But in the wake of loss, we get to assemble something new from whatever is left behind. Some circles call finding happiness after loss “Chapter 2”—the continuation of something else. Today, Nora is remarried and mothers four children aged 16 months to 16 years. While her new circumstances bring her extraordinary joy, they are also tinged with sadness over the loved ones she’s lost.
Life has made Nora a reluctant expert in hard conversations. On her wildly popular podcast, she talks about painful experiences we inevitably face, and exposes the absurdity of the question “how are you?” that people often ask when we’re coping with the aftermath of emotional catastrophe. She knows intimately that when your life falls apart, there’s a mad rush to be okay—to find a silver lining, to get to the happy ending. In this, her second memoir, Nora offers a tragicomic exploration of the tension between finding happiness and holding space for the unhappy experiences that have shaped us.
No Happy Endings is a book for people living life after life has fallen apart. It’s a book for people who know that they’re moving forward, not moving on. It’s a book for people who know life isn’t always happy, but it isn’t the end: there will be unimaginable joy and incomprehensible tragedy. As Nora reminds us, there will be no happy endings—but there will be new beginnings.
As the host of American Public Media’s Gracie Award winning podcast Terrible, Thanks for Asking, Nora McInerny brings empathy and wit to difficult subjects from gun control to sexual assault and the #MeToo movement. She is a contributor to Elle.com, Cosmopolitan.com, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Buzzfeed, Time.com, Slate, and Vox, where she’s often tapped for her essay pieces highlighting the emotional landscape and humor in complex topics, like the financial impacts of healthcare and grief in our digital age. She is the founder of the non-profit Still Kickin and the Hot Young Widows Club, an online group for people who have lost their significant other.
When award-winning ESPN producer Lisa Fenn returned to her hometown for a story about two wrestlers at one of Cleveland’s toughest public high schools, she had no idea that the trip would change her life. Both young men were disadvantaged students with significant physical disabilities. Dartanyon Crockett was legally blind as a result of Leber’s disease; Leroy Sutton lost both his legs at eleven, when he was run over by a train. Brought together by wrestling, they had developed a brother-like bond as they worked to overcome their disabilities.
After forming a profound connection with Dartanyon and Leroy, Fenn realized she couldn't just walk away when filming ended; these boys had had to overcome the odds too many times. Instead, Fenn dedicated herself to ensuring their success long after the reporting was finished and the story aired—and an unlikely family of three was formed.
The years ahead would be fraught with complex challenges, but Fenn stayed with the boys every step of the way—teaching them essential life skills, helping them heal old wounds and traumatic pasts, and providing the first steady and consistent support system they’d ever had.
This powerful memoir is one of love, hope, faith, and strength—a story about an unusual family and the courage to carry on, even in the most extraordinary circumstances.