Not a perfect book by any means, but a very good one. It has an understated power that creeps up on you. I recommend it highly. I'm deliberately stingy with my five-star ratings, but I did consider it here. Which probably translates to 4....more
Rather, I'd say this book is astonishingly hopeful. Our main character has overcome a great deal of adversity, and managed to make a life for himself despite an injury that has left him unab...more
Wow. It is such a great story written in such an easy, down to earth, everyman (but not, as youll soon see) tone....
The main character had severe head trama in the war at a young age, came home, had surgery, but lost the ability to speak, and write and sometimes has trouble reading. He is normal in every other sense of the word. Holds down a job, has a few close friends, manages to get by on his...more
Smooth and full of life, this novel is a delightfully satisfying, believable and well written work of art that reminds me of Lori Lansens' writing. The characters are flawed and quirky, but are so well developed and evolving that they are likeable despite their failings.
I would not have chosen this book by the title itself or the back cover summary, so I was glad to have come upon this book on a...more
Howard is asked by his ex-girlfriend to care for her 9-year-old son while she is in rehab. Predictably, the veteran and the boy form a bond. It is not all sweetness. T...more
Warning: Some spoilers below...
The Ha Ha is an excellent novel about a Viet Nam vet with a severe brain injury, leaving him unable to speak. Thirty years after returning from Viet Nam, Howard Kapostash suddenly finds himself taking care of 9-year-old Ryan, whose mother Sylvia (Howard’s high school girlfriend) is in rehab for a cocaine addiction. Howard is middle-aged. His parents are dead. He lives in the house he grew up in with a detached group of boarders. Laurel, the...more
The book is about his healing, and his struggles to communicate his love to the boy without words. It's so moving to see how the two of them connect, without the man being able to verbalize his love. It also shows h...more
King's first novel could have overflowed into mawkishness, but it didn't. Ha-Ha, which centers on the relationship between Ryan and Howard and the stripping away of their defenses, rings true to life without emotional manipulation. The writing is excellent, and King creates tender, complex characters on different paths to recovery. Howard, despite his disability, has an irresistible "voice"__he's honest, cynical, but optimistic ("Deep down," he narrates, "I'm an optimist. It's my most depressing...more
I found it interesting to read a book from the point of view of a character who cannot communicate with others via speech or writing and who has isolated him...more
From Howard's situation of being appointed caretaker of a 9-year-old boy, the reader sees Howard's life transform from almost robot-like with only token interaction with others, to one of depth and rich relationships.
And maybe Howard wasn't ready to feel so "human", as he u...more
Fantastic book. Howard came back from Vietnam after only 16 days with a crushed skull and brain damage. He can't speak, can't read, but he can think perfectly fine although most people don't know it. An old girlfriend asks him to watch her son while she goes...more
The thing that really struck me the most was the depth of emotion that he showed in the main character. It made me really think about and consider what it would be like to have the ability to speak and then lose it suddenly. How frustrating!
The first 200 pages of this book had me reading quickly and wanting to s...more
and film from Cooper Union and an MFA in writing from Columbia University. King's debut novel, The Ha-Ha, was named one of the best books of 2005 by The Christian Science Monitor and The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and was among eighteen books included on The Washington Post list of the season's best novels. The Ha-Ha was a finalist for Book-of-the-Month Club's "Best...more