiness Falls by Angie Kim

Rating: 5 of 5 stars 
Pages: 387 pages
Published: August 2023

Happiness Falls, at the surface, is a literary mystery about a father who goes missing in a Washington DC-area park, and the last person who was with him was his young son who has a rare genetic condition that prohibits him from speaking. What's more is the fictional story takes place during the summer of 2020, which posed additional challenges in solving the missing person case in the midst of a global pandemic. On a deeper level, the story is more philosophical and thought-provoking. It begs the questions, what does it mean to be happy? What is the difference between being non-verbal and non-communicative? How does verbal language communicate intelligence? What role does race play in how we perceive and are perceived? How do we protect the ones we love, especially in the most challenging of circumstances?

The book is narrated by the older sister, who is a twin. She and both her brothers and mother come together as a family to work out and reconcile what has happened to the patriarch of their family. The specific plot of the mystery is not necessarily the most important aspect of the book, but it helps propel the story forward. I found this story to beautifully written, and I appreciated the way it made me think about things. There's a lot to unpack beyond the mystery, which is resolved in the course of the books nearly 400 pages. This is one I slowly savored and wouldn't mind reading again.  

Recommendation: This book was on my TBR list for far too long. I am happy I read it. This is one of those books where you're not going to get a nice and tidy ending, but you will get a complete and fulfilling story. I highly recommend this book for readers who enjoy cerebral reads that can easily be discussed with others. 

Until next time ... Read on!

Regardless of whether I purchase a book, borrow a book, or receive a book in exchange for review, my ultimate goal is to be honest, fair, and constructive. I hope you've found this review helpful.


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