The Pursuit of Happiness


The Pursuit of Happiness by Tara Altebrando


When Betsy’s history loving father tells her that he’s lined up an interview at Morrisville Historic Museum Betsy does everything in her powers to back out. Dressing up as an eighteenth century farm girl is definitely NOT how Betsy wants to spend her summer vacation. She’d much rather pass the summer months soaking up the sun, and hanging out with friends.

But when Betsy’s mother passed away, her life is turned upside down. Her younger brother acts as if she’s his mother now. Her father is barely functioning, spending time in front of the television rather than working on his book. And her friends have all but disappeared.

Looking for a distraction, Betsy throws herself into her job. At Morrisville, Betsy is just an eighteenth century farm girl, churning butter and sweeping the living room. It’s at Morrisville where Betsy discovers that she isn’t the girl who lost her mother, or the girl everyone feels sorry for.

Instead she’s the girl who finds a friend in school freak Liza. She’s the girl who catches the eye of James – a college bound guy who shows his affections by offering wood carvings.

But will Morrisvile, Liza, and even James be enough to get Betsy through this tough time?

The Pursuit of Happiness, written by author Tara Altebrando, is a contemporary read that offers readers all the feels.

Relying on the showing rather than just telling method, Altebrando’s writing is strong. Beyond that, it’s vibrant. Readers will feel as if they are experiencing whatever it is main character Betsy is experiencing. Because of this, The Pursuit of Happiness is the kind of book that readers can, not only sink their teeth into, but easily relate to.

Besides the plot, readers will easily relate to main character Betsy. Why? Because she’s authentic. And she’s flawed.  And it’s that authenticity and those flaws that bring her to life. During the course of this book there are moments when Betsy flounders, and there are other moments where she shines bright. It’s in both of those moments that readers will root for Betsy to come out on top of it all.

The writing, the plot, and the characters are all really great aspects of Altebrando’s The Pursuit of Happiness. But what I enjoyed most was the fact that there were a lot of issues that arose during the course of this book. In only two hundred and eighty-eight pages Altebrando tackles the loss of a parent, ever-changing relationships, and even depression. All of these issues are handled with grace and honesty, lending an additional layer of real-ness.

I really enjoyed The Pursuit of Happiness. And I think any reader who picks up this book will also enjoy it as much as I did.