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Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite
Mystic and the Secret of Happiness is a fictional journey intended to uplift and inspire, penned by author Anne-Claire Szubaniska. Though the author states that the book represents her own emotional journey to happiness, the plot is relayed through the perception of a cat called Mystic. When Mystic’s dear friend Bumpa goes missing, his life seems to collapse entirely. Losing his purpose and his desire to go on, Mystic is lost and directionless, constantly looking inward to the negativity he feels. When he looks at the world beyond his own whiskers, however, the world opens up again in a dazzling new way. The beauty of the world and the power of happiness is revealed to Mystic and the reader, with a bright promise for the future if you can change your thinking to be more like this delightful little cat.
As a straight novel, Mystic’s adventure could be viewed as simplistic in parts, but it’s the overall purpose of Anne-Claire Szubaniska’s writing which makes this work stand apart from its predecessors. Seen through the eyes of small, furry characters, the metaphors for life are stronger than ever by their distancing from the human brain. I found myself wanting Mystic to appreciate life, and in doing so highlighted the self-damaging processes that I know I and many others are prone to do. Mystic and the Secret of Happiness holds up a mirror to the reality of the cages we put ourselves in, and I’d recommend it as an essential read for anyone who knows they are their own worst enemy.