The Health and Happiness Society

I wish there was a Health and Happiness Society in my neighborhood. Doesn’t it sound fantastic? Who doesn’t want health and happiness in their life?

The Health and Happiness Society is a series by Katie Cross. I read the first book in the series in October of 2018 and finished the fifth book on August 26, 2020.

I recommend this series for any woman. In fact, I believe every woman should read it.

Here are short reviews of each book:

Bon Bons to Yoga Pants

This book was ChickLit at it’s finest. Although I only gave it 4.4 stars on Goodreads, I really lated to Lexie’s struggles. I also had a rocky relationship with my mom because I felt judged by her. I also love me some sweets when the day is rough. And the passion for words? Yep, that’s me too.

I Am Girl Power

This is Megan’s story. I didn’t give it a review on Goodreads, only a rating of four stars. I read it right after I finished book one, and I started it again in August. I didn’t connect with Megan like I did with Lexie, but this had a more comedic tone.

As I reread, I could relate more to Megan’s sense of loss at the beginning because of my own publishing career losses at that time. This goes to show that a book that didn’t resonate at one time in your life could have impact later.

You’ll Never Know

Book three is where Cross suddenly started hitting the difficult life issues hard. I know she was concerned about the focus of losing weight and didn’t want readers to feel like they should be concerned about that. Her intentions aren’t to make readers believe being skinny is the best outcome. In fact, none of her characters are content with that because their food issues often hide deeper emotional issues.

That’s completely the case with Rachelle. She’s lost the most weight and has become addicted to exercise. We learn where her issues come from as the story progresses and get a deeper look inside her heart, life and mind.

This is a five-star read that gets to the heart of the matter. If you have an addiction, there’s something inside that needs your attention. Don’t try to gloss over it. Don’t imagine that because you can ignore the addiction the root cause is solved. These soul issues need direct attention.

Well done with the counseling sessions. I felt like I was there with Rachelle. The only thing I didn’t love? This story ended before I was ready for it to.

Hear Me Roar

Bitsy had been my least favorite character in the group. Until I read her story. She’s a closed book and seems so harsh. This story shows us why.
Cross does an amazing job tackling tough issues. She speaks about bulimia with compassion and honesty. She addresses the issue of divorce and child custody battles in a sympathetic manner. The heart of this story is about forgiveness, and Bitsy’s journey toward that end felt believable and authentic.

If you only read one book in this series, let THIS be the one.

What Was Lost

I’ll admit that I was looking forward to Mira’s story. She was the character closest to me in age, and I saw her as the strongest of the women in the club.

Imagine my surprise when she was nothing like the other books portrayed her. It really made me struggle to connect with the story. I think the biggest disappointment was that she was supposedly a “woman of faith” but it turns out – nope! I know this is mainstream fiction, but Mira is mentioned in the other books as coming from prayer meeting, heading to church and doing all sorts of good deeds for others.

But all that was “pretend.”

I don’t want to give away the story, but I didn’t connect with her grief journey. I found myself often saying, “Then sell the house.” Or “Why aren’t you happy about this? You don’t enjoy that anyway.”

And I was disappointed in the other ladies. Mira is there for every single one of them, but when she suddenly withdraws, they let her go. I mean, yes, she was doing her best to avoid them but any of them could have dropped by her store at any point if they really wanted to connect with her. Kudos to Megan and Rachelle who don’t give up until they speak with her, but they don’t get full marks because they didn’t see her charade.

What This Has to Do with Me

I’ve been in my own “body image” struggle the past year or so. Truthfully, I’ve been struggling for most of my life. So, I want to become a member of the Health and Happiness Society.

I believe you can be healthy and happy and not be a size six with model proportions. For the next month or so, my weekly posts are going to be about my journey.

I’m calling them “The Battle of the Bulge” with tongue-in-cheek pizzazz. Because health has only a small amount to do with your weight and happiness shouldn’t be tied to it at all.

What topics do you wish authors would address with authenticity and kindness?

5 thoughts on “The Health and Happiness Society”

  1. I am pretty healthy and reasonably happy and I’m definitely not a size six with model proportions! I could do with being fitter, but I eat a fairly healthy diet (without obsessing over it), and keep up my liquids (mostly tea rather than water), and get plenty of beauty sleep. And I don’t own a scale, because all it can tell me is how much I weigh. Not how much of my weight (or weight change) is muscle or moisture or fat, not how fit or healthy my body is, and definitely not how healthy my mind and emotions are.

    All the best for a happy, healthy, non-size-six future!

    1. Sadly, our opinions of ourselves and what we perceive as healthy can be warped by the media and negative influences in our lives. I’m thrilled that you are both happy and healthy, and it has nothing to do with the size of your clothes or some number on the scale.
      Katie Cross did an excellent job addressing American body-size issues and the related health-obsession culture without being preachy or coming across as having an agenda. Her characters are real and round. I hope I do as well when I address difficult real-life issues in my fiction.

      1. To be fair, I think I’d worry more about my size if there was any kind of consensus on the labels in my clothing. It’s hard to get hung up on a number when there are five different numbers on the clothes that all fit the same body!

        Now that I think about it, maybe it helps that our house doesn’t have a TV, either. Media can have a warping effect, as you say. (I don’t know how anyone manages to raise healthy kids these days, but people are doing it!)

        I hope that I can manage the message without the preachiness in my writing, too. Possibly I’m erring a little on the side of not enough message to avoid the preachiness. Hard to know!

  2. I agree with you and loved these books. The author deals with so many of the journeys and struggles women face – realistically. Kudos for counseling sessions in the book.
    I also wandered where all the friends went in the final book????
    Today, we are so busy that we often let people slip through the cracks. Especially those that ‘hide’ when they are struggling. Once again, Katie Cross hit another area of women’s lives!

    1. I didn’t even realize you had read these books! We should totally have a conversation about them. Yes, I was very disappointed in the final book and I had been looking SO forward to it 🙁

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