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  • Writer's pictureThe Bossy Bookworm

Review of Happiness Falls by Angie Kim

Angie Kim's sophomore novel is a mystery, but Happiness Falls is primarily an exploration of a complicated, loving, messy family and each of its members.

For the rest of our lives, every time one of us goes somewhere and doesn’t return on time, doesn’t let the others know where we are, we will remember this time, what can happen. And we will fall apart.

Mia doesn't panic when her father and brother Eugene are late returning from a walk in the park. They might have forgotten their phones, or taken a detour.

But when Eugene rushes into the house, bloody and alone, Mia realizes something terrible has happened. And Eugene, who has the rare genetic condition Angelman syndrome, cannot communicate to tell her what occurred.

Kim's missing-person novel is a mystery and is structured around the discovery and exploration of what may have happened to cause Mia's father's disappearance. But Happiness Falls is primarily a story about a family finally understanding each other and going to extraordinary lengths to work together.

As the family works to find their missing member, various illuminating elements of the imperfect man become clear. The family digs into the traces of his recent activities and are shocked and amazed, angered and intrigued by the depth of his deception and search for knowledge.

I was totally hooked on the mystery aspect and the delving into Eugene's potential communication. But my favorite element of the novel was the messy, wonderful family members that forge deeper connections than ever before during the most confusing, painful period of their lives.

Do you have any Bossy thoughts about this book?

Angie Kim is also the author of Miracle Creek.

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