Book Club: Happy People Read and Drink Coffee

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Author: Agnès Martin-Lugand
ISBN: 978-1-76029-154-9
RRP: $27.99

Happy People Read and Drink Coffee… anyone that knows me knows that this book had me at the title.

When I was offered the book as a book club title I agreed without even checking out the blurb. Reading and coffee both in the title, sold. Start the blurb to discover there’s a literary cafe, double sold. That would be my ultimate dream. I would LOVE to open a literary cafe, if only I had the capital.

This book is a French phenomenon being made into a major Hollywood film, and I had never heard of it. It was a little funny though, I was thinking about it today and I’m taking part in the Australian Women Writer’s Challenge and trying to read 50 books by Australian women… my last three books have been by an American (about Australia), English and French.

Anyway, I digress. Happy People Read & Drink Coffee, a title that spoke to my soul. I picked it up this morning knowing that there was something else I should read first, but it wasn’t here yet so I was going to start it anyway… and the other one turned up. So I thought about it a little and in the end I was just grabbed by this one and finished it.

Diane’s wonderful life is left if tatters after the tragic accident that leaves her alone, mourning the loss of her husband and young daughter. Over a year later she is still struggling; she hasn’t been back to work, she hasn’t been to the cemetery, she hasn’t packed anything up and her best friend Felix is starting to get really concerned.

With such a heartbreaking beginning I wasn’t sure what to expect. Diane’s heartbreak was palpable and I couldn’t help but feel for her. I couldn’t imagine such a loss but I could understand the way in which she grieved. Time passed and those close to her wanted to see her start to live again, and that’s understandable too, but she needed the time to decide she was ready.

Flamboyant best friend Felix decides it’s time to get back into the world and wants to take Diane on a holiday, and he’s determined. The fear of the holiday Felix will plan is enough to make Diane take drastic measures, she decides to take control and find somewhere for herself to go. A tiny beachside town in Ireland is the destination and everyone is against the idea.

Diane says she’s leaving to try and start looking to the future, to start living again, but she’s really only saying what she thinks everyone needs to hear. Her plan is to find somewhere quiet and far away to hide with her memories and her grief.

happy people

Her desire to get away to somewhere quiet and isolated is thwarted when the small Irish town is very friendly and close knit making it a little difficult for her to keep to herself. The only person who isn’t friendly is her neighbour, and they are at constant loggerheads.

Happy People Read & Drink Coffee is Diane’s slow emergence from her cocoon of grief. Her return from the abyss and first steps back into her life.

One thing that really jumped out at me and had me wondering how long ago the book was originally published was the smoking. I was a smoker for a very long time so I certainly have nothing against it but the current trend is to try and get everyone away from smoking so the amount of smoking in this book surprised me, it could be a cultural thing too I guess but it certainly struck me. Lots of smoking inside and constant smoking, and not only from Diane which could have been understood in her frame of mind. It struck me as something more 80s than current. Not to forget the drunken driving home from the pub.

Diane starts to come back to the world and I started to wonder where the story was going to go, was this going to become a romance or a rebound or a drought breaker but it was none of these things. It was a poignant return to life, a reminder that the world is still out there and no matter how hard you tried your days aren’t up; a tale of strength and resilience.

Happy People Read and Drink Coffee is the story or a sheltered young woman thrown under the wheels of the bus of life and slowly edging her way back from the brink to walk again. A young woman who had to learn to stand on her own, which she had never had to do before, and now she had to do it as she put together the pieces of her shattered heart and her crushed life.

I think this is going to make a beautiful movie and I would actually be interested in checking it out, and I don’t watch a lot of movies.

The characters are interesting and well developed, and all are facing their demons.

I really quite enjoyed this one and it certainly went quicker than I anticipated. It is translated from French and the translation is pretty seamless. The story still has a beautiful flow, it’s not stilted and it will appeal to many but it is one to read with caution depending on how closely you have felt this kind of loss.

Happy People Read & Drink Coffee is available now through Allen & Unwin, Booktopia, Angus & Robertson Bookworld and where all good books are sold.

