This is What Happy Looks Like

This Is What Happy Looks Like, the new novel from Jennifer E. Smith, author of The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, is about the deep – and sometimes romantic – relationships that can be created simply through writing letters, or in this case, emails. In an age when so many relationships are created online, it’s fitting to read a story about two people who forge a bond over the internet.

Naturally, this inspired me to start thinking about what fictional characters I would want to get in touch with (oh yeah, definitely a euphemism). After about .004 seconds of thinking, it was clear who my ideal pen pal would be: Rob Gordon from High Fidelity (both book and film, but really, let’s just agree on John Cusack because John Cusack). Kind of like that scene in the movie where he talks to Bruce Springsteen, except I’m Springsteen (and instead of a Fender Telecaster there’s sexual tension – rawr).

Me: Hey Rob.

Rob: Hey Julia.

Me: How’s your record collection?

Rob: What?

Me: I mean, how are you?

Rob: You know the Beatles’ song Julia was about John Lennon’s dead mother who was killed by a hit-and-run driver off-duty policeman?

Me: Of course I know that. My cells are comprised of Beatles fact atoms. My white blood cells are really microscopic yellow submarines.

Rob: Do you think you’re maybe exaggerating a bit?

Me: Possibly.

Rob: George Harrison played the 2nd Rickenbacker 12-string ever made.

Me: I like it when you talk music history. Talk music history to me.

Rob: Sam Cooke was shot by a hooker.

Me: Ohhhh yeah… wait, that’s just really sad. At least tell me something new.

Rob: What, you know all of music history?

Me: Maybe.

Rob: Impressive.

Me: I am. I’m very impressive.

Rob: And modest.

Me: Clearly.

Rob: And great with words.

Me: Is it bad that I’m possibly more attracted to your record collection than you?

Rob: That depends. Are you planning on doing inappropriate things to my record collection?

Me: Is listening to them inappropriate?

Rob: No.

Me: Then no.

Rob: You should come over sometime. I have something I think you’d really like to hear.

Me: Is Laura going to be there?

Rob: No. You’re talking to me in the part of the story where we’re broken up.

Me: Did you just break the fourth wall?

Rob: Kinda.

Me: I want to break your fourth wall.

Rob: What?

Me: Nothing.

Rob: OK. But..

Me: What?

Rob: I just need you to answer one question.

Me: OK…

Rob: Would you ever date someone named Ian?

Me: Would you ever sleep with Marie De Salle?

Rob: Oh, come on! She’s amazing, that Ian guy is a total prick.

Me: Touché.

Rob: So.

Me: So.

Rob: I have some killer Smiths singles.

Me: Damn it. Hit me right in the soft underbelly.

Rob: Morrissey does that.

Me: Yep he does.

Rob: I can make you a tape…


I guess that’s what my happy looks like — listening to Smiths singles on the couch. Maybe get some good pad thai involved. To many people happy looks like: Sunrises over the harbor, ice cream on a hot day, a dog curled up next to you on the couch, evening strolls, great movies and thunderstorms.

What does happy look like to you? Share your pictures and stories with us #HappyLooksLike.

You can also win a copy of the book by telling us what your happy looks like, in the comment section below!

Poppy books, a division of Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Sponsored by: Hachette Book Group

  • Martha Bates

    Happy looks like my 13 month old niece!

  • Amber Jean Neale

    My happy looks like: a northern Wisconsin getaway to a cabin on a crystal clear lake mid summer, sky filled with sunshine, 80 degrees, light breeze, sun setting, campfire blaring and surrounded by family, friends and my man friend (and of course my puppy Brady). ahhh pure bliss <3

  • Jennifer Wilson

    happy looks like being outside in my front yard and looking into the night sky and seeing the big and little dippers and thinking about what im grateful for today.

    also, there are dogs by my side and my husband making me something with cheese in it….

  • Katy Andrews

    To me, happiness is driving at night – it’s the quiet of the roads as the light of windows flash past: the wondering of what all those sleeping people are dreaming of.

  • Mariella A. Mestres

    To me, happiness looks like a day at the beach- waking up early with nothing to do, finding that the sun is out and shining, and just going to the beach to soak it all up and to swim.

  • Becky Casey

    My happiness is sitting on a huge rock down by the river. The only sounds are the water rushing out of the gates and, occasionally, a totally precious little old man throwing out his fishing line. It is the perfect atmosphere to enjoy a good book, usually something Jane Austen and sometimes Chelsea Handler. :)

  • Ashley Lesperance

    Happiness is driving in the rain and that moment when you drive under a bridge and the noise of the rain stops for the briefest moment, almost as if mother nature is blinking.

  • Jenny Shaw

    To me? Happy looks like the sunrise coming in through the window & settling ever-so-softly on the shoulders of my love as he sleeps soundly next to me, only to sense somewhere deep in his head that I am watching him he grumbles, rolls over & pulls me into his arms in a deep embrace. I inhale the scent of him & watch his face as he drifts back into his sleep. That’s what happy looks like to me.

  • Carrie Larson

    Happiness is spending time with my son!

  • Julia Harris

    Happiness is being in Hawaii:)

  • Nayram Gasu

    Happiness looks like me waking up early and looking at the time on my phone. 6:30 it glows. I grunt in dismay, and then I remember; my early morning class is cancelled!
    I grin and place the comforter over my head and drift back to sleep.

  • Rachel Barth

    Taking a bike ride on the first warm day of the year while listening to the Avett Brothers, trying to dance while biking and getting weird looks from strangers because of it :)

  • Danielle Bright

    Canoeing down the Hillsborough River in FL on a cool Spring morning with Oscar Wilde as a conversation buddy.

  • Caro García Roldán

    Happiness is eating with my boyfriend 😀

  • Sarah Williams

    Happiness. A good book. Time with my kitties. Love. Pink. A warm summer morning eating strawberries right off the vine. Star gazing. Meditation. Waking up outdoors. Art. Finding beauty in everything you see. The cool Oregon Coast when it’s just a bit stormy and no one else is out there and the ocean is crazy.

  • Sheila Marie Crawford

    My happy is a chameleon, always changing. Sometimes it’s waking up on a Sunday morning (Late enough to feel refreshed but early enough not to feel like I’ve wasted my day.). Enjoying a nice book with my windows open, the sunlight peeking through, and my bed exactly the way I like it (You know what I’m talking about – that smell and temperature your sheets and pillows get when it’s just right!). Other times it’s sitting by the window on a flight home to my family and puppy dog (The one constant in your life when you move every 6 months for work – long enough to start to make friends just as you begin to pack up again). And sometimes it’s driving with your windows down, headed into the sunset on a beautiful road with your favorite songs on the stereo.

  • Diana Truong

    When I twist an Oreo with Maxwell, he gets the creme and I get the cookie (our favorite parts) — every time. This is what our happy looks like. <3

  • Diana Truong

    When I twist an Oreo with Maxwell, he gets the creme and I get the cookie (our favorite parts) — every time. The little things is what our happy looks like. <3

    • Diana Truong

      Site kept giving errors, sorry for the double post! =Y

  • Molly Laurel

    Happy is taking a deep sniff of a brand new, just opened bag of coffee beans.

  • Liz Rennie

    Happiness to me is waking up to my long distance boyfriend on a Saturday, making fresh waffles together..followed by cuddling up on the couch with our cat Buddy. After breakfast, we take a hike up to the very top of a mountain (Runyon Canyon) and sit for hours just taking in the breathtaking view and each other. Happiness to me is savoring every moment I have with him because I never know when I’ll see him again.. oh man, I got deep :)

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