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

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