The Year of Living Danishly: My Twelve Months Unearthing the Secrets of the World's Happiest Country

The Year of Living Danishly: My Twelve Months Unearthing the Secrets of the World's Happiest Country

Denmark is officially the happiest nation on Earth. When Helen Russell is forced to move to rural Jutland, can she discover the secrets of their happiness? Or will the long, dark winters and pickled herring take their toll?A Year of Living Danishly looks at where the Danes get it right, where they get it wrong, and how we might just benefit from living a little more Danish...

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Title:The Year of Living Danishly: My Twelve Months Unearthing the Secrets of the World's Happiest Country
Author:Helen Russell
Rating:
ISBN:184831812X
Format Type:Paperback
Number of Pages:354 pages

The Year of Living Danishly: My Twelve Months Unearthing the Secrets of the World's Happiest Country Reviews

  • ❂ Jennifer
    Feb 18, 2015

    About 8 years ago, I almost moved to Denmark though a company transfer, but ended up in Australia instead. I always wondered what it would have been like to live there. This book was a funny, informative, research-rich look at what sets Danes apart from a cultural perspective, as well as what ties them to the rest of the world.

    Full review:

  • Lydia
    Mar 09, 2015

    After relocating because of her husband's job, Helen Russell describes her year of living in Denmark in this wonderful book. It was laugh-out-loud funny at points (thank god I didn't read it in public) and an overall joy to read.

    Part memoir, part self-help, part travel book, but wholly entertaining. I had my concerns that it would fall into the stereotypical view that everything in Denmark is perfect and wonderful and that the people living there have no problems at all. Thankfully, Russell enti

    After relocating because of her husband's job, Helen Russell describes her year of living in Denmark in this wonderful book. It was laugh-out-loud funny at points (thank god I didn't read it in public) and an overall joy to read.

    Part memoir, part self-help, part travel book, but wholly entertaining. I had my concerns that it would fall into the stereotypical view that everything in Denmark is perfect and wonderful and that the people living there have no problems at all. Thankfully, Russell entirely avoided that. She talks about both the good and the bad aspects of "living Danishly".

    I'll admit that I lean towards books about happiness because it's something I struggle with. I'm not ridiculous enough to think that reading a couple of books and lighting more candles around my house is going to miraculously cure any of my mental illnesses, but it's still nice to remind myself that there are a couple of things that you can do in your everyday life that can bring a little happiness into it.

    And if there's one thing I think I can definitely do to "live more Danishly", it's that I'm going to start eating more pastries.

  • Lisa
    Feb 07, 2017

    I'm green with envy after reading this book. Denmark sounds like a nordic Celestial Kingdom. Everyone thinks I'm nuts but I love the short, cold, winter days. This whole Hygge thing is right up my street. Everything sounds amazing over there in Denmark, YES, that includes their whole 'tax you like crazy but give you amazing quality childcare, education, etc., etc., etc.' system. This book is well-written, entertaining, and smart. Helen Russell perfectly balances her personal memoir with a very i

    I'm green with envy after reading this book. Denmark sounds like a nordic Celestial Kingdom. Everyone thinks I'm nuts but I love the short, cold, winter days. This whole Hygge thing is right up my street. Everything sounds amazing over there in Denmark, YES, that includes their whole 'tax you like crazy but give you amazing quality childcare, education, etc., etc., etc.' system. This book is well-written, entertaining, and smart. Helen Russell perfectly balances her personal memoir with a very informative and interesting non-fictional account of life in Denmark. I really couldn't put it down. 5 stars.

  • Keith
    May 27, 2015

    A perfect example of how a clever title can snag a reader. Once I'd mentally complimented the author on the title I was taken with the idea. Denmark is regularly at the top of lists of the "world's happiest country" so when author Russell's husband is offered a job in Denmark (at Lego no less) they pack up and move from the UK to Denmark. It's a trial idea to be revisited after a year. The author is a journalist so she takes on the assignment of finding out why Danes are so happy, indeed cross-e

    A perfect example of how a clever title can snag a reader. Once I'd mentally complimented the author on the title I was taken with the idea. Denmark is regularly at the top of lists of the "world's happiest country" so when author Russell's husband is offered a job in Denmark (at Lego no less) they pack up and move from the UK to Denmark. It's a trial idea to be revisited after a year. The author is a journalist so she takes on the assignment of finding out why Danes are so happy, indeed cross-examining them to see if they're really happy. The result is an amusing book that chronicles their troubles adapting to Denmark in diverse matters as recycling, the national flag, the various holidays, strange traditions, incredible income taxes (with equally incredible social programs) the language and the significantly different Danish winter.

