Mystic and the Secret of Happiness
ACAM Publishing (2017)
Reviewed by Leigh Kimberly Zoby for Reader Views (01/2023)
“Mystic and the Secret of Happiness” by Anne-Claire Szubaniska is the heartwarming tale of a cat that embarks on a journey of self-discovery in search of a lost friend and finds true happiness. Mystic, an ordinary house cat, befriends an elephant named Bumpa at the local zoo. Spending most nights talking as they star gaze. Mystic, and Bumpa become inseparable until one-day Bumpa is missing. Severely depressed and stricken with grief, Mystic makes it his sole purpose to discover what happened to his friend. With the help of Freedom, an enlightened wild cat, he learns to change his thoughts and find peace within himself.
“Mystic and the Secret of Happiness” is much more than a story about a cat looking for a lost friend. It is an enlightening look into how our minds work and how fear and doubt control progress. Anne-Claire Szubaniska masterfully disguises a self-help book as a tale about animal behavior. The adventures become life lessons on how thoughts can become self-sabotaging, and there is always a silver lining to every situation. During Mystic’s experience, he learns to trust his intuition, face his fears, and silence thoughts of doubt.
Ms. Szubaniska’s writing style is warm and inviting. The use of animals as mentors is brilliant. The lessons taught through the animal banters are genius. Freedom’s wisdom is full of kindness in a take-it-or-leave-it manner. The characters are each distinctive, possessing lessons to learn and teach. The scene settings build suspense making “Mystic and the Secret of Happiness” a page-turner. My favorite scene is when Freedom faces off with Trembly the hate-filled fear monger.
“Mystic and the Secret of Happiness” is exquisite, beautiful, emotional, thought-provoking, and perfect. A broad spectrum of readers would celebrate Mystic as he discovers the meaning of happiness. I believe it would do well with animal lovers, as a motivational self-help, or just a story with a happy ending. There were so many times I felt like cheering I lost count. The ending, all I can say is, grab some tissues. Not once, but two times I cried as I held this book close to my heart.
“Mystic and the Secret of Happiness” is a story I will cherish and recommend to everyone I know.