Like Happiness

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Pub Date 4 Apr 2024 | Archive Date 18 Apr 2024

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The book leaps out at her in the bookstore: a diamond-studded Puerto Rico constellation gracing a black vellum cover, with an enigmatic name - M. Domínguez - in the lower right-hand corner. For Tatum Vega, out of place at a prestigious East Coast college, it is a lifeline. She writes her first piece of fan mail to the author. When he writes back, she finds herself drawn into an all-consuming and undefinable relationship with the older, charismatic Domínguez.

Over a decade later, Tatum has constructed a new life for herself, but when a reporter contacts her out the blue, this careful separation from her former existence crumbles. Domínguez has been accused of assault by another woman, and the reporter is looking for corroboration. Searching for clarity, Tatum decides to tell her story in a different way: in the form of a letter to Domínguez, recounting and reclaiming the totality of their decades-long relationship from the day they met to the shocking night it all imploded.

The book leaps out at her in the bookstore: a diamond-studded Puerto Rico constellation gracing a black vellum cover, with an enigmatic name - M. Domínguez - in the lower right-hand corner. For Tatum...

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EDITION Hardcover
ISBN 9781911590927
PRICE £16.99 (GBP)

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Average rating from 9 members

Featured Reviews

I enjoyed seeing how the relationships unfold and how we get more insight into the development into intensity.

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Like Happiness by Ursula Villarreal-Moura explores an imbalanced power dynamic in a relationship with a relatable narrator.

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Thank you to Net Galley and the publisher for the ARC!>
This book was so beautifully written and unputdownable. I normally dislike novels that feature alternating timelines, but in this case, it was incredibly well done and impactful. The complicated relationship between the narrator and the people in her life, especially M, felt so real and so raw. I loved being inside of Tatum's head as she navigated finding herself alongside M and as she navigated maturing and seeing their relationship from his point of view, in addition to finding herself outside of her relationship to M.
I really liked the underlying themes of identity, especially as a Latina myself. Tatum's struggle with figuring out who she is and what she wants are very real, and this novel felt so true to life in a way that most novels I feel aren't. Throughout the whole thing, Tatum was doing the best she could, and I was rooting for her. I liked how real she felt, which is such a testament to the writing.
Ursula Villareeal-Moura is an incredibly talented author, and I want to read so much more of her work after this beautiful novel. I truly loved getting to know these characters and immersing myself in their world. I truly felt Tatum's betrayal, confusion, and reluctance to anger or hatred. These relationships are incredibly complicated, and they were navigated with grace and care by the author. I especially loved the ending as well. I would read this over and over again.

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i feel like people who love the craft of writing tend to be people who fixate on certain moments and turn them into something else altogether. what is a memory of discovering a book for the first time that really makes you feel seen (in tatum's case feeling closer to her mexican identity) can become a turning point to an open world of possibility. it is only until we reflect upon our 20s and 30s with a new lens do we start to see that the relationships we may have held dear was toxic. this is the reality for tatum as she remains connected to a writer of whom she sent a letter to after discovering for the first time for over 10 years. there really isn't anything surprising here, but the writing is protective almost in the way villarreal-moura chooses to include revelations and i simply love this book for that.

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