Secrets to Happiness follows a year in the life of a group of thirty and forty something New Yorkers. The group is connected through Holly Frick, a woman in her late 30s who works as a writer on a kids tv show. Holly is certain her life is on the decline--she's recently divorced with no relationship prospects, her career is wanning, and she's lost out on much of the promise NYC holds for young people. Soon Holly's life begins to look up. But just as all of her friends lives also start to look up, Holly's falls apart again. Will these loses help her to figure out the secrets to happiness?
Secrets to Happiness is a mixed bag of a book. There are parts of the book that are laugh-out-loud funny, but then there are parts that are completely unnecessary that drag down the whole rest of the narrative. The strongest parts of the novel are the segments that deal with Holly, and those that deal with her ex-boyfriend Spence. Other sections, that focus on Holly's writing partner Leonard and her distant friend Betsy, just feel forced. The first part of the book is pretty slow, and it only picks up when the narrative focuses more tightly on Holly in the second half of the book. I think Dunn has obvious talent as a comic writer, but she should stick to writing what she knows--the experience of a 30 something woman--instead of trying to broaden her story to other characters like gay men.
This was okay chit lit, but definitely not the best out there. I would suggest this to someone looking for a casual read if they've exhausted some of the better chit lit options.