Cover Image: Aggressively Happy

Aggressively Happy

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Member Reviews

Excellent book about cultivating happiness in a modern world! The author admits this hasn’t always come easy for her and she’s had to grow in  rejoicing and shows the reader now to also.  Scripture commands us to rejoice over and over, so I really enjoyed this engaging guide.
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I loved this book and Joy’s perspective. She didn’t focus on happiness as a shallow or sappy thing but true happiness that is deep and real. Her honesty about her own doubt and mental health struggles were very helpful as well.
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This is a surprise hidden in a book form. It is a wise book if you take into account the age of the author. Some of us have to live half a century to come to understanding what Joy Marie is talking about. I do have a difficulty reconciling the world we live in today with the event that happen in it. Joy's path and her experience gave me another perspective, it taught me a different way to look at things around. And sometimes this is just what you need to make a jump start in live. A very easy book to read, and a very clear instructions on how to make a positive change in your live. This book goes into "my favorite" pile.
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This book was so good! I hadn't read anything by the Clarksons (although I've been meaning to for ages!) so I was really exited to pick this one up.

Joy provides easy and actionable ways to live "aggressively happy," filled with anecdotes and lessons that she's learned over the years. They are all very practical tips and candid observations, and overall it is just overflowing with optimism. It's not very theologically heavy, but the message of the gospel shines through, but not in an overbearing way. I am a huge proponent of deliberately choosing the bright parts of life, and looking for ways that make life lighter, and this book speaks to that so well.

I personally really liked that this book wasn't super spiritual: I appreciate a theology book as much as the next one, but this one was so simple and so practical, and wasn't heavy on shoving Teaching down your throat, which was really refreshing. I also really liked that she included passages about doubt and questioning faith: it takes a lot of courage for someone to admit that, particularly in a book, PARTICULARLY in a Christian book, and I found that chapter deeply relatable. The reminder that faith is inherently supported by believing in something that may not exist was very timely and I loved the quote: "The more one lives inside the story of Christianity, the more undeniable it becomes." 

At the end of each chapter, there are suggestions of pieces of art to consume: music, books, and films. From the sound of it, they sound like pieces that are created that speak to the human experience, and they sound really good. I'm looking forwards to checking out these suggestions!

This is a book I will be returning to again and again, and I highly recommend!
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This seemed more like a self help book.
I dont know why, maybe it was just me.  Other than that this was an ok read.  Personally, I took away some things even though it fell a little flat.
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I started this book on audio, and it was fun to hear Joy narrate her own book.  However, I did think the book was a little lyrical for writing about her experiences.  She is a beautiful writer, and I think she would write amazing stories!
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Twitter has made name calling an expertise, but sometimes what’s meant as an insult becomes a badge of honor, or in Clarkson’s case, a book title. And in a world inundated with doom and gloom, she’s certain that it’s possible not only for you to be happy, but aggressively so. Clarkson's joy is infectious in this winsome and practical read.
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Unfortunately, most of this book fell a little flat to me. It felt more like a self-help book and not quite what I was expecting. I was expecting something that focused more on Christ being the source of our joy, and while the author did touch on that it wasn't as much the focus as I thought it would be.

That said, the last three chapter (7, 8, and 9) did bring my rating up. I enjoyed these chapters much more than the first six. Perhaps in part to the gentle shift away from the self-help vibes and also because I could really relate to her story in chapters 7 and 8.

**Thank you to Netgalley and the publishers for this ARC. Opinions are my own.
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A delightful read. I appreciate the way Clarkson weaves her own stories in with Bible stories and men and women throughout church history. We need more of this storytelling to remember the threads that bind us. .

The author makes a convincing argument, rather than focus on what's wrong in the world, the darkness, how about we intentionally let some light in?
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Lovely, lovely book that I listened through in one day, because the overall tone is very entertaining and the idea easy to follow. Joy Clarkson seems to me like a bubbly fountain of joy and wit and her book is a mirror of her personality, yet she also discusses topics like depression, the isolation of covid quarantine and death and grief. Yet in all of this she is decided to find beauty and goodness as an outlook for life. I especially love that she included songs, books, poems and movie suggestions at the end of each chapter to give the reader options to dive into this beautiful world himself.
Highly recommended if you are in want of some fun and a good pinch of hope.
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It takes a lot for me to give a book a 5: well written, thought provoking, meaningful, speaks to my soul, etc. This book is worth every star, and I wish I could rate it higher!! I loved this book so much that I've already read it twice! Joy Clarkson's writing is absolutely superb. She uses wonderful analogies and personal stories throughout the book. You can tell just from her writing how competent and smart she is. This book not only brings comfort, but a challenge to live aggressively happy. With chapters like "Befriend Sadness", "Enjoy things unironically", "Be like Mr. Collins", and "Accept love", you can expect your whole life view to change just from the words coming off the pages. I heard about the book on Instagram from Joy's mother, Sally Clarkson, and I had previously read the book she wrote with her mom and sister, "Girls' Club." I was impressed then. I feel like Joy Clarkson has superseded my expectations with her book, and I can not stop talking about it and sharing it with others. (I'm sure I'll end up reading it again!) HIGHLY RECOMMEND, and I'm hoping she'll write another book in the future!
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The Clarkson family always produce books that give great advice and Aggressively Happy is no different. Joy Clarkson has written a book that everyone needs to read after the two years we have all endured. It's a reminder that we control our thoughts and feelings and need to look at the best in life and fine our happiness. Happiness is a choice to be made.
Joy admits that she hasn't always lived up to her name and so the book isn't written by a natural Pollyanna trying to convince an Eeyore that's easy to change one's ways. Instead, she shares stories that are personal and relatable to the reader.
I received a complimentary copy of Aggressively Happy thanks to Bethany House and NetGalley, but all opinions are my own.
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Thanks NetGalley and Bethany House for the e-ARC! 

