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Happiness: A Memoir: The Crooked Little Road to Semi-Ever After Hardcover – Deckle Edge, August 1, 2017
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"Happiness by Heather Harpham is a beautiful memoir that follows Heather’s story as she gives birth to a baby girl, Gracie, whose health―and life―are at stake. Heather reconnects with Gracie’s father as their daughter fights for her life, and the harrowing events that follow will have you up all night, reading to find out what happens next. There’s heartbreak, joy, and lots of love―I won’t give it away, but trust me: Have your tissues ready. I really loved this memoir, and I know you will too!” ―Reese Witherspoon
“An amazing story of love (almost) lost, then found.” ―People
"A heartfelt exploration of mortality and life, this memoir also explores the complex pulls and pushes of human relationships, and the deep debt we owe to family, friends, and modern medicine. At heart, it is a sobering mediation on the lasting impermanence of its titular emotion, happiness." ―NPR
"Harpham. . . .[brings] us along on her raw, real journey of healing―not just of her child but also of her marriage." ―Oprah.com, "5 Memoirs That Will Blow Your Mind"
"[Happiness is a] book about one of the healthiest romances I’ve ever seen committed to paper, about neighborly grace, about balancing one child’s needs against another’s. . . . Harpham’s memoir feel[s] not just moving but necessary...so perfect, so affirming, so buoyantly brave." ―The Millions
"Utterly gorgeous. . .heartbreaking. . . staggering. . . If you’re looking for a book to love, I recommend it. . . .[Happiness] is told in riveting, plot-twisting fashion. . . .But I’ll say that it’s also told with care and courage and humor, and it will deepen your understanding of not just life with a sick child, but life." ―Chicago Tribune
"Harpham's writing is tender and frank. . . .Happiness is a fast read, a compelling story about life and death, illness and health, and, above all, family." ―Minneapolis Star Tribune
"Absorbing. . . .A beautifully-written, insightful tale." ―Good Housekeeping, "The 21 Best new Books for Summer 2017"
"Harpham is a heroine for our times...captivating." ―The Los Angeles Review of Books
"Heather Harpham's moving memoir, [Happiness] is a page-turner." ―Redbook
"Happiness is an incredibly moving account of survival and love that will inspire readers to hold on tight to what’s truly important." ―Booklist
"[Happiness] is filled with both pain and beauty, and [Harpham] shares a clear-eyed view of messy relationships and the journey toward something resembles joy...[A] powerful memoir." ―BookPage
"In this moving memoir. . . [Harpham] describes with warmth, fearless honesty, and humor the harrowing saga of what happened after she gave birth...Harpham has written a heartfelt exploration of familial bonds and the sometimes incredibly bumpy journey one must take to get to contentment." ―Publishers Weekly
"Recently, memoirs by such dazzling writers as Ann Patchett and Dani Shapiro have explored and illuminated happiness: what it means, how we find it, and how hard won it can sometimes be. Now add Heather Harpham and Happiness: The Crooked Little Road to Semi-Ever After to this stellar company. With intelligence and lyricism and compassion, Harpham gives us her story of the rocky road that sometimes leads right where you want it to." ―Ann Hood, bestselling author of The Knitting Circle, The Red Thread, and Comfort: A Journey Through Grief
"At first glance, Happiness is a wry, honest, captivating story about parenting a sick child and that would be enough. But it turns out that Harpham is up to something even more interesting here, exploring the complexities of love. Told with abundant charm and insight, this book is a beautifully drawn portrait of one family―its comforts, disappointments and, on the very best days, moments of grace.” ―Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney, bestselling author of The Nest
"An extraordinary and bewitching book, Happiness has staked a claim among the most beautiful and moving portraits of parenthood and partnership." ―Susan Cheever, bestselling author of Treetops: A Memoir, and Home Before Dark
About the Author
Heather Harpham has written six solo plays, including Happiness and BURNING which toured nationally. Her fiction, essays and reviews have appeared in MORE Magazine and Water~Stone Review. Harpham is the recipient of the Brenda Ueland Prose Prize, a Marin Arts Council Independent Artist Grant and a grant from the Barbara Deming Memorial Fund. She teaches at Sarah Lawrence College and SUNY Purchase and lives along the Hudson River with her family.
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Perfectly written. I am sharing with my fellow mom's
Diagnosed soon after birth with some form of a blood disorder (the exact diagnosis never comes), Gracie must receive blood transfusions periodically and may face a lifetime (shortened most likely) of them unless they can find a donor for a stem cell transplant.
As they grapple with decisions about Gracie's health my "like" for this memoir turned to "love." I might not have picked this book up had I known it was a book about a child's serious illness. Harpham's language and emotions are ones I know well from my past, as my own daughter fought cancer at the same age as Harpham's daughter underwent a transplant. As tough as this was to read because I revisited some things I haven't had to think about in a very long time, I also appreciated how aptly Harpham put to words the thoughts and feelings I had at that time.
This is a beautiful memoir for anyone who loves to read this genre, but it is also a good reminder of what in life matters most.