Seven Steps to Happiness by Stella Newman
Publisher: Headline Review
Published: 20th October 2016
Is there a formula for happiness?
If it’s Netflix, two-for-one Malbec and the perfect toasted-cheese sandwich, Lenny has it covered. But when her friend Juliet finds herself at rock bottom, Lenny realises it’s going to take more than that to fix her.
Luckily help is at hand in the form of HappyGuru: a plan which promises happiness in seven easy steps. So when Lenny is asked to research it, she puts scepticism aside and persuades Juliet they should give it a go.
The friends quickly find themselves immersed in mindfulness, juice cleanses and death-defying circus stunts. Yet as Juliet becomes increasingly buoyant, things only get more complicated for Lenny.
Can it be that happiness is only seven steps away?
I begun this book thinking it was going to be all slow going, a little hard to get on with, and if I’m honest a little boring. Then something happened. I can’t pinpoint what part of the book it was but something made me sit up and pay that little bit more attention. It had be gripped. I felt for the characters, I felt the pain or the happiness, the sadness, everything right beside them. I connected with them, I wanted everything to work out for them.
Lenny, to begin with, was a little… I just can’t put my finger on it. I wouldn’t say self-centred, she definitely wasn’t that. I really couldn’t figure her out until Juliet’s world falls apart. She comes into her own then, she stays beside her friend when she needs her the most. She never falters, she is loyal, and her main concern is to get Juliet to become happy again. Everything she does is to help her friend. Her own world crumbles down, and it’s the reverse of everything she did for Juliet. Lenny does get her ending though, which I was very pleased about.
Juliet to begin with comes across as a stable, secure family woman. Until it all comes tumbling down around her unexpectedly. I felt for her, I really did. I think I connected more with Juliet than Lenny. I’m not sure why, maybe it’s because we see what she lost. I know we saw everything with Lenny as well, and now this will sound horrible, but Lenny never had much to begin with. Not like Juliet. Juliet has to lose everything before she finds her happiness. As with Lenny, Juliet gets her ending. She’s happy, she’s at the top of the happy mountain.
This is the first book I’ve read by Stella Newman, and it definitely will not be the last. Her writing style took a while to get used to, but it was just wonderful. It gripped me when I least expected it, it nearly had me in tears because it made me feel everything they felt. I never thought that this book would make me feel like it has. It has taken me a few days to even think about writing a review for it. Sometimes it’s the books we never expect to have an impact, that actually have an impact. This book has sat on my shelf for a long time, and I felt it was the right time for it. I’m glad I waited.
This book has it all. Loss, love, laughter, happiness, sadness. Funny moments, heart breaking moments. The characters are beautifully developed, written perfectly. The food described within the book.. Christ, I want one of those cheese toasties desperately. I would have done anything for one of Lenny’s cheese toasties.
This book. Well, I read another review for it and they said that do you ever get the feeling that certain books are meant to find you at the exactly right time? I completely agree with that. Wholeheartedly agree with it. This book found me at a time that I needed to look at everything and be extremely grateful, and just happy. I loved it, I loved the characters, the writing style, just everything. For that, I give it a massive 5/5.