Thanks to Allen & Unwin 25 of our Beauty and Lace Club Members will be reading Happy People Read & Drink Coffee so please be aware there may be spoilers in the comments.


27 thoughts on “Book Club: Happy People Read and Drink Coffee

  1. I thoroughly enjoyed Anges Martin-Lugand’s ‘Happy People Read And Drink Coffee’. I was drawn into the story immediately and finished reading it today after getting it only in the post a few hours ago.

    The book, while short, had me feeling for the main character Diane as she faces a horrible tragedy and finds the only way to deal with (or maybe runaway from) her situation is by moving away from her comfort zone – her home town, workplace, best friend and family. She escape to a small Irish town and slowly lets her guard down to meet some of the town folk whom she befriends. In particular her neighbor. At first he is unfriendly but soon their friendship develops and Diane finds the courage and determination to live life again and pick up from where she left off.

    The ending left me wanting to read more and I would definitely recommend this book and I will be looking out for more of Anges Martin-Lugand’s books.

    It will also be great to see this story on the big screen!

    Thanks Beauty and Lace and Arena Allen & Unwin for the opportunity to read this great little book.

  2. ‘Happy People Read and Drink Coffee’ is a very short novel so a quick weekend read.
    Diane the owner of a literary café called ‘Happy People Read and Drink Coffee’ tragically loses her husband and daughter in a car accident a year before the story starts. Diane hasn’t left the house in the year and her best friend and manager of the café, Felix, is trying his best to get Diane to begin living life again. Diane sick of everyone forcing their thoughts and way of living upon her makes a rash decision to go to Ireland where her husband had always wanted to go.
    Diane just ups and leaves and this is where the story moves from Diane being a solitary being to her discovering life again.
    She moves into a cottage in a small Irish village with the neighbour from hell – Edward. The relationship starts off poorly following a lot of horrible moments and then they are suddenly thrown together in a romance but not all is at seems.
    There are some very sad moments within the story and I did find it a little awkward at times but I couldn’t put it down till I found out what happens between Diane and Edward.
    I was hoping for so much more so I guess I’ll have to wait for the sequel!

    Thanks for the opportunity to read and review this title.

  3. I took two days to read “Happy people read and drink coffee” by Anges Martin-Lugand. I couldn’t put it down.
    Diane’s anger and sadness in losing both her husband and daughter in an accident had me feeling sorry and sad for her. Spending her days smoking and barely eating.
    I did admire her strength in moving to Ireland, to help her heal and discover living again.
    The love that develops between her and Edward is full of twists and surprises and the ending has left me wondering what will happen, eager for the story to continue…..

  4. The front cover of this book says
    The International Bestseller and I can understand why, Agnes Martin Lugand has written a beautiful book, Diane is the main character who suffers a terrible loss at the beginning of the book, she has a dear friend Felix who is trying to help her as much as possible, Dianne decides to go to Ireland she stays in a small remote village, meets her neighbour called Edward and a love forms but well won’t say what happens don’t want to spoil for readers, thanks for allowing me to read Happy People Read and Drink Coffee am sure it will be made into a great moviev

  5. I finished this book in two days which is a record for me – read it while I was recovering from bronchitis and it kept me thoroughly engrossed. I wanted to know what would happen at the end.

    There were occasions throughout where I thought the conversation between the two main characters was a bit unbelievable but overall I really enjoyed the book especially as I have been through a major life change at the age of 40 and have ended up single, living alone for the first time in my life, close to depression and suffering anxiety as the main character Dianne does after the loss of her husband and daughter at such a young age.

    Can’t wait to see the movie when it comes out to compare. The books are always better.

  6. ‘Happy People Read and Drink coffee’ is a great title! And the story of Diane engaged me as a reader from page 1. But Diane is anything but happy having lost her husband and daughter in a car accident and withdraws with grief over the loss. I was kind of sad to learn through the story that she was not that engaged in the running of the cafe/book shop before the accident – and after the accident she is totally disengaged, instead allowing her friend and business partner Felix to run it (and none too well it seems).

