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Catastrophic Happiness: Finding Joy in Childhood's Messy Years Paperback – May 2, 2017

4.4 out of 5 stars 48 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Praise for Catastrophic Happiness

"Ultimately the most fascinating character isn't her family, but Newman herself. This is because the book's force lies not in what it tells us about parenting, but in its sensitive portrayal of the blurring of self that happens after one has children. . . For Newman, this question of where she begins and ends is less of a riddle than a Buddhist koan. Wisely, she never tries to solve it. Her goal, in parenting and in writing, is only to figure out how to love from within it."Elissa Strauss, New York Times Book Review

"Part of what makes Ms. Newman so good is her butterfly prose, colorful and light on its feet; part of it is her marvelous ability to reassure. It's affirming for parents to see their lives reflected back at them, and in a theme-park fun house no less, with all of the dreary bits made stretchy and silly. I adore her sideways sense of humor."
Jennifer Senior, New York Times

"In writing that comes close to poetry, Newman really does manage to capture this bittersweet side of parenting, without overemphasizing either the bitter or the sweet. It's the two together that epitomize the job of raising and loving people who are destined to grow up and leave you, and her ability to see this that makes this book so uniquely good."
Malena Watrous, San Francisco Chronicle

"This is a book about mothers and children, or really, about how the job of mothering changes a woman, inevitably, irrevocably, and sometimes uncomfortably. Newman's self-awareness is what makes the book work; it's a portrait of striving toward a perfection that never existed, while loving the imperfection that surrounds us."
Kate Tuttle, Boston Globe

"Winsome and funny."
People Magazine

"An intimate account about the hectic joy of raising children and embracing the silver lining of all those inevitable hair-pulling-out mom moments."
Glamour.com

"Catastrophic Happiness celebrates the absurdly lovely mess of the parenting years."
More

"You know those taunting posts that promise to make you "feel all the feels" only to leave you annoyed and let down? This is not one of those times. Catherine Newman's new essay collection on raising her two kids will make you laugh, cry, worry with her, and wish that you could make even the messiest, hardest, most crazy-making days with your children last just a little bit longer."
FamilyFun

"Newman's stories are specific and funny, and she writes about the gamut of emotions we feel but can't always verbalize for ourselves. (She) takes her readers along for a fascinating, yet comfortingly familiar, ride of family life."
Kristen Kemp, Parents Magazine

"A series of essays, which masterfully combine story and reflection...Newman's observations run the gamut from deep and profound to hilarious and true. Newman has a true gift for making the reader feel intimately connected to her family. In Catastrophic Happiness Newman has trapped lightning in a jar, allowing us all to admire its dazzle. In her book's short, lovely pages she captures life as a mother, life as a human being, life in general, in all of its gorgeous, complicated grandeur."―Lindsey Mead, Brain, Child

About the Author

Catherine Newman is the author of the memoir Waiting For Birdy. She is the etiquette columnist for Real Simple magazine, a regular contributor to the New York Times Motherlode blog, and editor-in-chief of the James Beard Award winning kids cooking magazine ChopChop. She lives in Amherst, Massachusetts with her family.

Product details

  • Item Weight : 6.4 ounces
  • ISBN-10 : 031633748X
  • ISBN-13 : 978-0316337489
  • Paperback : 224 pages
  • Dimensions : 5.5 x 0.63 x 8.25 inches
  • Publisher : Back Bay Books; Reprint edition (May 2, 2017)
  • Language: : English
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.4 out of 5 stars 48 ratings

Customer reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5
48 global ratings
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Reviewed in the United States on August 23, 2018
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Reviewed in the United States on December 18, 2016
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Reviewed in the United States on April 30, 2016
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Top reviews from other countries

Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Was a bit unsure at first, but it's really a delightful read
Reviewed in Germany on June 10, 2016
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