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The Far End of Happy

3.63  ·  Rating details ·  1,416 ratings  ·  263 reviews
Twelve tense hours, three women, and the suicide standoff that turns one family's little piece of heaven into a scene from hell

After enduring years of a struggling marriage, Ronnie Farnham has decided to divorce her husband and is beginning to hope for a happy future--until the morning Jeff is supposed to move out, when he locks himself in their barn with a rifle.

When a
Paperback, 351 pages
Published May 5th 2015 by Sourcebooks Landmark
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Average rating 3.63  · 
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 ·  1,416 ratings  ·  263 reviews

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Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at:

“You cannot force a man to drink something life-sustaining if he thirsts for something different. Can’t force him to stay afloat if he won’t swim.”

Confession time – I requested this book because it had a good title and a pretty cover. Yep, that’s how shallow I am sometimes. Worked out okay for me in this case too so I’ll probably continue choosing my books in this manner.

Now to get serious – on the morning Ronnie’s husband is
Elyse  Walters
Mar 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
4.9 rating

I had just purchased "The Art of Falling", Kathryn Craft's debut novel, a week prior before the discovery of "The Far End of Happy", on Netgalley.
Excited to read a new author whom I've heard great things about --I now have the pleasure to read her other book, "The Art of Falling", sitting right next to me!

The strengths about "The Far End of Happy" out *shine* any flaws. Other than I personally think the blurp tells readers more than they need to know, Kathryn Craft is a terrific
Mary Kubica
Dec 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Wow, wow, wow! An emotionally charged novel that simply left me breathless. I couldn't get enough of Kathryn Craft's THE FAR END OF HAPPY - be sure to look for it when it arrives in 2015. Destined to be one of my favorites of the year!
Apr 08, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley
Thank you to the publisher and to Netgalley for an opportunity to read an advance copy of The Far End of Happy. 2 stars. I feel like a cold hearted outlier on this book. I didn’t really enjoy reading it and I can’t quite figure out why. I am generally happy to read a good novel that makes me weep and that tugs hard at my emotions. But despite the subject matter and the fact that this was based on the author’s own experience 18 years ago, The Far End of Happy did not have that effect on me. The ...more
Gina Heron
Mar 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
So...I don't quite know where to start with this review: the brilliant, gorgeous writing, or the gut-punch of a story?

I read this knowing it was based on a real life experience, and it's one that hits close to home for me. The relationship between Ronnie and Jeff is heartbreaking and true and hard to witness at times. As the flashbacks take you through their history, you get the sinking feeling that it won't all work out in the end. But even when it doesn't, Kathryn manages to plant a seed of
Catherine McKenzie
Apr 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I was a lucky early reader of this book which I thoroughly enjoyed. At once both engaging, heartbreaking and full of suspense, I highly recommend it.
Judy Collins
A special thank you to Sourcebooks Landmark, NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. "A lovely front cover depicting the perfection and calm of the exterior, versus the turmoil inside".

THE FAR END OF HAPPY, a complex, intense, and powerful novel told over a twelve hour span; three women, a trouble man (a son, a father, a husband), secrets, a past, mounds of debt, shame, insecurity, responsibility, guilt, baggage brought into a marriage, a family history, a suicide standoff,
Laura Rash
Mar 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is an amazingly written book! Opening your life up to others by writing about a real life experience is bravery.
Dec 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Sometimes a book just resonates and this one does. It's probably the saddest book I ever read.
Dec 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: net-galley
PHEW! This is one hell of a powerful book with a message. Its a work of fiction but by God its near to truth.

People can say suicide is the easy route out. I disagree.

I have been involved with two suicides in my life. None of which I was aware of anything wrong. That's just the point! Depression is not someone going along with a long face, its not someone who is 'fed up' its not someone who stays in bed hiding under the duvet for a day or two. No, this is real serious in depth 'carry on an
Apr 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A true story of 12 hours in a nontypical day in the life of this author. It's very candid, eye opening , and shows great strength by the author. A woman whose husband had to have a say in everything she did. He kept making up all these projects they could do together just to keep her in his sights. An alcoholic who knew that he got better than he deserved.

I know that these hostage situations happen all the time, but when you hear about them, you don't really stop to think, what when on during
Sherri Thacker
Only got to 30% but I’m not connecting to any of these characters so I’m throwing in the towel
Mar 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
It goes without saying that if you are sensitive to the topic of suicide this might not be the book for you. It's based on true events from the author's past so the emotions are very real and will definitely stir up strong emotions. It is a story that brings to the surface the painful choices that have to be made when dealing with someone we love who is battling mental illness, depression and alcoholism. This is not an easy story to read and it is very bleak but also sends a powerful message. ...more
Jul 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc-or-galley
Read this during my three-week absence off the internet, but marking it for today since I can't remember the read date. I couldn't put this book down and found myself watching to see the unfolding events in the characters' lives. Review coming, I'll probably settle on 3.5 stars, but depends on how my reflections on this one lend.
Jessica Rinker
Jan 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
“I said it would be easier, not right. Sometimes we don’t get to do the easy thing. Sometimes life is tough.”

An understatement considering the topic of Craft’s newest novel, The Far End of Happy, about a suicide standoff that changes the landscape of a family forever. Based on the author’s first husband’s suicide, this novel is deftly crafted with tremendous character depth, details, and universal relationship truths that I connected with a great deal. The line I quoted above seems to reflect
Kate Moretti
Jan 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I was lucky enough to get an advanced copy of this book and blurb it!! Loved the writing, the story, the tension, the suspense and the emotional impact of this story.

