This is What Happy Looks LikeJulia Gazdag

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

  • Gina Godfrey

    My happy is ordering a takeaway and watching stuff on the laptop in bed with my lovely boyfriend :)

  • Lou Geeky Walker

    My happy is listening to amazing music like She and him or watching my favorite TV shows new girl, Miranda, doctor who , Sherlock and perception!
    My happy is playing bass, guitar and singing! It’s performing on stage to a big crowd.
    Its baking cakes and decorating them! Listening to the birds sing when i walk my dog.
    It’s reading Kerrang! magazine and seeing “Hello Giggles” on my inbox! Its reading amazing eye-opening books! and getting goosebumps!
    Its being healthy and living life and it’s making others feel happy and not alone!
    Its being crazy, wild, funny, happy, dancey, singy old me! and not caring what others think :{D

  • Denise Dills Riggin

    My happy is walking around my neighborhood with my preschooler son, having conversations with my husband where we make eachother laugh uncontrollably, drinking Earl Grey tea while I fantasize about moving to Wales, organizing my house (seriously!), and the completion of a meaningful tattoo.

  • Marie Krisman

    My happy is a walk through the snowy streets of Colorado with my fiancé, then coming home and curling up with a good book!

  • Amy Felton

    My happy is finishing my last final exam of the semester and feeling the taste of freedom that is my two week break. Going to the beach and soaking in the rays with a good book and good friends. Knowing that I am days away from having the love of my life hold me in his arms again after being apart for almost 4 months. Getting married to said love within the year and following my dreams of becoming a veterinarian.

  • Rachel Balzano

    For me happiness is spending a Saturday morning curled up in bed, while reading a great book. The windows are open and letting in a nice breeze and making me excited for spring. There is a cup of cinnamon apple tea on my nightstand and a stack of books waiting to be devoured.

    • Josephine Mag Dhuibhir

      Snap!!!!!!!!!! I love Apple and Cinnamon tea and I devour books when I can.

  • Katherine Ramirez

    To me, happiness would look like living a life full of faith, family & more laughter than I can imagine. It’s living faithfully, knowing that God is in control & will always have my happiness in mind.

  • Michallynn Vilushis

    Happy looks like cuddling with tea on rainy days, drinking wine and painting my nails, laughing til it hurts with my sister, and holding hands with my boyfriend (who also happens to be my best friend).

  • Sara Barrett

    Happy looks like a life full of meaningful relationships, a patient but restless mind, and a good book.

  • Haley Luvison

    Happy is watching a thunderstorm at night with the smell of rain in the air and a good book in my hands.

  • Rachel Hintz

    My Happy looks like… when I can see that the people I truly care about are happy.

  • Libby Walkup

    I’d have to go with Rob Gordon from the end of the movie/book where he realizes that his guts have shit for brains and that he wants to think about something else other than the fantasy lingerie. HAPPY looks like a writing/editing career, a part time teaching gig, a mobile life with a man who’s committed, real, intelligent, even mildly self-aware and turns my crank in the sack and wherever else we feel like turning cranks. Not to mention stellar, supportive friends, but I already have those. They’re awesome. Oh AND Doctor Who would run forever and ever.

  • Johanna Romero

    Happiness is getting home after a long day at work, chatting with my kids about how their day went at school, and when they go to bed, snuggle up in my couch with a good book. That’s what it looks like to me every day.

  • Valia Lind

    My happy is curling up with a good book and some coffee :)

  • Tina Horgan

    Happiness is cheese on toast, laughing until your abdomen hurts, blue skies, seeing a Gwen Stefani lookalike (complete with scarlett lips & tartan trousers) as you drive around listening to “now that you’ve got it”, lie-ins, hearing from someone that just popped into your head, feeling inspired, freudian slips, spending an evening shrieking I LOVE THIS SONG every 10 minutes, greenery, fresh air, doodling outfits for social events, your hair spontaneously behaving itself, new snack products, swimming & feeling like Esther Williams.

  • Brianna McDonald

    Happiness is winning a free book about “relationships that can be created simply through writing letters…” and then reading that book on a cold Spring day. It’s also the moment when you realize your crush wants to kiss you, but is too nervous so you kiss them. Fireworks. :)

    Thanks for this opportunity! It sounds like a really great book!

  • Serena Johnson

    My happy is singing with friends or spending a rainy day reading by the window.

  • Rebel Regan

    Happiness. . is internal. Happiness is generated by me, for me alone. Gratitude. Paying forward. Small acts of kindness. Meditation. 1940s music playing in the background while I clean, cook, live, breathe, etc. A hot cup of coffee, a good book, and my pug curled under my feet. Having my unmanageable hair behave and look stunning for a change. A divine cupcake with spectacular frosting.

  • Janine Sarto

    Happy is a sunny, breezy day, the perfect song on the radio, the windows rolled down.

  • Alli Treman

    Happy is when I get home from work and my cat is there to greet me! She wont stop following me around until I cuddle and play with her.

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