Three people, Three birthdays, Three turning points…

by Lakshmi Palaniappan on January 9, 2013

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Author: Danielle Steel
Publisher: Random House
Year: 2011
ISBN: 9780552154802
Rating: ★★★★☆
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The last three books I have been reading were all Danielle Steel’s and I have thoroughly enjoyed every single of them ! Some people would not weigh a Steel novel in the same scale as that of Dan Brown or John Grisham. For instance, when my cousin got married, her husband asked me who my favorite author was, and pat came my reply– Danielle Steel. And, he went “Oh God, you aren’t one of those sappy, mushy types !”

Hell, NO !

A Steel novel maybe stereotyped with middle aged protagonists and underlying romances, but every story of hers is a celebration of life and all that it offers. “Happy Birthday” is no different. Both the cover and the title denote a happy image, tempting one to pluck this particular novel from a bookshelf and the book doesn’t fail our expectations.

“Time to blow out the candles, say goodbye to the past and make a wish for the future.” are the first few lines of the excerpt of the book. This would make a great book to read at the end of 2012, right in time to welcome a new year and the future.

The story is carried through three distinctive personalities – April Wyatt, April’s mother Valerie and Jack Adams. April, a young woman whose love affair with gastronomy culminates in her very own restaurant at New York. Halfway through the book, I wanted to visit April’s restaurant but had to make do with just salivating over the mouth watering dishes described ! Valerie, April’s mother is a popular TV personality, at the zenith of her career, but still seeking fulfillment in her personal life. And finally, Jack Adams, a football star turned sports announcer, who is charismatic and proves to be every inch the man he is described as.

November 1st links them together – a birthday shared by all three of them. A milestone in all their lives and a turning point. It is a story, with no unexpected twists or turns. But the simplicity is what that shines through like a polished diamond. Steel conveys her message loud and clear – “Life’s greatest gifts are surprises”. Three lives take a turn for good (be it falling in love, or getting pregnant, or even realizing the enormity of one’s age) on their birthdays and what happens thereafter is the essence of the book.

The novel is light hearted (the kind you can put down and go to bed, without fearing what unexpected twist the story would take), warm, emotional (without being sappy) and funny as well ! The characters are the kind you can easily relate to and the incidents in their lives could happen to any one of us. The book is very down to earth and immensely likeable !

When I was devouring the last few pages of this novel, I was passing by Danielle Steel’s house in San Fransisco. The tour guide pointed it out to me, and I really wanted to holler a ‘Thank You’ to her for such an amazing novel. Read it and you shall feel the same !

Written by Lakshmi Palaniappan

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