SLIDER

HOW TO BE HAPPY BY EVA WOODS


Released: October 5th 2017
Publisher: Sphere
Author: Eva Woods
Pages: 376

Annie has been sad for so long that she's forgotten how to be any other way. Until she meets Polly.

Polly is everything that Annie is not. She's colourful, joyful, happy. Because if recent events have taught Polly anything, its that your time is too short to waste a single day. 

Polly has one hundred days to help Annie find happiness. Annie's convinced its impossible, but so is saying no to Polly. And on an unforgettable journey, Annie begins to realise that maybe, just maybe, theres still colour to be found in the world.

But then it becomes clear that Polly's about to need her new friend more than ever.. and Annie will have to decide once and for all whether letting others in is a risk worth taking.

Review

I was gifted this over Christmas by a close friend, under the strict instruction on opening it not to take offence! How to be Happy? No offence taken. This book is a true reminder that sometimes "happy" can be found even in the smallest of things, if only you stop and take the time to bother.

After reading the blurb I could see why she had picked it out for me, it sounded both touching and inspiring at the same time. Woods has lovingly managed to write a story based on a very real life scenario, whilst entwining the 100 Happy days project seen on social media. The project shows how adding the smallest of changes to your everyday life can bring happiness and joy with very little effort. 

The two main characters are complete opposites of each-other, Annie is down and out of luck, her life in tatters and her mother sick in hospital. Polly despite only having months to live is exuberant and full of life and joy and intends on living her final days the best way she can. She entices Annie to see if she can live out 100 Happy Days with her, taking part in random but simple acts to make both of them happier with life. Annie thinks Polly is the last thing she needs in her life, but all to quickly realises she might just be the exact thing she needs. 

Whilst the basis of the book is around a young woman dying of cancer, I don't think its something you constantly think about whilst reading. I like that through out the story you learn more and more about each character by the 100 Happy things they take part in, the reasons why Annie is so down on her luck and why she is so miserable and also about Polly's life before she got diagnosed. You go through so many emotions, happy one minute, sad the next, overwhelmed and excited too. The characters taking up the side lines all have there own little quirks and backstories too which is nice like Annie's room mate Costas and Polly's brother George. 

Woods brings what could have been a depressing story to life with humorous and relatable characters. I thoroughly enjoyed the story from beginning to end, and would recommend it to anyone looking for something a little different to read or a new outlook on life. I believe in the theory "There is someone always worse off than yourself" and that you should be grateful for the life you've been given. Its a shame sometimes that most people won't start living their life until they learn it could be over. I think I'll leave this review with a quote from Annie's Eulogy for Polly...

"We should live as if we're dying at some unspecified but possibly quite soon time. We cant expect everyday to be happy, and there'll always be sickness and heartache and sadness, but we should never put up with a sad or a boring or a depressing day, just for the sake of it. None of us have time for that, whether we have a hundred days left or a hundred thousand."

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