28. Happiness for Beginners by Katherine Center – Book Club Pick


Read this: Happiness for Beginners by Katherine Center

Watch this: Happiness for Beginners movie on Netflix

Why We Made This Selection and Background Knowledge

Julie: Really, nothing. It came up in a Google search of newer books being adapted for screen.

Claire: Nothing really, as usual. Did see pics of Luke Grimes in it so that caught my attention a tiny bit. Thought it would be interesting to see him on something other than Yellowstone.

Overall Opinion of the Book

Claire: I liked it, up until one part. Why the heck did they have to kill the dog? Also, they kept referring to Jake and Windy as “dating” in the book and that really bothered me. Where the heck are they going to “date” in a crowd of smelly hikers in the middle of the woods?

Julie: l liked it. It was an easy read.

The beginning felt like it might be a corny romance but once they got onto the hike it started to have more substance. It handles some serious topics like child loss, a suicide attempt, chronic illness, and more but manages to avoid feeling heavy. I think that’s a testament to the author and her character development.

So, all in all, I enjoyed it but it wasn’t a life-changing book in the way Fleishman is I’m Trouble was.

Overall Opinion of the Movie

Julie: Could have been more substantial. I think they took too much out that made it unique.

Claire: Ugh. Over it in the first 20 minutes.

Before you say which you liked better, did you read the book or listen to the audiobook… because it matters.

Claire: Listened on Audible. Narrated by Marguerite Gavin. Felt her voice was a little old for the main character Helen, but she did a great job narrating all the different characters.

Julie:  I read it on Kindle.

Which was better?

Julie: The book

Claire: The book


  1. Was the outcome the same in both the show and the book? Yes
  2. Was the main character/primary narrator the same in the show and the book? Yes
  3. Was the primary conflict the same in the show and the book? Yes
  4. Would you read the book again or recommend it to a friend? No
  5. Would you watch the show/movie again or recommend it to a friend? Yes

Overall rating: 4/5

To listen to the full episode on Happiness for Beginners check out But the Book Was Better on Apple and Spotify. Don’t forget to subscribe so you know exactly when each episode is released!


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