    Throughout the book Russell maintains a proper journalistic skepticism but is honest in admitting the many good things that Denmark possesses. Her first discovery was

    , Danish pastry which is lovingly described. The book is much more than brief impressions as Russell interviews many experts on Danish life, concluding each interview with the question "on a scale of one to ten how happy are you?" All her interviewees clock in a no less than eight and the occasional ten. Despite the light tone the book offers an interesting glimpse into a country whose social policies are very far removed from America's. As we argue our way through entitlements, security, tax rates, income equality and access to health care Denmark provides an interesting window on alternate social policies.

  • Wanda
    Aug 07, 2015

    Apparently, genetics do count for a great deal. I may be only half Danish in ancestry, but I have somehow come to enjoy many of the same things that the Danes do. I’m glad to know that there are other people out there who light the long winter nights with plenty of candles. As an enthusiastic consumer of coffee and wine, I am living up to my genetic heritage. And I must confess that I cook and eat a great deal of pork and potatoes, so I have that in common with the people of “Sticksville-On-Sea,

    Apparently, genetics do count for a great deal. I may be only half Danish in ancestry, but I have somehow come to enjoy many of the same things that the Danes do. I’m glad to know that there are other people out there who light the long winter nights with plenty of candles. As an enthusiastic consumer of coffee and wine, I am living up to my genetic heritage. And I must confess that I cook and eat a great deal of pork and potatoes, so I have that in common with the people of “Sticksville-On-Sea,” where the author lives. Combine that with a love of spending time with my family, and I think I would fit in rather well in rural Denmark. I have been practicing

    without knowing it.

    I liked the author’s light-hearted way of looking at her Danish adventure. Her nicknames for those about her match a tendency of my own to bestow monikers known only to myself on the people around me. While she has Friendly Neighbour, American Mother, and the Viking, however, I have Monkey Boy (he climbed up the balconies on our building when he forgot his keys), Spatially Challenged Woman with Big Truck (who has thankfully moved), and Peking Man (who rather resembled a caveman and spent a lot of time peering out of his venetian blinds).

    I rarely laugh out loud while reading, but the exploits of Ms. Russell’s dog had me in tears on a couple of occasions, I laughed so hard. Perhaps I was a trifle over-tired. Like many other facets of life, Danes consider dogs to be fine if they are well trained and well controlled. Unlike this particular British dog, which mortifies his owners on a regular basis with his uncontrolled antics.

    Russell doesn’t shrink from telling the not-so-wonderful parts of living in Denmark either—the subtle and not-so-subtle sexism, the rather self-congratulatory assumption that their way of life is superior to the rest of the world, and the problems accepting outsiders. Like Iceland, Danes are all quite closely related compared to other countries and they have some issues with those who are not like them. But even a country as multicultural as Canada struggles with that issue. By and large, the problems seem to be well balanced with the advantages. Denmark’s problems are definitely first world problems.

    It seems that most of the Danes who were restless moved to other countries long ago, and left behind those who enjoy the quiet pleasures. I know I will be living life a bit more consciously Danishly from now on.

  • Antonomasia
    Sep 08, 2015

    Of course she's happy: she gets to be Birgitte Nyborg for a year, her partner's played by Mads Mikkelsen (also he never complains like that beardy bloke did),

    she receives as many free Gudrun & Gudrun jumpers as sh

    Of course she's happy: she gets to be Birgitte Nyborg for a year, her partner's played by Mads Mikkelsen (also he never complains like that beardy bloke did),

    she receives as many free Gudrun & Gudrun jumpers as she wants...

    This book, by a burnt-out London magazine writer who emigrates to Jutland because of her husband's job, is the sort of thing I call 'trash non-fiction' in my head (less apologetic for being judgemental about factual books than novels). Has a sometimes frustratingly, needlessly, shallow approach to its topic; written in a jaunty British journalese that's not always as amusing or endearing as it thinks it is; and takes a viewpoint of relative naivety and giggly ignorance that reminds me of why school misleadingly made me feel like an intellectual giant. One of those publications that makes me embarrassed that I spent years wanting to be a journalist when I grew up.