    In order to escape from her grief Diane decides to move to a little town in Ireland where she meets the interesting and intriguing (and angry and bad tempered) Edward. And of course, sparks erupt between them!

    This is a interesting book and a fast read! Dianne is a sad character and I think more correctly this book should have been called ‘Sad people smoke, cry and fight’ because that is what she spends most of the book doing.

    The book is a translation from the french – perhaps the subtlety of the story was lost in translation. Either way I was happy to read to the end – and the ending was surprising! I can well imagine and look forward to the film

  7. This is a very unexpected little novel, in the best possible way. It’s quite likely that it won’t be what you expect when you pick it up, and yet it’s deeply moving and memorable.

    I do have to say that if you’ve lost someone recently, this may not be the best book to read. Its’ depiction of grief is searing, one of the most realistic I’ve read, and although no-one experiences grief in exactly the same way, this connected deeply with my experience. At times it was difficult to read.

    Diane is young and happy – until her husband and young daughter are killed in a car accident. She feels she should have died with them, and for a while seems to be trying to do that. She lets her business (a literary cafe) languish; she doesn’t leave her flat and relies on her friend and business partner, Felix, to deliver vital supplies.

    Now, most people don’t have the luxury of hiding out like Diane has, but I suspect that most people who’ve experienced a deep grief know the feeling. Who wouldn’t like to draw the curtains and refuse to engage with the callous world that keeps on as before?

    Diane’s parents are unsupportive and unhelpful, and many are shocked by her particular expressions of grief. This, too, rang very true; many people struggle with how they need and want to express grief, and the way other people expect them to. Felix is quietly understanding, but even he eventually feels a point has been reached when he needs to start pushing Diane to re-engage with the world. Diane reacts by running away; she picks up and moves to a random small town in Ireland.

    There, among strangers, she finds friendship and understanding. And perhaps, with the handsome photographer who lives next door, more. Perhaps a reason to start living again?

    There is a stilted nature to much of the dialogue in the novel. This may be because this was translated from French – dialogue often seems stilted in translations. For me this gave a kind of gawky charm to the book, like a teenager not quite used yet to their new height. It also gave a welcome distance from some of the emotions in the book. However, the stilted dialogue is the only thing I can fault here.

    This is a story about grief, and recovery. It comes with an ending that reflects that, and reflects that you don’t just wake up one day over your grief. It’s raw, and honest, and one of the most accurate depictions of grief I’ve ever read. Even so, this is not a miserable book. It is sad in places – many places – but will also leave you feeling hopeful. Highly recommended.

    1. I love that statement – “gawky like a teenager not quite used to their new height”. It made me nod my head and smile

  8. Happy people read and drink coffee review….
    This tittle to start with interested me, and in reading slowly through the book, yes I found the lady is a coffee drinker, and like myself, loves to read books of all sorts…, always her ambition to open what we perhaps would call a lending library, and she is able to do this… The story starts that she is packing for herself daughter and husband to go away on a holiday, now you will have to go from there. I can follow the thread but it is one of those that I just also could not put down.. I can understand what she is going through and how with the help of others, she can finallly come to terms with what happened, and is able to realise that she was not to blame for what happened.. Sometimes it is hard to understand the way people accept what has happened in their life, but in the end Dianne is able to come back to her books and library and friends, like Felix , pick up the threads, and start again… It should be a great movie and I look forward to it eventually when it comes to the screen. This is a book I shall put in my bookshelves and read again perhaps in twelve months time…. because I too love words, and the sentences they make, and the books they become.

  9. I was so attracted to the title Happy People read & drink Coffee, but for me this book was a real let down.

    I could not connect with any of the main characters in this book. Although I felt for Diane’s situation at having lost her husband and daughter in a terrible way, she really was the most sorry character in the book. Her ‘love interest’ Edward was just an angry person and didn’t seem to add anything to the story. The most entertaining character was Felix, her gay business partner. The whole book lacked a plausible story to it and left me wanting so much more.

