Happiness: A Memoir: The Crooked Little Road to Semi-Ever After

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19
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Reese’s Book Club x Hello Sunshine’s April 2018 book pick

A shirt-grabbing, page-turning love story that follows a one-of-a-kind family through twists of fate that require nearly unimaginable choices.

Happiness begins with a charming courtship between hopelessly attracted opposites: Heather, a world-roaming California girl, and Brian, an intellectual, homebody writer, kind and slyly funny, but loath to leave his Upper West Side studio. Their magical interlude ends, full stop, when Heather becomes pregnant—Brian is sure he loves her, only he doesn't want kids. Heather returns to California to deliver their daughter alone, buoyed by family and friends. Mere hours after Gracie's arrival, Heather's bliss is interrupted when a nurse wakes her, "Get dressed, your baby is in trouble."

This is not how Heather had imagined new motherhood – alone, heartsick, an unexpectedly solo caretaker of a baby who smelled "like sliced apples and salted pretzels" but might be perilously ill. Brian reappears as Gracie's condition grows dire; together Heather and Brian have to decide what they are willing to risk to ensure their girl sees adulthood.

The grace and humor that ripple through Harpham's writing transform the dross of heartbreak and parental fears into a clear-eyed, warm-hearted view of the world. Profoundly moving and subtly written, Happiness radiates in many directions--new, romantic love; gratitude for a beautiful, inscrutable world; deep, abiding friendship; the passion a parent has for a child; and the many unlikely ways to build a family. Ultimately it's a story about love and happiness, in their many crooked configurations.

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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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4.5
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Additional Information

Publisher
Henry Holt and Company
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Published on
Aug 1, 2017
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Pages
320
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ISBN
9781250131577
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / Personal Memoirs
Biography & Autobiography / Women
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Read Aloud
Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • An unforgettable memoir about a young girl who, kept out of school, leaves her survivalist family and goes on to earn a PhD from Cambridge University

Book Club Pick for Now Read This, from PBS NewsHour and The New York Times

“A coming-of-age memoir reminiscent of The Glass Castle.”—O: The Oprah Magazine

“Tara Westover is living proof that some people are flat-out, boots-always-laced-up indomitable.”—USA Today

“The extremity of Westover’s upbringing emerges gradually through her telling, which only makes the telling more alluring and harrowing.”—The New York Times Book Review

Tara Westover was seventeen the first time she set foot in a classroom. Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, she prepared for the end of the world by stockpiling home-canned peaches and sleeping with her “head-for-the-hills” bag. In the summer she stewed herbs for her mother, a midwife and healer, and in the winter she salvaged metal in her father’s junkyard.

Her father distrusted the medical establishment, so Tara never saw a doctor or nurse. Gashes and concussions, even burns from explosions, were all treated at home with herbalism. The family was so isolated from mainstream society that there was no one to ensure the children received an education, and no one to intervene when an older brother became violent.

When another brother got himself into college and came back with news of the world beyond the mountain, Tara decided to try a new kind of life. She taught herself enough mathematics, grammar, and science to take the ACT and was admitted to Brigham Young University. There, she studied psychology, politics, philosophy, and history, learning for the first time about pivotal world events like the Holocaust and the Civil Rights Movement. Her quest for knowledge transformed her, taking her over oceans and across continents, to Harvard and to Cambridge University. Only then would she wonder if she’d traveled too far, if there was still a way home.

Educated is an account of the struggle for self-invention. It is a tale of fierce family loyalty, and of the grief that comes from severing one’s closest ties. With the acute insight that distinguishes all great writers, Westover has crafted a universal coming-of-age story that gets to the heart of what an education is and what it offers: the perspective to see one’s life through new eyes, and the will to change it.
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

Nominated for the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work

Named a Best Book of the Year by The Root

Chosen by Emma Straub as a Best New Celebrity Memoir

“A book of essays as raw and honest as anyone has ever produced.” — Lena Dunham, Lenny Letter

In the spirit of Amy Poehler’s Yes Please, Lena Dunham’s Not That Kind of Girl, and Roxane Gay's Bad Feminist, a powerful collection of essays about gender, sexuality, race, beauty, Hollywood, and what it means to be a modern woman.

One month before the release of the highly anticipated film The Birth of a Nation, actress Gabrielle Union shook the world with a vulnerable and impassioned editorial in which she urged our society to have compassion for victims of sexual violence. In the wake of rape allegations made against director and actor Nate Parker, Union—a forty-four-year-old actress who launched her career with roles in iconic ’90s movies—instantly became the insightful, outspoken actress that Hollywood has been desperately awaiting. With honesty and heartbreaking wisdom, she revealed her own trauma as a victim of sexual assault: "It is for you that I am speaking. This is real. We are real."

In this moving collection of thought provoking essays infused with her unique wisdom and deep humor, Union uses that same fearlessness to tell astonishingly personal and true stories about power, color, gender, feminism, and fame. Union tackles a range of experiences, including bullying, beauty standards, and competition between women in Hollywood, growing up in white California suburbia and then spending summers with her black relatives in Nebraska, coping with crushes, puberty, and the divorce of her parents. Genuine and perceptive, Union bravely lays herself bare, uncovering a complex and courageous life of self-doubt and self-discovery with incredible poise and brutal honesty. Throughout, she compels us to be ethical and empathetic, and reminds us of the importance of confidence, self-awareness, and the power of sharing truth, laughter, and support.

Where do you turn for hope when you already have the answer--but the answer isn't working?

As a long-time Christian, Heather Kopp never expected to become an out-of-control alcoholic who kept private stashes of booze all over the place--tucked behind books in her study, zipped into a special compartment in her oversized purse, at the back of her closet stuffed inside her boots.

Even as her career and marriage teetered on the brink, Kopp couldn't get a grip, desperately hiding the true extent of her drinking from the rest of the world--her husband included. During the day she wrote books about God and prayer and family. At night she'd locked herself in her bathroom to guzzle chardonnay.

For her, as for many Christians who struggle with addiction, overwhelming shame and confusion only made things worse. Why wasn't her faith enough to save her? Why didn't repentance, Bible reading and prayer work? Where was God?

Meanwhile, as she watched in horror, her grown son descended into his own nightmare of drugs and alcohol. She feared for his life, yet she couldn't stop drinking long enough to help him--or find a way out for herself.

Until the day everything changed.

Engaging, funny and bracingly honest, Kopp shares her remarkable journey into darkness...and back to the light again. Her story reveals the unique challenges and spiritual conundrums Christians face when they become ensnared in an addiction, and the redemption that's possible when we finally reach the end of ourselves.

If you love Jesus but shop too much, drink too much, eat too much, crush on men who aren't your husband, or otherwise fixate on doing things you hate but can't stop doing, SOBER MERCIES is for you.

As you follow Kopp's sincere, stumbling journey toward freedom and a deeply satisfying relationship with God, you'll find renewed hope--and practical steps of recovery--for your own journey.



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