    This stuff practically reads itself though: ideal for times when you're concentrating on something else. And

    contains plenty of interesting factoids, even for someone who rolls their eyes at having

    or Jante Law - concepts I very much like - explained in a patronising tone reminiscent of mediocre primary school teachers. Near the end, she spends the best part of a page explaining Maslow's hierarchy of needs. It's possible to write about things some of your readers already know without irritating them, but Russell doesn't understand how to do that in her narrative. She does, however, manage it when reporting on interviews with others who show greater depth of thought: e.g. a Danish feminist academic who explains that the higher reported rates of domestic violence in Denmark - as compared with, say, Poland or the former Yugoslav countries - have a lot to do with a) differing legal definitions, b) women understanding their experiences that way and not considering some aggression normal, c) authorities who readily accept reports of these crimes.

    It's like a more politically acceptable version of

    for the 2010s (being about a mostly-white country where most people have better quality of life than in the writer's own). Elizabeth Gilbert got a lot of flak for being focused on her own experience as a yoga tourist. Helen Russell says more about wider society, but that's because she's exploring a communitarian culture as part of her personal-journey-or-whatever. She ignores aspects of society that aren't personally relevant to her: the most disappointing aspect of the book. Fair enough, this could be called whataboutery - but there were things missing that I just really wanted to hear about, and with them the book would have been more interesting, more popular sociology than semi-oblique self-help.

    [The critical comment below at #2 was posted to an unfinished version of this review which ended here. Can't say it induced me to make the rest any less of a hatchet job.]

    The book could be a lot worse: there's still plenty of interesting information here (the main reason to read it), but it's not examined with much critical depth or an eye to the future, ending up as a mixture of self-help and tourist PR; the writer irritates me sometimes – this is not one of those occasions where you find yourself wanting to be friends with an author - but there are bits where I still found her likeable and reasonably entertaining. The lack of depth might be more forgiveable if there wasn't already a small glut of similar-toned infotainment books on Scandinavian life, e.g.

    ; or

    , not to mention a zillion articles in newspaper lifestyle sections. This one is duplication rather than a useful addition to the field. Not that the cover or blurb are misleading: I only read it because I could borrow it - I'd never have paid for this book. It's actually more informative than I expected, though really I'd have liked to read something more serious-minded and wide-ranging: not an actual textbook but a few rungs closer to one than Russell's book is. Here, more than enough research studies are cited – but it becomes parrot-like, press-release-like, one per point with minimal analysis. And lifestyle 'experts' are wheeled out, often in ways that plead for satire:

    Or

    ; the imagery being somewhere between desperately glib journalist and bored super-rich housewife (after all, the latter generally seems to be the over-optimistically imagined reader for the former). What's wrong with looking up stuff on the internet, a quick call to the tourist information board, or asking a neighbour when you happen remember?

    It's common knowledge that Scandinavian nations are better at environmentalism than most of the rest of the developed world. Russell's experience repeats the usual cliches. To start with, eetting ticked off by her new neighbours for not sorting the recycling correctly. Okay, I'm a recycling nerd who'd probably fit in better over there than here, but unless you've got a learning disability or are too depressed or ill to face sorting the stuff, how is this task actually so challenging that its arduousness has become a mini-trope among Anglo journalists? It's like the supposed inability to visit a branch of IKEA without buying more than you went in for: not actually difficult, but these little memes make people feel it's weird or impossible.

    So it's obviously a bit much to hope she might point out areas in which they could still do better. If Danes are the world's biggest per capita spenders on new furniture and silly scatter cushions (this book reads embarrassingly like a advertorial sometimes, a disappointingly picture-free one but then many standard magazine articles, on which she cut her teeth, are just a step away from being ads), what happens to the old stuff? Is there a good second hand market? (That would fit the minimalist, egalitarian ethos she seeks, but it's as if, after years immersed in consumerism and lifestyle journalism, she and her husband no idea how not to get all the new stuff all the time. Or is it like Iceland – a former Danish colony - where there's traditionally an aversion to used items?) I love the idea that most Danish homes have showers not baths (I've ruled out a few cheap, otherwise nice places here because they had a bath and no shower) but these

    limit ways of saving water if you can't pour any into the cistern, as well as making plumbers more costly. And she accepts the presence of a lot of animal farming as being simply part of The Danish Way, keen not to seem too squeamish, sentimental and British about animals – but what about all the greenhouse gases from continuing to have

    ? Are there any plans to scale that down long-term?