Reading this book is like listen to a friend that sharing her quirky stories and her favourite arts (songs, film, artworks). It gives me the message of how to find joy in little things in different circumstances.
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There Is Something You Can Gain About Joy From This Book!



You will fine nuggets to take away in the stories and scripture that Joy shares. This is current and has application to our lives coming out of COVID. 



I didn’t feel it all applied to me but again. With books like this it won’t always apply to you but you never know when God will use something you read to recommend this book or speak into someone else in your life. I am always amazed how God puts me in a situation where I’m talking to someone and a light bulb goes off on something that I read and totally didn’t apply to me… totally applied to the person I was talking to. I totally related to her chapter talking about how we all are storytellers…



At the end of each chapter there is recommendation … 

• To Read: A book to read.

• To See: A movie to watch. 

• To Listen: A song or 2 to listen to.

• To Ponder: Questions

I received a complimentary ARC of this book from NetGalley on behalf of the Publisher and was under no obligation to post a favorable review.
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It is summer break, so that means a little more reading time and a few book reviews over the next month or so! First one, is Aggressively Happy – A Realist’s Guide to Believing in the Goodness of Life by Joy Clarkson. Yes, the daughter of Sally Clarkson, whom I have recommend and have read many of her books. First, I was not sure what to make of the book, based off the title, so honestly I was a little hesitant. However, I am happy to report, see what I did there, that this is a beautiful book in so many ways! Joy is an excellent writer! She goes into why she titled the book the way she did, and yes I agree with her.

This is a book of her sharing stories, stories of her, stories from the Bible, from others, etc… Along with great quotes from other literature, Scripture, music, movie, art, and other projects to take your further in your reading and exploring of beautiful things. She offers up thought provoking questions to help you learn and see the importance of happiness and where it can be found. She explains it well here, “We are wrapped up in the story of a God who is making all things new. When my story feels disjointed, when I lose my voice and I cannot tell it, I fall back in the story that God tells me about.”

I love how she laid out each chapter. Each chapter has a focus, she shares personal and Biblical examples, and then suggestions at the end of each chapter, such as a song, movie, art, and questions to take you deeper. Which are all my favorite things! Now I have a list of movies to watch, more books to my list, and added songs to my spotify account. I found every chapter encouraging for different areas in my life and with others who are struggling. Such as, how to welcome sadness, how to flounder well in the midst of troubles, importance of taking care of yourself, enjoying life in difficulties, why to read stories, contentment, thankfulness, and so much more!

Joy is wise beyond her years! Pick up this book and read it, you won’t be disappointed.
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This book was such a delight to read. A bit of a memoir, a bit of a personal development, and a lot of joy. I read this during a time I needed it the most, to help give over some grief in my life. I loved it. It was a joy to read.
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What a refreshing read!  Clarkson helps readers who may be feeling like their life is lacking in happiness turn their sadness into joy with lots of laughter along the way.  A perfect read for anyone who needs encouragement and happiness in their life.  Highly recommend.
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Aggressively Happy by Joy Marie Clarkson is a breath of fresh air. The author describes the purpose of joy and the many reasons for it. I particularly loved the way the author explains what joy really is. It is so much more than superficial happiness. True, God given joy is deep and rich and so worth pursuing. Amazing read! I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher with no obligations. These opinions are entirely my own.
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I’m kind of torn with how I feel about this book. At times, I found Aggressively Happy somewhat difficult to connect to, and in the beginning it almost felt like it was written for middle grades or high schoolers. I had to remind myself that I wasn’t reading a theological book and it probably wasn’t supposed to be that deep, but as it progressed, it became a lot more insightful. After the finished the book, I did find out that the author is a doctoral candidate at the Institute for Theology, Imagination, and the Arts…so knowing that she teaches theology, I do think it could have been better edited in the beginning, as the second half was a lot better. But too often I found myself alternating between “oh wow, I really love that line, I’m going to write it down!” and “Hmm, I’m not sure that I agree with that.” I was able to glean a lot from the book, it just didn’t become an instant favorite like I expected.
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I was able to get Aggressively Happy as an e-arc and read it right away. But each time I try to write a review I have trouble feeling like I can adequately express the heart of the book. 

See, being “aggressively happy” as @joynessthebrave writes about it is not about naively or blindly refusing to see reality or just plastering a smile on your face and white-knuckling through. Instead, Joy argues for several approaches to seeing the world in the larger perspective of gospel reality. Being aggressively happy is about facing the hardships of this world and choosing to really live. This type of joy is not a fluffy or naive response but one that takes endurance and determination. 

The framework of each chapter ranges from topics like “Befriend Sadness” to “Be Like Mr. Collins” and each chapter ends with examples of the topic in stories, music, and visual art to contemplate. “Flounder Well” and “Tell Yourself a Good Story” were two of my favorite sections. 

Because Joy shares experiences from much of her early adult life, this book would be very easy for someone in a similar life stage to relate to. But much of what she points to are things that people experience and have to decide how to respond to all throughout life, and so her message isn’t just for one life stage.
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