    I cannot understand how it is an international best seller, and I think they would struggle to make a decent movie out of this book.

    Thank you Beauty & Lace for the opportunity to review this book, but unfortunately it was not for me.

  10. What a beautifully written, heart wrenching book! Do not open this book unless you are prepared for everything. Its not often I find myself sobbing uncontrollably over a book but the skill and creativity used to build the characters and tie you into the story soon have you riding the emotional roller coaster along with the characters!

    This story hits a fear that we all have, that of losing someone well before their time and with something that you couldnt control. How Diane copes with what happens may or may not agree with you but grief has no rules, no right or wrong way.

    After reading the book I found myself with needing more, for me it was too short and I would have liked it to have continued with a little more depth into some of the backgrounds of the characters.

    All in all a good read!

  11. Thank you for the chance to read this lovely book.

    When I received it, I was a bit surprised at how short it was ( the last one I read was twice the thickness) and I finished it in record time, mostly because once into it, I couldnt put it down. Great for a weekend away.

    For a short book, it certainly packed a lot of punch and was straight to the point, no need to be overly descriptive and would make a wonderful movie.I must say the ending was not what I expected, Id be happy if it was part of a series because I wanted to know about the next chapter in Dianes life.

    It was my pleasure to read this book.

  12. Happy People Read & Drink Coffee is a quaint and tender book that is a translated novel from French author Agnes Martin –Lugand. The eye-catching title of the book, made the opportunity to read and review this book absolutely hard to resist. The title of the book refers to the main protagonist Diane’s business, a literary café named “Happy People Read & Drink Coffee”. Diane’s business gave me strong feelings of envy as it is based in the heart of Paris, a city I adore after I made a whirlwind visit there last year. The combination of this stunning locale and books, seemed like a booklover’s dream.

    The short length of this novel made reading Happy People Read & Drink Coffee an intense reading experience. I actually whizzed through the book in a sitting, which I am rarely given to opportunity to do due to time constraints these days. Immediately, I was drawn into this book, I felt the pull of the emotional storyline which features Diane, a bookstore owner, wife and mother to a young daughter, lose everything that she holds dear to her in a tragic accident. Barely existing for a year after the accident, save for her best friend Felix, Diane takes a chance and embarks on a sea change that takes her from Paris to a small town in Ireland. To escaper her grief, Diane decides this is a journey she must complete by herself, away from her family, friends and business. In this fairly isolated part of Ireland, Diane finds strength in the beauty of her new home and the care of her neighbours. Diane begins to question whether she can truly move on and find happiness again in the face of much grief.

    There is much to learn from Happy People Read and Drink Coffee. It is one of those books that I found to be positive and life affirming, despite the sad subject matter. It successfully tackles themes of love, grief, second chances, new beginnings and ever so subtly reminds not to take own lives for granted. There was much to enjoy about this book, from the lovely contrast in the settings of Paris and Ireland, to the realistically drawn characters and the succinct style of Agnes Martin-Lugand’s prose that carries the reader away. It seemed a shame when this book came to an end as I felt like I needed and wanted more. Thankfully, I discovered both a movie and sequel are in the works.

    Thank you to Beauty and Lace/Allen & Unwin for the opportunity to review this book.

  13. What a gorgeous weekend read! Thank you Beauty & Lace and Allen & Unwin for the opportunity to read this beautiful novel.

    I was immediately drawn from the first page. It was such an emotional read with a lot of ups and downs and a novel that I simply could not put down.

    It was a tale of loss, resilience and new beginnings and although these are themes I cannot personally relate to, I was drawn to the story so much that I felt like I was in it!

    A beautifully written novel that was very easy to read and flowed so effortlessly.

    I don’t want to give any of this novel away, but I will say that it is not predictable which made me smile even more when I finished reading it.

    I highly recommend reading this novel. It not only is a short read, but it packs a punch so get ready to jump on an emotional rollercoaster!