    The author and her husband attend free state-sponsored language classes (obviously they're near the bottom of the bottom set and all tee-hee about this; it's better than football hooliganism I suppose, but still one of the aspects of Brits abroad really not worth encouraging). Among the people she meets at the classes are a Ukrainian woman working in a fish processing plant (better at the language than the Russells are), Poles employed as cleaners and handymen in hotels, and a group of

    [even, shockingly]

    - people who all speak better English than Danish. It's possible Russell did write more about these classmates and that it was left out of the final edition of the book. But the absence of more about them means that, whilst there are dozens of conversations with native middle-class Danes in professional and creative jobs, and a couple of other Anglo expats, saying how happy

    all are on a scale of 0-10, with no-one volunteering less than an 8, there are no first-hand accounts anywhere from people of nationalities who might face racist or xenophobic discrimination, and nothing about the experience of working-class workers. It makes for a noticeably incomplete picture of a nation – and I'm not even asking that the author went out of her way here: these folk were plonked in front of her, in a place she was attending regularly anyway. It seems insular and snobbish not to have said more about them: surely they would be interesting because their lives were different from hers? (And a type one hears less from and about in the British media, the main market for this book.) Racism is relatively well known as the dark side of the Scandinavian ideal, but this is mentioned only a couple of times in the most superficial ways:

    An interview with a geneticist cites studies such as

    [serotonin transporter]

    A new and uniquely Scandinavian phenomenon, unmentioned in this book, is a strand of politics that's strongly in favour of a generous welfare state, and strongly opposed to accepting further immigrants: you can see how such findings could enhance their seductive message.

    Scandinavia's largest mosque has been built in Copenhagen, combining Islamic and Scandinavian architectural features to encourage integration, she says (I paraphrase). So what about, you know, visiting it and interviewing attendees and seeing what they think? And about life in Denmark as well as the design? The writer is from highly multicultural London, yet she displays very little interest in the experiences of people unlike herself. Basically, this book would be a whole lot more interesting to me if the author thought like a news journalist rather than a glossy lifestyle magazine writer.

    Likewise, the first-hand experience of poorer, elderly and disabled people is absent. I really like a Danish film called

    (Bench); it's about an alcoholic who hangs out around a bench in a small town, and his family – a Scandinavian Ken Loach type of thing – and after over 250 pages of

    I hadn't learned anything extra about life for disadvantaged people in Denmark on top what I knew from that film and a couple of old news reports. (Then there was the opinion of a Norwegian I knew who, seeing a UK documentary about people on deprived estates, thought it looked like one of the poorer parts of Eastern Europe, not like his idea of Britain and certainly nothing like any conditions in Norway.) Looking into the job market and stress at work (Russell's poster-kids for the Danish approach to workplace stress are a political spin doctor turned yoga teacher, and an author of business books, very ordinary…) she notes that

    . Which for a lot of people is a bloody good deal compared with life in Britain. But does she say anything about what happens after that? What happens for people who are long term sick without any means of financial support? Nope. As far as I understand, for the long term unemployed there is some sort of workfare – it's also in that film – but this book is not about life in Denmark in general, it's about life in Denmark for a particular section of upper-middle class society. It's noted that

    but the author never gets to know anyone who' d be significantly outside the sphere of 'professionals', the odd successful blue collar tradesman but that's it. And whilst I'm laying into the superficial approach to the Danish welfare state, another thing she could have gone looking for was to find people who dislike the big state information systems – she mentions computerised IT systems for medical and other records (not to mention different approaches to personal data, for instance a bank staff member changing one's account type over without asking, and that this is a good thing): she just takes it on trust that

    Danes like this, that nothing goes wrong, no effort to find counterexamples, whether there are many reasonable nay-sayers over and above the inevitable small number of tin-foil-hatters who'd object to anything. [An aside: if Denmark has one of the highest levels of trust globally, do problems like paranoia or schizophrenia manifest at all differently when people have them? Are there different preoccupations? Are people considered problematically paranoid at a lower level than they might be here?] On a similar note, I roll my eyes at the author for saying Denmark's taxes are high rather than Britain's outrageously low (although their starting threshhold of around £4k looks a bit soon), for not having thought outside our paradigm before – but as decent journalism she should have found out a bit more variety of opinion about the system, rather than simply saying Danes are content. I've seen articles about Norwegian and Swedish entrepreneurs who want to go abroad because they want to live in lower tax systems. What about their Danish equivalents? I might not agree with those people, but this is a book for goodness sake, not a 500 word article: there's room to examine different sides.

