Study Guide

Turtle in Paradise Happiness

By Jennifer L. Holm

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According to Pharrell, happiness is feeling like a room without a roof, but in Turtle in Paradise,Turtle's all about the roof over her head. We know money doesn't buy happiness, but in Turtle's mind, things would be a lot easier if she and her mom had a little cash for a place of their own.

To this end, though, Turtle doesn't recognize her happiness until she's moved on to the next house. So when she lives with her mom and is tormented by the rich kids, she thinks being the housekeeper's daughter is rough. But then, when she sees how bad her relatives have it in Key West, she reconsiders and thinks that life with her mom was pretty good. We're not sure if it's on Pharrell's radar, but sometimes, it just takes a little perspective to get happy.

Questions About Happiness

  1. When do you think Turtle is at her happiest? What makes her so happy at this point?
  2. Turtle's mom is happiest when she marries Archie. Why do you think this is? How does this compare to what Turtle says about her mom and love? 
  3. Who do you think is the happiest character in the book? Why?

Chew on This

Turtle's happiness is based on what she dreams of having, rather than what she already has. Most of the time, she's not happy until she's without something she already had.

Turtle's mom places all her happiness in the men she dates, which leaves her disappointed and confused most of the time.

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