Happiness The crooked little road to semi-ever after : a memoir

Heather Elise Harpham, 1967-

Book - 2017

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BIOGRAPHY/Harpham, Heather Elise
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New York : Henry Holt and Company 2017.
Main Author
Heather Elise Harpham, 1967- (author)
First edition
Physical Description
305 pages ; 25 cm
Contents unavailable.
Review by Booklist Review

Harpham's path to Happiness wasn't what she expected. A surprise pregnancy suddenly ends her long-term relationship and sends her reeling back home to be surrounded by family and friends. The birth of her daughter, Gracie, transforms Harpham, and she attempts to embrace a cozy, single-motherhood existence. But adversity continues, as Gracie is seriously ill, requiring blood transfusions and eventually a bone-marrow transplant. Harpham recounts this tumultuous journey with patience and charm: her reconciliation with Gracie's father, the birth of her son, moving cross-country, leaving and making friends, witnessing the deaths of other sick children, and watching her daughter suffer and survive. Through it all, Harpham's vibrant persona is clear, describing even the toughest moments with humor, detail, and grace. What begins as a tale of motherhood becomes so much more. Harpham's memoir artfully captures her relationships and the complexities of being wife, mother, daughter, and friend. Happiness is an incredibly moving account of survival and love that will inspire readers to hold on tight to what's truly important.--Norstedt, Melissa Copyright 2017 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

In her early 30s, Harpham, a writer and playwright, found herself unexpectedly pregnant by her boyfriend, Brian, a novelist and professor who was adamant about not wanting children. As Harpham relates in this moving memoir, she relocated from New York City to Marin County, Calif., to be closer to her family while trying to figure out ahead of her due date if she, her boyfriend, and the baby could be a family. Her story unfolds in the early 2000s and she describes with warmth, fearless honesty, and humor the harrowing saga of what happened after she gave birth. Her newborn, Gracie, had a blood disorder that required her to get transfusions every few weeks because her bone marrow couldn't make red blood cells; doctors told Harpham that without a marrow transplant, her daughter wouldn't live past age 30. While the frustration and fear surrounding Gracie's condition mounted, Brian slowly but steadily became more involved and kept visiting them in California. As Harpham wrestled with whether she still wanted him in her life, she found the patience to let him realize on his own that his feelings about fatherhood had changed. They resolved the questions in their relationship and then had to make the decision that had haunted them for more than a year: whether to risk Gracie's life by putting her through a transplant operation that didn't have guaranteed results. Harpham has written a heartfelt exploration of familial bonds and the sometimes incredibly bumpy journey one must take to get to contentment. (Aug.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by Kirkus Book Review

Parenting a sick child takes a couple to the edge and back.No one wants to hear that their child has a life-threatening illness which, if left unattended, could considerably shorten the child's life. But if faced with such horrible news, one hopes to have the support and love of the other parent to help make decisions and get through the rough spots. In playwright Harpham's emotion-packed memoir about her sick daughter, Gracie, she examines the conflicted feelings she had toward Brian, Gracie's father, as the two navigated the complex world of a seriously ill child. Since Brian was not there for her during the pregnancy, the author wasn't able to trust that he would continue to be there through the numerous blood transfusions that Gracie required. Readers see her open her heart and world to Brian only to clamp down when she gets nervous or scared, reacting perhaps to the semichaotic echoes of her own childhood that still tug on her emotionally. The author does justice to Brian's love and affections, painting a well-rounded picture of a man who wants the best for his family as well as time and space for himself and his work as a writer. Throughout, Harpham provides detailed information about Gracie's condition, which builds tension and anxiety as readers wonder if this little girl will ever get the medical treatment she needs to beat her disease. The author also discusses the other parents she befriended in the hospital, many of whose children also had serious illnesses. Although a personal story, Harpham's memoir provides a larger, universal picture of unconditional love toward a child and the push-pull of an adult relationship and all its inherent highs and lows. A frank and often affecting memoir from a mother determined to do whatever it takes for her child. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.