    Oh, also, there's nothing at all on LGBT life. You'd presume it's quite good there, little reason to think otherwise (though it may not be as welcoming in the small Jutland town where she settles as in Copenhagen...) but she never even asks once, and apparently doesn't meet anyone queer. Though in quite some detail we hear that Danes sound unusually open-minded about some kinds of straight perviness: swinging and dogging are popular pastimes that appear to be quite widely talked about. Here, I can't resist quoting another GR reviewer who describes the author as having' the sexual morality of a Jane Austen character'. She is rather easily shockable. Apologises to readers for “become a bit sweary” at one point. And more specifically to this topic, how has she got to her age in her meedja milieu without knowing what some of these terms are, e.g. glory hole? (Which isn't the same as having seen or used one!) Has she not read a few seedy literary novels? Comprehensive sex manuals? Visits to posh sex shops like Coco de Mer? Articles about Killing Kittens and other snooty shag-party networks? (She did work in women's glossy mags and Sunday supplements after all, and they're what publishes most about such places.)

    [out of a population of 5.5 million]

    Yet another random expert links this aspect of culture, not the first thing in this book to be explained by Denmark having been an overwhelmingly rural society until more recently than Britain:

    Ms Russell, no doubt unacquainted with anyone involved in polyamory or BDSM and the associated intricately planned schedules such friends tend to have, is shocked that

    Okay, this has been a bit of a bitchfest so far: here are a few things I did like. The writer may for some unaccountable reason find the idea of making local friends ' scary', despite being so fucking normal she even says at one point:

    But we'll clock that up to momentary apprehension, given that a few weeks later she says:

    There are also various sports and a choir. It's hard not to kind of like someone who's up for trying such a bizarre variety of activities whilst they can. Also, the author is only slightly younger than I am, and mid-to-late thirties might just be the optimum point for feeling comfortable with both stereotypically 'young' and 'old' pastimes – it's the when you could do the widest range of things like this without being a prat, and she takes advantage of it.

    She knowingly complains about being

    … I've wanted to complain before about being unable to concentrate on reading because of cuckoos: but like her I was aware how fortunate it was to be somewhere you could hear them regularly...

  • Nicola
    Apr 03, 2016

    Ehhhh. In some ways, this book delivered exactly what it set out to do, so I don't feel like I should rag on it too much. But, by the same token, my ~real and honest~ review of this would be 72pt pink sparkletext that reads

    Because, my god, this book is annoying. Smug Helen Russell leaves behind her smug London life as a smug magazine writer to smugly travel to Denmark and live there (sooooo smugly) for a year. Have I used the word 'smug' enough yet? (SMUG!)

    I suppose it's no

    Ehhhh. In some ways, this book delivered exactly what it set out to do, so I don't feel like I should rag on it too much. But, by the same token, my ~real and honest~ review of this would be 72pt pink sparkletext that reads

    Because, my god, this book is annoying. Smug Helen Russell leaves behind her smug London life as a smug magazine writer to smugly travel to Denmark and live there (sooooo smugly) for a year. Have I used the word 'smug' enough yet? (SMUG!)

    I suppose it's no surprise, since Russell is/was a lifestyle magazine writer, but

    is all surface and no substance. At no point did I emotionally connect with any of her adventures, because everything's slathered with cutesy alliteration and half-baked jokes that aren't even half-funny.

    Worse still is the fact that at some point Russell came up with the idea that her year spent living abroad would be a ~quest for happiness~ in a country that regularly ranks as the world's happiest. Even setting aside the fact that Russell's loving husband, cute dog, health, wealth and unstrenuous job somehow do not(!) make her(!!) happy(!!!!!!!), this wafer-thin premise means that whenever she finds out any fact about Denmark (Danes pay a lot of taxes! Danes join a lot of clubs!), she follows this factlet with, "maybe that's why they're so happy!" It's repetitious bordering on mental torture.

    Sure,

    makes for a decent-enough vicarious holiday and I learned a few wikifacts about Denmark. But it also made me realise that a memoir sinks or soars on the basis of its characterisation. Even after 12 hours in their (audiobook) company, I couldn't tell you a damn thing about Russell, her husband, or her assortment of Danish friends. (At some point, she MUST have told us who buddies Viking Man and Helena C are, but I guess I missed it and, thereafter, these cardboard cutouts amble frequently into the narrative, yet give absolutely no hint of internal life. WHO ARE YOU, HELENA C?)

    In conclusion: no.

