Reviewed by K.C. Finn:

 

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.

 


Reviewed by Lit Amri:

 

“If you practiced feeling joyful the way you practice finding excuses to not be happy, you would always feel amazing no matter what happened to you.”

Mystic and the Secret of Happiness by Anne-Claire Szubaniska starts with the introduction of a gray tabby cat named Mystic and his friendship with Bumpa, a free-spirited elephant. His daily routine includes visiting Bumpa at his enclosure at the park. One day, Bumpa is removed from the park, an event which devastates Mystic. The manner of Bumpa’s departure angers the cat, and he believes that Bumpa himself wanted to leave Mystic behind. Mystic's encounter with a mysterious black cat encourages him to reexamine his emotions and sends him on a journey that will change his life.

Through its animal characters, Mystic and the Secret of Happiness highlights the intricacy of our emotions, the affections and animosity that can be invoked in us. Having a great best friend and a loving human family doesn’t stop the sensitive Mystic from regret and sadness. The cat tends to overthink, and I’m sure we are all aware what overthinking can do to humans-it worsens anxiety, which then leads to depression.

 

This seemingly unassuming book provides great messages and a deeper understanding of our feelings, how essential they are to our well-being, how they shape our values and affect the way we go through life. Instead of letting inner happiness happen by chance, we can make it an intended choice.

Simply put, this is a wonderfully motivating, poignant, and commendable read from Anne-Claire Szubaniska for young and older readers.


Reviewed by Peggy Jo Wipf:

 

Anne-Claire Szubaniska uses a tabby cat, Mystic, to convey across to us the message she personally learned of inner joy. This emotional cat had learned that when he expressed sadness, he gained sympathy and compassion from others. He loved the attention so much he continued doing this, expecting others to share his emotional pain. This silly cat symbolizes behaviors people express when they feel they have been wronged and deserve attention for their suffering. They don't realize their behavior drains other people.

Mystic and the Secret to Happiness takes Mystic through the one-on-one training he gets from a stray black cat, Freedom, that wishes to help him overcome his victim mentality and achieve the true happiness that comes by choice, no matter the circumstances in his life.

Anne-Claire Szubaniska then backs up her teachings with people expressing the same unhappiness that Mystic was experiencing and the bitter results that come with this attitude.

I found Mystic and the Secret to Happiness not only entertaining, but very helpful in recognizing when people let their circumstances control their emotions. Anne-Claire Szubaniska shows how inner joy will draw others to you because of your happiness and sense of peace.

It appears that Anne-Claire could not have taught these truths without learning them for herself. The words of wisdom that came from the cat Freedom must have been learned firsthand. I did find it quite humorous when Mystic first started experiencing joyful intuition. I felt drawn to the author and the contagious joy that she spread to those around her, and consider my life and attitude more enriched because of this book.

I felt the main message of this book is that having inner peace and joy allows you a happiness that isn't dependent on anyone person or event.


Reviewed by Katherine Williams:

 

Mystic and the Secret of Happiness is an inspirational novel by Anne-Claire Szubaniska. Mystic the tabby cat and Bumpa the elephant are the best of friends. They visit each other every day in the park. One day, Mystic goes to see Bumpa as usual and discovers that Bumpa is missing. Mystic feels like he has lost all hope and decides to leave his home and loving family to find his best friend. He ends up going on a journey that changes his life. He meets another cat named Freedom who convinces him he doesn’t need Bumpa to be happy. Mystic ultimately discovers what it means to appreciate his life and learns how to create his own happiness.

Mystic and the Secret of Happiness is a beautiful novel that will remind you to love yourself for who you are.

Adults and children alike will appreciate the cute, funny and charming animal characters, and through them you discover the real themes of self identity, self esteem and joy. Each animal has their own distinct voice and I enjoyed getting to know each of them. Mystic is a character that you can easily empathize with, and throughout the book his pain was palpable.

Anne-Claire Szubaniska’s writing is simple; so simple that any person of any age could read this book. The pacing was not too fast nor too slow; it was just enough to get the important messages across. The plot is interesting, original and unexpectedly touching.

I recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a cute and uplifting read. This book teaches you that the only way you’ll attain happiness is to find it within yourself.