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Angie Kim

    Reading Wednesday

    Book Review Happiness Falls by Angie Kim

    Parts of this book I loved, in particular the focus on a family with a disabled child who doesn’t speak. But other parts of it I just didn’t love, in particular the portrayal of police detective as dishonest and a few too many coincidences to keep the plot moving forward. But you will need to decide for yourself. Here is my book review Happiness Falls by Angie Kim.


    The book is placed during the pandemic when Mia and her family are on lockdown in their home. Mia, home from college, and her twin brother John, have returned to the family home where their bi-racial parents (Mom Hannah Korean and Dad Adam Caucasian) live with their disabled brother Eugene. The family has dealt with eleven -year- old Eugene’s severe disability of Angelman Syndrome and Autism. Eurgene does not speak. This is the families biggest crisis to date – the constant care of Eugene. And then there is a little thing called the Pandemic. But what happens next is the biggest crisis of all.


    Mia’s father is missing. How long do you wait to call the police when someone is missing? Hindsight is always helpful, but on the day this particular crisis began Mia doesn’t think there is really anything unusual about the fact her father is not home.

    But as the hours and days drag on, clearly this is a major crisis. The last person to see dad Adam was Eugene. But Eugene is unable to communicate. Or is he really? Did Adam know something about communicating with Eugene? Does Eugene’s so called “violent” outbursts mean he is a suspect? Did Eugene attack a police officer or was he trying to communicate?

    Where is Adam?

    The heart of the book is this family and the crisis they are thrust into when Adam does not return home from a day in the park with Eugene. Decisions, or lack of in the first few hours as well as discoveries on Adam’s computer and voice mail will send the family spiraling as they try to understand what has happened to the man they love. Could he possibly have been unfaithful? Disappeared on purpose? Or has he been injured or killed? Where is he?

    This missing person drama is written with an interesting collection of footnotes and multiple genre styles that are unique and propel the reader forward in the story. Kim has a race element and uses the pandemic as part of the plot. As I said before I liked this book, and praise Kim’s research of the subject of Angelman Syndrome. I learned a lot about that. But I just didn’t love the story. Good but not great.

    Four stars for Happiness Falls by Angie Kim.

    Thanks for reading my book review Happiness Falls by Angie Kim. See last week’s book review The Samurais Garden by Gail Tsukiyama.

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