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This Is What Happy Looks Like: 04/14/17

This Is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith

This Is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith begins with a mistyped email address between a young man with a pig and a bored girl living in Maine. What she doesn't know is that he's the teen throb movie star, that is until he shows up to film his latest movie in her town.

The set up reminds me of a modern day Daddy-Long-Legs with handwritten notes replaced with emails. But the emails are only part of the story. It's not a pure epistolary novel, though frankly it could easily have been as both characters shine best through their emails.

Instead the emails are a set up for more typical boy meets girl type romantic comedy. Once Graham and Ellie meet the story settles down to something more like The Unexpected Everything. Here the boy is an actor living apart from his parents and there it's a boy living at his publisher's house to get away from his parents. Neither set up is realistic but that's not really the point. They're situational set-ups to see what happens.

Setting plays a big part in this one — small town Maine. It's the Maine of lobsters and trawlers, not the Francophone Maine of A Handful of Stars or Kiki and Jacques. Here's it's a Cabot Cove type of Maine with the more recent nostalgia of Stars Hollow.

Again, though, it doesn't matter because it's a sweet little story about a famous guy wanting to be a regular guy, and a gal liking a guy because of his pig.

Four stars

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