  14. Upon seeing the title of this book I have to say it Called my name. Two of my favourite things in life put together in one book how could one go wrong.

    So upon receiving this book I made a coffee , fluffed my blanket on my chair , placed my slippers on and read away to find myself turning the last page after one sitting.

    Happy People Read and Drink coffee is a short story. A story of grief and tragedy of one woman, who looses all she loves in a single moment. Her happy life is torn into oblivion , her life is shattered and she finds life uncontrollably empty. Emotionally empty and going in no direction.

    Diane is the owner of a popular literacy cafe In Paris ( this sounds devine ) but after a year or so of grieving, and at her best friends persistance she decides to go an an adventure of discovery to try and heal her broken heart.

    She moves to a small village in Ireland – Ireland being a dream that her late husband had, in hopes of bring herself back to life. Here she meets a standoffish Irish photographer who does nothing but get her feathers in a ruffle. ( I have to say he was my least favourite character through the first half of the book lol )

    Diane still trapped and haunted by her past, stays as a recluse in the small town. But it being as friendly as it is, she finds new friends, an obnixious , rude new neighbour and a very lovable four legged friend.

    Happy People Read and Drink Coffee is a story of one womans survival . Overcoming her own demons, learning to move on , love again, over come grief , remembering love, and finding herself.

    This book had my emotions all over the place, you better have a box of tissues near by cause you will need them. ( If your a soppy reader like me and this book certainly pulled at my heart strings. ) The first chapter had me watery eyed. And as a mother I can only imagine the heartbreak and way Diane must have been feeling. It certainly emotionally touched my heart and soul.

    I enjoyed most of the characters delivered in this read. Edward however had my tail feathers in a ruffle. I didn’t enjoy his rudeness at first, his uncalled unfriendliness and even after half way I eventually did warm up to him and had to say the ending I was hoping for didnt eventuate lol.

    Felix was a lovable character , I enjoyed him especially. His character gave light among the pages. He brought a lighter side to the sad feel of the story. Made me giggle and smile and also was happy for Diane to have such a loving and doting friend in her time of need.

    One thing I did find while reading was the amount of smoking within the story , I didn’t feel this was useful in anyway. Lots of smoking and mentioning of it – it kinda stuck out like a sore thumb. It didn’t affect my overall like of the story. This kinda took me back to the earlier years where everyone smoked everywhere. The story being set in the 80 -90’s more so.

    The plot was well outlined, defined and easily read. The writing crisp and well put forward. All dialogue was easily followed . As much as I enjoyed the book, Id hope that when making the movie a little more is added in. 😀 Possibly after Diane revamps her Bookstore and maybe Edward redeeming himself some more .

    Overall, I really enjoyed Happy People Read and Drink Coffee. I didn’t get the Hea ** love ** I was hoping for lol but did get a sense of moving on, new lease on life for Diane – the fact that she found herself again even after such a devastating loss was uplifting .

    A broken heart is one of those experiences that we all experience at one stage in life. We either keep it inside , share, or find a way to heal , yet you can only ever experience it alone.

    It takes time To Find who you are without the ones you love in life. We see Diane’s turmoil, her growth, slow recovery and her life being uplifted. A heartbreaking story , that will certainly pull at your heartstrings, have you teary eyed but have you reading till the very last word.

    Thank you to Beauty and Lace book club and Allen and Unwin for the Review copy.

  15. Well, strap your seat belts on and get ready for a ride on an emotional roller coaster! I was going to start by saying I couldn’t put ‘Happy people read and drink coffee’ down, but actually I did. It didn’t take me long to read, just a day, but I had to keep putting it down to wipe away my tears! Make sure you wear waterproof mascara when reading this book and even when you think you’re through the worst, still wear waterproof mascara! What a fantastic book to read on a cold, miserable day like it was when I read it.

    Agnes Martin-Lugand has a way of writing that made me feel as if I was living Diane’s loss right to my very bones. I so felt for her. I cried tears of sadness and tears of happiness. I desperately want a sequel to find out what happened next. The ending was left in a place when we can probably fairly easily predict the future, but I want to know for sure.

