The Year of Living Danishly: Uncovering the Secrets of the World’s Happiest Country by Helen Russell

The Year of Living Danishly: Uncovering the Secrets of the World’s Happiest Country by Helen Russell
Publisher: Icon Books Ltd.
Genre: Travel, Non-fiction, Contemporary
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Lavender

Given the opportunity of a new life in rural Jutland, Helen Russell discovered a startling statistic: Denmark, land of
long dark winters, cured herring, Lego and pastries, was the happiest place on earth.

Keen to know their secrets, Helen gave herself a year to uncover the formula for Danish happiness.

From childcare, education, food and interior design to SAD and taxes, The Year of Living Danishly records a funny,
poignant journey, showing us what the Danes get right, what they get wrong, and how we might all live a little more Danishly ourselves.

In this new edition, six years on Helen reveals how her life and family have changed, and explores how Denmark, too – or
her understanding of it – has shifted. It’s a messy and flawed place, she concludes – but can still be a model for a better way of living.

Helen and her husband are a hard-working British couple who get an exciting opportunity. Helen’s husband is offered a job to work for the Lego company in Denmark. As humor underlies Helen’s story of this time, she refers to her husband as Lego Man throughout the book. Other people receive this same type of honor: Friendly Neighbor, Bearded Man etc.

Helen and Lego Man set off, not for the busy capital, but for a rather isolated part of the country, but they do visit the big city. Helen regales her readers with anecdotes of daily living, sometimes comparing it to life in her homeland of England. She tells readers of the culture, food, politics, values, and even the weather of her new temporary home.

Readers are sure to be drawn in by a tale of nonfiction that comes across in a fun way. So many interesting tidbits are described as Helen and her husband make the adjustment and learn their new expectations.

As the author and Lego Man are expecting a child, readers get to hear about how the state treats new parents. Facts unroll in this adventure and offer many things to think about.

This is a great book to learn about another culture while being entertained. Hopefully this author will write more such books.