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The Happiness Code

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Her acclaimed story collection, At the Sign of the Naked Waiter, showcased Amy Herrick's gift for language, exuberant humor, and boundless imagination. In her charming debut novel, The Happiness Code, that gift has come to fruition. "A few days or a few years" into the future, an ordinary Brooklyn family is going about the business of living. Pinky longs for a second chil Her acclaimed story collection, At the Sign of the Naked Waiter, showcased Amy Herrick's gift for language, exuberant humor, and boundless imagination. In her charming debut novel, The Happiness Code, that gift has come to fruition. "A few days or a few years" into the future, an ordinary Brooklyn family is going about the business of living. Pinky longs for a second child, but her husband, Arthur, broods unceasingly about the sorrows of the planet and feels it needs fewer people on board, not more. They are both seeking happiness in their own way-as are the novel's other indelibly drawn characters, from catastrophe-minded seven-year-old Teddy and Oedipus the family cat to Pinky's abrasive forensic psychologist friend, Fran. It is the discovery of a perfectly happy abandoned baby in their garden, and then his disappearance, that changes all their lives. The Happiness Code is at once a romance, a mystery, and a fairy tale-laced with hard questions about destiny and its new challenger, biotechnology.


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Her acclaimed story collection, At the Sign of the Naked Waiter, showcased Amy Herrick's gift for language, exuberant humor, and boundless imagination. In her charming debut novel, The Happiness Code, that gift has come to fruition. "A few days or a few years" into the future, an ordinary Brooklyn family is going about the business of living. Pinky longs for a second chil Her acclaimed story collection, At the Sign of the Naked Waiter, showcased Amy Herrick's gift for language, exuberant humor, and boundless imagination. In her charming debut novel, The Happiness Code, that gift has come to fruition. "A few days or a few years" into the future, an ordinary Brooklyn family is going about the business of living. Pinky longs for a second child, but her husband, Arthur, broods unceasingly about the sorrows of the planet and feels it needs fewer people on board, not more. They are both seeking happiness in their own way-as are the novel's other indelibly drawn characters, from catastrophe-minded seven-year-old Teddy and Oedipus the family cat to Pinky's abrasive forensic psychologist friend, Fran. It is the discovery of a perfectly happy abandoned baby in their garden, and then his disappearance, that changes all their lives. The Happiness Code is at once a romance, a mystery, and a fairy tale-laced with hard questions about destiny and its new challenger, biotechnology.

30 review for The Happiness Code

  1. 5 out of 5

    Wila

    My 15 year old daughter introduced me to this book (found in the Young Adult section of my library). What a charming read. I devoured this book in one night and was blown away by the ending.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    It was okay. Interesting idea, interesting enough plot to want to keep going, but I majorly scanned parts of it. I didn't enjoy following the cats point of view and I felt even the boy's story was too much. I enjoyed the adult characters. It was okay. Interesting idea, interesting enough plot to want to keep going, but I majorly scanned parts of it. I didn't enjoy following the cats point of view and I felt even the boy's story was too much. I enjoyed the adult characters.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Bethypage42

    This is a fun read. The characters are lovable, but the plot is quick paced and innovative so it's not an emotional read. I feel like any plot reveal is a spoiler, so I'm struggling...this book is a pleasure for its unique voice. I hate to apply the usual cliches like "rollicking good time" but this book is a rollercoaster of unusual circumstances and strange occurances set as a backdrop for a normal family, resulting in strange feelings of vertigo for the reader. Kinda like Carl Hiassen meets t This is a fun read. The characters are lovable, but the plot is quick paced and innovative so it's not an emotional read. I feel like any plot reveal is a spoiler, so I'm struggling...this book is a pleasure for its unique voice. I hate to apply the usual cliches like "rollicking good time" but this book is a rollercoaster of unusual circumstances and strange occurances set as a backdrop for a normal family, resulting in strange feelings of vertigo for the reader. Kinda like Carl Hiassen meets the Brady Bunch. The ending does get a little out of the realm of possibility, but the whole premise is extreme. I think the author deserves a little lee-way, considering her difficult task. This is complicated story only imaginable in our strange times.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Ali O'Hara

    I was tempted to go with 5 stars for this book, so consider this at least 4.5. I'm not quite sure what makes a book 5 stars for me, so I had to go a little lower. This book is a fun, sweet, strange read. I especially loved the (few) parts from the cat's perspective. Its not really a book about animals though. Oh and the beginning is all about babies and wanting a baby and I thought "oh dear, how did *I* pick up this book?" but whew, it wasn't really like that although it IS about a baby, sort of I was tempted to go with 5 stars for this book, so consider this at least 4.5. I'm not quite sure what makes a book 5 stars for me, so I had to go a little lower. This book is a fun, sweet, strange read. I especially loved the (few) parts from the cat's perspective. Its not really a book about animals though. Oh and the beginning is all about babies and wanting a baby and I thought "oh dear, how did *I* pick up this book?" but whew, it wasn't really like that although it IS about a baby, sort of. Sweet, fun, strange. Really. You should read it.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Bobbie N