    I can’t wait for the movie to come out! Thank you Beuty and Lace for another great review >:o)

  16. What a delightfully written novel.
    I found the beginning really sad and heartbreaking with the loss of Diane’s husband and daughter and really wondered how she would ever recover from it.
    As the reader we are taken on her journey to find some sense of normalcy, with a huge struggle on her behalf. She takes herself completely out of her comfort zone and moves to Ireland and she finds herself among a lovely community except for her neighbour.
    I found this book to be so easy to read and a nice quick one.
    I really cant wait to see this on the big screen and to read any more books put out by this author.
    Thanks B&L.

  17. This is a beautifully written novel.
    Translated from the French version of the book “Happy People Read and Drink Coffee” flows beautifully and was a pleasure to read.
    My emotions went from sadness and heartbreak for the main character of this novel Dianne to feeling as though I was being taken along with her on the journey she takes through the next parts of her life, learning to move on and to start over again.
    She moves to Ireland after a huge event in her life and we experience her new beginnings .
    This book is being made into a major movie and I certainly am glad that I have read it and will look forward to seeing it after enjoying this novel so much.
    A perfect weekend read and one where you will experience a full range of emotions all wrapped up in the one novel.
    Thanks Beauty and Lace and Allen and Unwin for allowing me to read and review “Happy People Read and Drink Coffee” .

  18. Happy People Read and Drink Coffee is a charming novel with the main character Diane a strong willed, stubborn person who suffers a traumatic loss of the two people she loves the most. With a friend trying to convince her to move on with her life, she decides to move to the Irish coast. Here she meets her match. A head strong, angry man who has charisma but doesn’t want her in his life and initially moves mountains to make her keep out of his way. Surround by some lovely sifter characters the are destined to keep meeting resulting in a change for them both. Love wins sometimes and not other times. Which way will this story go? Fantastic light read and enjoyable story.

  19. When it comes to grief, heartbreaking grief I often think things like ‘How would you cope, How would you get over something like that, How would you go on…’ This book answered those questions. This book broke my heart. I felt like I was on an emotional rollercoaster.

    I love how the raw emotions were written perfectly. I couldn’t put this book down and it was read in 2 nights – I could’ve pulled an all nighter easily except I have kids to look after.
    The second night of reading wasn’t as heartbreaking as the first as Diane slowly gets better…very slowly. I found myself willing her to keep going.

    The smoking throughout the book will get to some people, for me honestly I loved it! Grief and smoking for me go hand in hand and it makes sense, to me. I’m an ex smoker so I just get it.

    I like the ending it was enough for me. It was where I could imagine Diane being emotionally and physically. I finished content.

  20. Loved this book. Found it easy to read and the text was bigger than most books which made it a bit easier.

    Was intrigued by the 2 main characters and enjoyed reading how their character enveloped. This book is one for light reading but is a beautifully written book with a satisfying

  21. Another great book and was nice to read a shorter story with bigger writing for a change. An emotional book that was very well written as I found myself immersed in the story and having a sook every now and then, wiping them away before my husband or kids noticed me haha.
    Diane was a stronger person than what I would be but I guess we dont really know that until we face tragedy and loss.
    Thanks so much B & L, Agnus Martin Lugand and Allen and Unwin for a brilliant read 🙂

  22. Happy People Read and Drink Coffee was a much shorter book than I expected due to the large spaced font it was printed in. The book was a quick read that was light and easy to get through despite the over looming themes of grief and heartbreak.

    The book is written from the perspective of Diane the whole way through, and we follow her on a journey through her grief for a year where she slows makes upwards progress. There are not a lot of other characters throughout the story but there are a handful that keep appearing and play a part in Diane’s journey in various ways.

    I found the writing style easy to read but found the flow of the events within the chapters a little disconnected at times – sometimes the next sentence is referring to an event that is the next day/week etc without being immediately obvious that it isn’t at the same time as the last sentence. I also found some of the conversations slightly awkward or strange. However, I just found out that this book was translated from French so this would probably explain both of these criticisms as the book probably is not as smooth as in first language!