Here is what I said:
Despite the known outcome, Kathryn Craft keeps the tension edge-of-your-seat suspenseful in The Far End of Happy, with deftly woven backstory and alternating present day hourly narrative. She creates a story that is unflinchingly honest and hard-hitting. A superb insider's look at the ripple effect of clinical
 Reading Divergence
Review: THE FAR END OF HAPPY by Kathryn Craft

If the reader doesn't come away from this novel soul-wrenched, tear ducts dried out from crying, mind full of the characters--well, that reader must have read with eyes, ears, and heart closed. THE FAR END OF HAPPY is an extraordinarily compelling book, founded in an extraordinary comprehension of human nature, addiction, denial---and love, familial bonds, and character strength and integrity. It will be without a doubt a BEST of 2015. I can't praise
May 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I'm still thinking about this book days after I finished it. Kathryn Craft's writing is achingly beautiful, and the story -- one based on events from the author's own life -- is powerful and haunting. The thing I loved most about it is the characters' stunning level of depth and complexity. This would make an excellent book club choice, as Craft doesn't shy away from shining a spotlight on tough questions and moral ambiguities. There's SO much to talk about here.
May 14, 2018 rated it did not like it
This was pretty repetitive and got really boring in the middle and even more so at the end. Not one of the characters was likable, and it just wrapped up at the end like, "hey, let's go get sandwiches!" Really? The writing was poor, dialogue was bloated, and the story too long.
Oct 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
It is going to be impossible for me to make it through this review without revealing to you that I know the author in real life, because that adds a whole layer of significance to my experience of reading this very intimate book. The Kathryn Craft I know is a warm, generous person who gives off that vibe of deep groundedness that belongs to those who've experienced true pain and come out on the other side of it. The Far End of Happy is a fictionalized account of the day that her husband ...more
May 10, 2015 rated it liked it
To say that this is an emotionally exhausting book is to well undersell its intensity.

Ronnie knows that Jeff wants to kill himself. He has made that patently clear, all the more so as the date for his removal from their farm house arrives. She wants a divorce; he does not. But Ronnie is unmoved, and a divorce will happen. She simply cannot live with him any longer.

Over the course of twelve hours, Kathryn Craft tells us what brought Ronnie and Jeff to this point, as well as what Jeff chooses to
Susan Becraft
May 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Beautifully written and courageous story by Kathryn Craft

So many important issues are addressed in The Far End of Happy, and an equal number of lessons should be learned. I call Kathryn Craft courageous because she bares her soul, warts and all, in a fictionalized account of a horrific tragedy that befell her.

After mustering her courage to finally leave her deeply troubled, alcoholic husband, Ronnie and their two young sons watch in horror as an inebriated Jeff attempts to start the car. One boy
Sherri F.
Although I'm already reading & listening to a couple other books right now, after meeting this author tonight at a Book Reading/Signing/Discussion event, I had to start reading this book tonight (debating between this book and her previous book "The Art of the Fall" which I also bought at the event). She's just a wonderful person and author. After sharing my struggle with suicidal thoughts, she came up and gave me a hug afterward and wrote a caring note in both my books.

What I've read so far
Elle Carter Neal
Apr 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Kathryn Craft has skilfully used fiction as a medium to explore deeper issues from several perspectives, creating a book that will resonate with a broader audience than a single viewpoint memoir would have done. Kathryn’s patience in waiting to write this story has paid off in producing a book that tackles a terrible topic without preaching, and delivering what hope there is to be found without compromising the tragedy.

I am an online friend and former colleague of Kathryn's and have followed her
Tasha Seegmiller
Dec 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: womens-fiction
Kathryn Craft is a brilliant storyteller.

The book starts by getting the reader attached to Ronnie, feeling that she is gearing up for a hard day and then raises the stakes to nearly breaking point. But then, through the 12 hour saga, and thanks to the three points of view we get to see, the tension ebbs and flows, good times and hard times blended together with pacing precision. And the voices of each character showed their strengths and weaknesses.

I was looking forward to this book. But even
May 31, 2016 rated it did not like it
I did not like this book at all. I didn't like any of the characters. I didn't like what happened in the book. I didn't learn anything from it. It made me sad. I don't know why I even read it.
Jul 29, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: family
I can see how people like this book. it's intense. good book about how 3 women deal and reflect during a standoff. I gave 3 star instead of 4 stars only cuz at times it was repetitive.
Dec 15, 2014 rated it did not like it
Bad. Really really bad. No structure. No plot. Undeveloped and unlikable characters. A lot of noise but no one said anything. Ugh.

ARC from publisher.
Aug 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
A heart wrenching story of love, family & loss.
Oct 26, 2015 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: I don't know
Recommended to mark by: rachel
What comes first, is it sex and attraction (of course) or depression, or alcoholism, or is something unseen and even more hidden – generational family secrets? A compulsion to repeat the past? Can anything be done? How do you help someone when they don’t want your help, or at least not the help you’re offering? These are questions nibbled at in Kathryn Craft’s fictional account of a real event in her life, written, I suspect, as she still tries to understand and cope with what happened. Briefly: ...more
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52 weeks, 52 books: Week 2015.15: The Far End of Happy 3 39 May 05, 2015 01:46PM  
VBT -13 May 2015 & Books Giveaway 1 5 May 01, 2015 10:42AM  

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My second published novel, The Far End of Happy, is the culmination of a 17-year calling to write about my first husband's suicide and the impact it had on our family and community, an event that seared itself so indelibly into our lives that I constrained the story to its 12 hours. I so appreciate its warm reception!

Despite this trial I live a joy-filled life. It has been my privilege to raise
“You’ll want answers, and there aren’t any. But the questions get easier to sit with, in time.” 1 likes
More quotes…