Some Kind of Happiness | Review
Just four pages into Some Kind of Happiness and I did something I never do – I updated my Goodreads with a status. It said “I’m on page 4 of 374 of Some Kind of Happiness: Four pages in and I already want to curl up in this book like a blanket. Cozy, lyrical writing that I love.” I was basically feeling like this:
That was somewhere between 1 and 2pm. I put the book down around dinnertime, to you know, eat dinner. And then I found myself picking it up and reading some more.
And carrying it around with me throughout the house.
And then reading it in bed.
And then staying up way past my bedtime to finish it.
In Some Kind of Happiness, we meet Finley. Finley is every child who deals with depression or anxiety. She is so imaginative, but not everyone sees it. She keeps to herself and writes all the time in her notebook. Her parents are having a hard time, so they send her to stay with her grandparents for the summer while they try to work things out. Her grandparents whom, by the way, she has never met due to some family drama. There are also aunts and lots of cousins. And while this is new and strange, and somewhat overwhelming for Finley, it’s also beautiful because she becomes such great friends with her cousins. That is partly due to the magic of Everwood, Finley’s special world, but partly just because Finley is Finley. Finley also makes some new friends and overall the summer looks promising.
But then (in my opinion) the grandparents make some mistakes. Careless words are thrown around. Finley feels isolated and unwanted, a common issue when dealing with depression or anxiety. Family secrets come out, both new and old, and everything changes. Finley’s secret is also now out in the open.
Basically, this book was glorious. Legrand’s writing is so lyrical that I just got sucked into this place where I was alternating between Finley’s beautiful, magical world she had created, and the harsh realities of being a pre-teen with depression and anxiety, and trying to hide it. It took me back to my childhood and I was awed at Finley and the way she had learned to cope (which frankly, was a much better way than mine).
While reading this book, I wished I could go back in time and give my pre-teen self this book. My 10 year old self connected to Finley and a part of me screamed out ‘You! You get me! You see me!’. Finley vocalized feelings I had at the same age and it was profound reading those emotions on a page, even twenty years later. Even if I had no personal connection to depression or anxiety, I still think this book would have been very powerful. It addresses something that is so prevalent but isn’t talked about, and to have a beautifully written character who is so relateable is a much needed asset. Kids (and adults) need to know that mental illness is okay. It doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with you. And this book beautifully demonstrates that.
Plot wise, this book is solid. The plot is a stunning tapestry of the golden threads of Finley’s Everwood and the muted colors of her blue days. The characters are vivid and their voices ring clear. Multiple little subplots make an appearance here and there to make an mess of everything (just like real life).
I wish everyone would read this book. Especially if they struggle with mental illness, or know someone who does. It is such a beautiful glimpse into an anxiety riddled mind that can be so hard to understand (unless you are gifted with one of those anxiety riddled minds yourself). I honestly think this book would help folks understand and related better to friends and family who may be struggling.
In short, if you haven’t read this book, go read it. Now. It’s beautiful.
My favorite line: “I want to ask him about these things, but whenever I imagine doing so, I freeze up. I have always been better at writing things than saying them.”
My favorite visual: Finley’s notebook.
Rating: 5 stars
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