    One thing that did stand out to me was the constant smoking throughout the book but I have just come back from a trip to Europe and I can say this is a lot more prevalent there (I’m not sure about Ireland though) so this could be the cultural norm of the author. I found it was probably mentioned a lot more than necessary though but in some ways it was an important part of the character development. The one other thing that I did find shocking was the drunk driving that seemed the norm for the characters – not sure this one is actually acceptable there?!

    The ending of the book was not at all how I expected it but it was kind of beautiful in a healing way. I think I would have liked the story to go on past what it did so we could see what happened a few months/years later, but at the same time I do like how it leaves you hanging so you can imagine the last part yourself, and it leaves itself open to a possible sequel.

    This was a great read and I enjoyed it. I do like watching movies of books I have enjoyed so I will look out for this one. I think the movie will be quite good because it is a short book so they should be able to include most of the events of the book whereas when longer books are made into movies they cut a lot which damages the story.

  23. The speed of which Dianne’s tale of loss begins is so fast you cant believe it, but I suppose that’s the way life goes.

    The first few pages I thought the book was going to be too predictable, but I was pleasantly surprised, I couldn’t put it down and finished it in only a few hours. I only had a few issues with the book:
    • The writing and dialogue doesn’t seem too subtle but that may have been lost in translation.
    • Out of all the main characters I found that I was most drawn to Felix- her homosexual business partner. I found His story to be a lot more interesting a witty.
    • The book had no clear ending, it was very open to your own interpretation. This of course leaves room for a sequel but doesn’t leave me feeling “satisfied” when I finish reading

    All up I was happy to read the story, but a little let down with the content and lack of depth

  24. I was really excited to read “Happy People Read and Drink Coffee” as the title is basically a perfect positive affirmation of my life (just add wine!). The dichotomy between the seemingly care-free title and the devastating and overwhelming grief borne out in the first few pages is extreme but such can be the nature of these freak tragic accidents and the stark contrast worked to emphasise this. I really enjoyed exploring a little bit of Ireland with Diane and the differences between the two countries. I think the ruggedly beautiful Irish coast is the perfect setting for story about grief, despair and self discovery. There will certainly be plenty of spectacular locations to use in the film! I was a little disappointed there wasn’t more of Paris featured though.

    The juxtaposition of Felix and Diane works really well, and Felix certainly adds some lighter moments to the story line! I was frustrated with Edward until his story was revealed. Just goes to show everyone has baggage and you never know what they have been through also.

    On reflection I think the ending was apt and suited the book (although I was hoping for different deep down). I’ll be interested to see how the film ending is done! Overall an emotionally draining but strangely uplifting novel.

    Thanks to Beauty and Lace as well as Allen and Unwin for the opportunity to read this fabulous book. Now I’ll just be off to book my trip to Europe…

  25. They say god things come in small packages and I must say that this book while not a long read was definitely worth my attention. Originally I was drawn to the title but the story is well written that it leads you into a tragic life full of pain but also friendship. Sometimes it takes friends to make you realize that life is still worth living. The main character suffers a great tragedy but Agnès Martin-Lugandwas was very clever in writing the story that it was not third person it made you feel the tragedy and daily struggle and the eventual realization to Dianne that she was still in the land of the living.

    A story that deals head first with the issues of loss, living with loss and then starting again. I loved the detail of the feelings and how the struggle was real it made you connect with Dianne and feel greatly her pain. It also gave great insight into how others treat you and what they expect you to do and act.

    A story for anyone thinking they are not strong enough to go on… it shows that with time and good friends and love….. pain and devastation is not gone but you learn to live with it rather than continually fight it.

    I must say I am really looking forward to the film and will be lining up… with tissues in hand…..

    If you are looking for a beautiful story to read then this is a must. Thank you for the opportunity,…. this book will be put in my private collection and be kept for another read in the future.

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