Book Review: Happy & You Know It by Laura Hankin
Happy & You Know It
Author: Laura Hankin
Narrator: Laura Hankin
Published: May 19, 2020
Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: March 24-31, 2021
Jessica’s Rating: 3.5 stars
A dark, witty page-turner set around a group of wealthy mothers and the young musician who takes a job singing to their babies and finds herself pulled into their glamorous lives and dangerous secrets….
After her former band shot to superstardom without her, Claire reluctantly agrees to a gig as a playgroup musician for overprivileged infants on New York’s Park Avenue. Claire is surprised to discover that she is smitten with her new employers, a welcoming clique of wellness addicts with impossibly shiny hair, who whirl from juice cleanse to overpriced miracle vitamins to spin class with limitless energy.
There is perfect hostess Whitney who is on the brink of social-media stardom and just needs to find a way to keep her perfect life from falling apart. Caustically funny, recent stay-at-home mom Amara who is struggling to embrace her new identity. And old money, veteran mom Gwen who never misses an opportunity to dole out parenting advice. But as Claire grows closer to the cool women who pay her bills, she uncovers secrets and betrayals that no amount of activated charcoal can fix.
Filled with humor and shocking twists, Happy and You Know It is a brilliant take on motherhood—exposing it as yet another way for society to pass judgment on women—while also exploring the baffling magnetism of curated social-media lives that are designed to make us feel unworthy. But, ultimately, this dazzling novel celebrates the unlikely bonds that form, and the power that can be unlocked, when a group of very different women is thrown together when each is at her most vulnerable.
Can you imagine you are in a band right on the verge of superstardom and then you are kicked out? This is what happened to Claire. And now she is struggling to make a living and comes across this mommy group that needs a musician for the babies’ enrichment. Do these mommy groups actually exist and do they exist as they do in this novel? Maybe in the rich, upper-class neighborhoods like this novel takes place in. And not just a mommy group, but a paid musician to sing songs to the babies while the mommies gossip and drink?
I came across this one on my Libby app and decided to give it a shot. At about 50% in I was debating on DNF’ng (Did Not Finish) as I am not a mom and was identifying more with Claire the struggling single musician versus the mommy group. I kept going and then at about 65% in the novel went in a direction I was not expecting, which did keep me listening. My ‘favorite’ mom was Amara.
The direction the novel goes in gives a different feel from the beginning of the novel and the moms are far from perfect themselves. Life is not as happy as they make it seem at first to Claire. Now, I feel I can’t say more about the direction it goes in without giving spoilers, but if you pay attention to things going on, you might see what will come.
The author also narrated the novel, and I felt she did a good job with her narration. This might not be for everyone, but I can see some readers enjoying it more than others. I awarded it 3.5 stars, so it was just over a ‘good’ read for me.