Athena Wallace has spent the first thirty years of her life desperately trying to be perfect. But as her sassy, unfiltered best friend, Nadine, points out, “being perfect ain’t got shit to do with being happy.” With this reality weighing heavily on her, Athena takes on a new assignment at the magazine where she works as a columnist: an exposť on how six strangers seek happiness through the exotic venues of Manhattan nightlife. Side by side with an eclectic cast of characters – including a millionaire attorney who moonlights as a drag queen and a motorcycle-riding grandma with a ‘fuck-it’ list – Athena embarks on a soulful, and often satirical, journey to find her happiness. As she discovers, sometimes you have to look outside of yourself in order to become the person you are meant to be.
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Reviewed by Tracy Slowiak for Readers' Favorite
Flawed Happiness by debut author Cori Tadrus is a glowing example of what a book from a new author should be. Fun and funny and with a fresh voice and point of view, the story follows Athena Wallace. Athena, a thirty-year-old reporter, who has always tried to be perfect in every aspect of her life, has just taken a new assignment. She’s to write a story, interviewing six strangers who frequent some of Manhattan’s hottest nightclubs, and try to find out what it is exactly that makes them happy. Through her interviews, and the advice of her fantastic friends, Nadine and Olivia, Athena realizes that perfection certainly doesn’t equate to happiness. And the characters she meets along the way make the ride all the more worthwhile.
I loved this book. Author Cori Tadrus has a unique voice, and one that is very well worth reading. Flawed Happiness was in turns funny, heart warming and heart breaking. This was a fun read and one that I simply could not put down once I started it. I loved the interviewing aspect, the discussions with strangers about what made them tick, and the journey of self-discovery that Athena ultimately found herself on, even if it was unwittingly. Flawed Happiness is a book that would appeal to any reader who loves great fiction, stories with interesting and unique female protagonists, or just simply an enjoyable read. I hope that Cori Tadrus is working on her next book as we speak, because I certainly expect great things from this promising author in the future.
Athena has spent her life trying to uncover the wellspring of happiness, and at age thirty-something, is still seeking a sense of satisfaction with her life, despite 'following all the rules' that were supposed to get her to that point. So when she accepts a new magazine assignment to write an exposť on how six strangers find happiness in the course of experiencing Manhattan's night life, the pursuit seems right up her alley both professionally (as a reporter) and personally (as one searching for meaning in life, herself.)
What she uncovers is more than she expects, bringing readers with her on a romp through a Manhattan underworld that at first seems exotic and rough, but soon becomes familiar and even filled with characters who evolve to become not representations of forbidden excitements, but real people with their own keys to success.
It's the transition from a life where "every day brings nothing but the usual" to a more purposeful world that engrosses both Athena and the reader following in her footsteps as chapters explore her expensive tastes and her search for something different.
In the course of such a venture, characterization isn't just important; it's a key to success - and Flawed Happiness provides an intersection of personalities that are vivid, believable, and compelling in their uniqueness.
An affinity for Manhattan social scenes and culture, a fondness for 'chic lit' explorations of self, and an interest in a night life exploration that begins by questioning what leads people to happiness and evolves into descriptions of the courses that lead to this goal will all lend to enjoyment of Athena's journey, which holds romance and more than a few surprises in the course of its action. Flawed Happiness touches deeply upon the process and impetus for letting loose pre-conceived notions in favor of challenging one's ideals and making new discoveries.