    SUMMARY: A scientist has discovered a gene that may hold the secret of happiness. One of his colleagues implants it into the child she is carrying, and subsequent events bring the baby into the lives of an ordinary family, who discover that the downside of his happiness is his inability to feel suffering or pain. COMMENTS: A wonderful story about love and destiny, science and mystery, that explores the question of whether we’re meant to be happy or if happiness is meant to be a now-and-then occu SUMMARY: A scientist has discovered a gene that may hold the secret of happiness. One of his colleagues implants it into the child she is carrying, and subsequent events bring the baby into the lives of an ordinary family, who discover that the downside of his happiness is his inability to feel suffering or pain. COMMENTS: A wonderful story about love and destiny, science and mystery, that explores the question of whether we’re meant to be happy or if happiness is meant to be a now-and-then occurrence in our lives.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance

    This book confused me. An unhappy man and his wife live with their young son. The wife wants another child. The man refuses to allow the wife to have another child, but he has a child with his research co-worker. The baby is given a happiness gene. The baby never cries, not even when he is severely cut or stung by a wasp. But what is this story about? What was the author trying to say? And what did the ending mean? I have no idea.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Allison

    Quirky, fun, thought-provoking. The voice sort of made me feel like I was reading a book written by one of my favourite bloggers. Pinky and Arthur are such a great pairing - the redheaded spitfire and the gloomy scientist - and Teddy is a refreshingly non-cutesy child, with his serious singlemindedness and irascibility. Some good questions about the nature - and desirability - of happiness, as an ephemeral state, an unattainable fiction, or a genetically assured certainty.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Mary Fahnlander

    Hard to think who wouldn't like this book, since it has something for everyone--romance, mystery, science, great characters all looking for happiness. See for yourself who finds it. This book is refreshingly different yet very engaging. Hard to think who wouldn't like this book, since it has something for everyone--romance, mystery, science, great characters all looking for happiness. See for yourself who finds it. This book is refreshingly different yet very engaging.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Lauren Schuman

    This book was interesting but the overall message/ending was really confusing. I think the author wanted to leave a bit of a cliffhanger or leave the ending up to the reader's interpretation. That or the ending was supposed to be really intense and I just missed it entirely. This book was interesting but the overall message/ending was really confusing. I think the author wanted to leave a bit of a cliffhanger or leave the ending up to the reader's interpretation. That or the ending was supposed to be really intense and I just missed it entirely.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Elissa

    I like her writing style a lot. This is an easy read

  11. 5 out of 5

    Samantha

    A good read for anyone into science/genetics

  12. 5 out of 5

    H

    Both of Amy Herrick's books have been full of quirky people whose world I thoroughly enjoyed entering. I hope she keeps writing. Both of Amy Herrick's books have been full of quirky people whose world I thoroughly enjoyed entering. I hope she keeps writing.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    Almost a 5 star book -- lovely and strange little story. I really enjoyed this one.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Tania

    This is my 124th book of 2011. As per my routine I randomly chose it from my piles. I think "my code" is unique but hey it makes me happy! T This is my 124th book of 2011. As per my routine I randomly chose it from my piles. I think "my code" is unique but hey it makes me happy! T

  15. 4 out of 5

    Sharla

    This was my choice for a long, no-kids weekend at the lake. I loved it! Amy Herrick is a good writer, and this was a very entertaining, unusual story!

  16. 4 out of 5

    michele

    The book read great. Easy to visualize what the author intended you to see, but hard to swallow, even for fiction.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Debbie

    I did not like it at all. It had a good theme, but poorly executed

  18. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    Oh, this book had potential...and I ended up very disappointed in the end. Brave New Worldish feeling...great concept that wasn't followed through. Meh. Oh, this book had potential...and I ended up very disappointed in the end. Brave New Worldish feeling...great concept that wasn't followed through. Meh.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Tensy (bookdoyen)

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jim

  21. 4 out of 5

    Darin

  22. 5 out of 5

    Carissa Chan

  23. 5 out of 5

    Alexandra

  24. 4 out of 5

    Francie Shoemaker

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jamie

  26. 4 out of 5

    Khollott

  27. 4 out of 5

    Alison

  28. 5 out of 5

    Betty Rice

  29. 5 out of 5

    Jana

  30. 4 out of 5

    Teadee

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