Book Reviews of The Pursuit of Happiness

The Pursuit of Happiness
The Pursuit of Happiness
Author: Tara Altebrando
ISBN-13: 9781416513285
ISBN-10: 1416513280
Publication Date: 3/7/2006
Pages: 288
  • Currently 4.1/5 Stars.

4.1 stars, based on 18 ratings
Publisher: MTV
Book Type: Paperback
Reviews: Amazon | Write a Review

3 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful

reviewed The Pursuit of Happiness on + 6 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
this was an amazing book. it really was. the ups and downs betsy goes through really make a good plot. and the people she meets and then james.!ohh it was suchh a good book.
if you liked the truth about forever by saraahh dessen. you will love this book justt as muchh.
reviewed The Pursuit of Happiness on + 962 more book reviews
The summer before her senior year looks like it's going to be Betsy's worst. First, the traumatic event of her mother dying of breast cancer. Then, her boyfriend Brandon leaves her for another girl whom he's been seeing behind her back. She grudgingly works at Morrisville, a historically reenacted village, and her father and young brother Ben are slowly falling apart (they wind up eating takeout and fast food every night).

Betsy feels like the loneliest girl in the world, but as she moves through the stages of grief, she begins to expand her once limited worldview. She befriends Liza, her fellow coworker-slash-classmate whom she has never spoken to before because they ran in completely different crowds. She also gets to know another coworker, James, an intelligent carpenter whom she believes she can fall in love with. If only the situation wasn't so...complicated.

This is a wonderfully done story. Sometimes I don't like how it doesn't seem to focus enough on the past, but Altebrando masterfully ties everything together in a satisfying conclusion. This book is, above all, real. It is a wonderful read that I highly recommend.
reviewed The Pursuit of Happiness on + 7145 more book reviews
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According to the book ON DEATH AND DYING by Elsabeth Kubler-Ross, the five stages of grief are denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. If you ask Betsy Irving, though, Elsabeth got it all wrong. The five stages of grief are really agitation, intoxication, experimentation, resignation, and reinvigoration. Betsy's known for awhile that her mother is going to die. After all, with the type of breast cancer that her mother has, and the late stage that it's in, there's not a lot that can be done. But it's still a shock that hot, sticky Thursday in June when she leaves work at the Morrisville Historic Village early when her Aunt Patty and Uncle Jim show up to escort her home. Now her mother is gone, the funeral is over, the well-meaning guests have left, and it's just Betsy, her dad, and her younger brother, Ben, taking up space in the huge white Victorian house that they call home.

In the beginning, Betsy's friends have only her best interests at heart, and her first real boyfriend, Brandon, tries to be there for her, but Betsy still feels as if nothing in her life is working out as planned. And when said friends seem to disappear off the face of the earth, and Brandon turns out not to be the great boyfriend she had hoped for when he dumps her, things in Betsy's life get even more off-kilter. As if it wasn't bad enough that she's spending the summer working at the Village (which she knows was a trick devised by her history-loving, professor father), dressed in stifling Early American clothes and demonstrating cornbread making to eager tourists, now she has to do it alone, without any real friends or a supportive boyfriend--and in the presence of Liza Henske, whose Goth Girl shield isn't allowed at the Village.

It's amazing, though, what a new sort-of friend like Liza can teach a girl who just wants to get away form it all. And when James, the Village carpenter who will soon be leaving for Princeton, begins to comfort her with his soft-spoken words and small carvings, Betsy starts to learn that no matter what the actual stages of grief are, she just might be able to survive them after all.

THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS is a poignant, heartfelt novel. It's one of the best books I've read dealing with grief, with dialogue that never seems out of place or too cheesy. Ms. Altebrando has written a stunning debut novel that will leave you thinking about the story of Betsy and her family and friends long after you've finished the book.