Happy & You Know It by Laura Hankin
Publication Date : May 19th 2020
Publisher : Berkley Publishing Group
Genre : Women’s Fiction
Pages : 384
A dark, witty page-turner set around a group of wealthy mothers and the young musician who takes a job singing to their babies and finds herself pulled into their glamorous lives and dangerous secrets….
After her former band shot to superstardom without her, Claire reluctantly agrees to a gig as a playgroup musician for overprivileged infants on New York’s Park Avenue. Claire is surprised to discover that she is smitten with her new employers, a welcoming clique of wellness addicts with impossibly shiny hair, who whirl from juice cleanse to overpriced miracle vitamins to spin class with limitless energy.
There is perfect hostess Whitney who is on the brink of social-media stardom and just needs to find a way to keep her perfect life from falling apart. Caustically funny, recent stay-at-home mom Amara who is struggling to embrace her new identity. And old money, veteran mom Gwen who never misses an opportunity to dole out parenting advice. But as Claire grows closer to the cool women who pay her bills, she uncovers secrets and betrayals that no amount of activated charcoal can fix.
Filled with humor and shocking twists, Happy and You Know It is a brilliant take on motherhood—exposing it as yet another way for society to pass judgment on women—while also exploring the baffling magnetism of curated social-media lives that are designed to make us feel unworthy. But, ultimately, this dazzling novel celebrates the unlikely bonds that form, and the power that can be unlocked, when a group of very different women is thrown together when each is at her most vulnerable.
*** Note: I received e-copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to PRHGlobal for free copy. ***
Happy & You Know It was dramatic women’s fiction, story of newbie mothers, their playgroup and a playgroup musician who changed everything in their life. It was about motherhood, new moms’ feelings, emotions and mental health, friendship, betrayal, and scam.
Now that I finished this book I really feel great that I wasn’t part of any playgroup or anything that brings loads of competition and make me fret over all milestones. I don’t understand why moms feel they need to push their kids at such young age so that they can do better than other kids or moms! Back to review-
Writing was easy to follow, captivating and emotive. It was multiple third person narrative from Clair, Amara, Whitney and Gwen’s POV. Setting of NYC and houses of rich privileged mothers worked perfectly with the storyline.
It started with epilogue that made me think which mom was running and why and what happened. First few chapters introduced characters and their present life along with the back stories of each characters and how they joined playgroup and met each other. As soon as I started reading book, I knew there was going to be lot of drama. I was curious to find out what will happen in this playgroup and how Clair joining as playgroup musician changed their life and what she did that they might regret hiring her later, and that we don’t know until 60% of the book.
Let’s meet mommies or members of the playgroup- (Amara and Clair were my most favourite characters.)
Amara was not as rich as other mothers, and was struggling with her wailing difficult son, Charlie, who was underweight and was slow to achieve milestones. She felt tired, frustrated, and angry all the time as she was so close to promotion and had to take break from job, because of judging pitiful eyes of other mothers, especially because of Gwen’s endless advices and her perfect daughter. I like her feminist nature, trying to prove the world being black woman in world of men. I felt for her and rooted for her from the beginning. Her worries about not being better mother, missing relaxed and carefree time she had before child, and not having financial independence was realistic. Her emotional outbreaks and losing control over herself on knowing about the truth was genuine.
Whitney had everything, beautiful baby, handsome husband, money to spend, and was momstgram famous almost like celebrity, but her life was not as perfect as she showed in Instagram. She felt alone and lonely as her husband, Grant, was never there to support, away on business trips more and whenever he was back, they had arguments. He was pompous and arrogant husband who thought he was doing his part, earning money and parenting is Whitney’s job. She had her issues with Grant and I’m not fan of him but that’s no excuse for what she did. I think that was TrueMommy effect but who knows! I might have been okay with it but affair with husband of one of playgroup moms was big No No. I could see how wrong this will go.
Gwen was uptight, rich mom who inherited Brownstone from her parents after they died in accident. Her dad was alcoholic. It had huge impact on her life and biggest reason she chose Christopher as husband as he never drinks. But he had his flaws that Gwen discovered later. She kept showing other mothers how experienced she was and how perfect her daughters are. She was not most likable in group.
Vicki was quiet and dreamy one, lost in her own cocoon with her child who didn’t stay much or involved in conversation. I could relate to her, happy in her own world, not giving f***, just nodding yes or no without arguments and not showing any doubts.
Ellie and Meredith were fun to read. Their inside jokes was funny and I liked their companionship, they fought but also made up. Between two, I like Meredith more than Ellie.
Clair was musician. The band she sang in, Vagabond, kicked her out. We don’t know the reason initially so I was curious to find out what happened. She was wallowing in hurt and humiliation but then her cousin found her job as playgroup musician. Not much but the other option was move back to her parents’ basement in religious town that judged her for supporting her cousin and criticized her cousin for being lesbian. As she started working with glamorous moms, she enjoyed singing for their babies, basked in their praises and also started to know them more. I liked her, she had her flaws, she longed to live better, rich and famous life and she envied mothers for their privileged lives but she was nice. I didn’t like what she did at Amara’s house but what she discovered was shocking.
I loved the way author explored mom culture and captured emotions of each characters. These moms were constantly trying to be better mother and felt pity for the ones who couldn’t handle their kids, and worst bitched those mothers with others. What I didn’t expect when I started reading the book was so many layers along with the main theme– mental health, rich mothers’ life and their show offs, betrayal, affair, social media influence and its impact in life, race, and wellness program and scam.
“We are all so obsessed with protecting out child, aren’t we?” “That’s how we got into this mess in the first place. We want to paint a lovely picture that we hang over their window to block out how the world really works, to give them these lives. And to do that, we think we need to keep ourselves perfect too. But no mother in the history of the world has been able to protect her child forever. the world barges in through the front door eventually.”
Mystery was intriguing. I couldn’t guess who was behind the scam and how moms would find out about the real culprit. I enjoyed the drama at climax when moms found out Whitney’s affair and betrayal. I still couldn’t figure out why Amara was so mad at Clair who only meant well for them and felt for Clair in getting tangled in their mess. When I read about culprit’s motive for scam, I was shocked. How could a woman can do that! All events from climax to end, mothers’ development and epiphany was best part the book. End was just perfect.
Happy & You Know It was entertaining, dramatic, a little dark and deep, and lovable women’s fiction. I highly recommend this to fan of this genre, drama, and to new mommies.Tweet
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I hope you enjoyed this post. Let me know in comments what do you think about my review, if you have read this book already and what were thoughts. Have you read any book representing new mom’s feelings and emotions?
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