  • helen the bookowl
    Apr 04, 2016

    This is one of those books that I personally really liked, but I'm pretty sure you're only going to like it if you have an interesting in learning more about the Danish people (or your own people, if you're a Dane). This book speaks about traditions and way of living in Denmark, and it investigates why it is that Danes are the happiest people on Earth.

    Being a Dane myself, I agreed with a lot of the things that Helen Russell finds out during her year here, and especially the beginning with it's g

    This is one of those books that I personally really liked, but I'm pretty sure you're only going to like it if you have an interesting in learning more about the Danish people (or your own people, if you're a Dane). This book speaks about traditions and way of living in Denmark, and it investigates why it is that Danes are the happiest people on Earth.

    Being a Dane myself, I agreed with a lot of the things that Helen Russell finds out during her year here, and especially the beginning with it's great discoveries and sassy commentaries on the Danish way of living cracked me up. There were some inaccuracies at some points, but they were very few. Also, I was mildly irritated with how Russell calls every Dane she meets under the name of Viking (and claims that we're proud of it).

    All in all, I loved how this book opened up my eyes to my own people and put words on what we're really like. That's why I think this book was a success and a must-read for everyone who wants to get to know us Vikings better.

  • RitaSkeeter
    May 07, 2016

    I read this on a whim, and I'm really glad I did. I thought it was a fascinating look into Danish culture, and particularly the aspects that lead to Denmark being the 'happiest' country in the world. The takeaways for me from that were; the importance of connection; of having hobbies and interests; of working with the weather rather than against it (snuggling down in winter rather than trying to continue a 'summer' lifestyle - count me in!!), the importance of trust, community responsibility, an

    I read this on a whim, and I'm really glad I did. I thought it was a fascinating look into Danish culture, and particularly the aspects that lead to Denmark being the 'happiest' country in the world. The takeaways for me from that were; the importance of connection; of having hobbies and interests; of working with the weather rather than against it (snuggling down in winter rather than trying to continue a 'summer' lifestyle - count me in!!), the importance of trust, community responsibility, and a social welfare system that protects its citizens, a work/life balance, and... pastries. I can't really get behind that last one, I'm not into sweet pastry.

    I think the attitude you approach the book with will ultimately dictate whether or not you enjoy it. If you open it with openness to learning about another culture and what they do that makes them happy then there is a lot to be learnt. If you approach it from a perspective of being critical and looking for the dark sides of Danish culture, then you're not t really open to what this book has to say.

  • Kaitlin
    Nov 05, 2016

    Another truly FABULOUS book. Slightly more whimsical and funny than a normal read for me and it genuinely made me really laugh out loud which *never* happens to me! I'm so glad I read this, and I will have more thoughts on this when I'm more awake! For now, solid 5* again... so good!!

    -------

    Full review:

    So this book is a non-fiction recounting of the year when Helen Russell and her husband (Lego Man) went on a life-changing adventure into the unknown wilds of Denmark. Russell has a way of writing

    Another truly FABULOUS book. Slightly more whimsical and funny than a normal read for me and it genuinely made me really laugh out loud which *never* happens to me! I'm so glad I read this, and I will have more thoughts on this when I'm more awake! For now, solid 5* again... so good!!

    -------

    Full review:

    So this book is a non-fiction recounting of the year when Helen Russell and her husband (Lego Man) went on a life-changing adventure into the unknown wilds of Denmark. Russell has a way of writing which both captures the mind and makes you hook into the story. It reads almost like fiction, but actually everything that Russell mentions is real and she's a journalist who has done a fair bit of research into everything....her main aim? To find out why the Danes are so happy in a grey country where there's a lot of cold and darkness...

    What I truly loved about this book was that there were moments where I truly laughed out loud and this very rarely happens for me when reading. Sometimes I read and smile or cry, depending on the book and how invested I am, but I think humour is a little more personal and sometimes humour just dons't come through to me. This book was constantly making me smile, but there was one particular moment (involving a lamp and birds in a bedroom) where I just burst out laughing (bear in mind it was 1am and I was staying up to finish this too). It's hilarious, witty, funny and enchanting, and that is the theme of the whole narrative.

    I just loved this, I wouldn't say it's made me want to move to Denmark, but I do wish I could experience Hygge, and I also think it sounds like a cool place to visit. Also, Legoland HQ sounds like such a fun place to work (according to Lego Man himself and the office antics). 5*s and a book I'd thoroughly recommend reading even if you have no interest in going to Denmark becuase it's a really fun book either way and is wonderfully told!