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Happiness: The Crooked Little Road to Semi-Ever After

4.16  ·  Rating details ·  4,986 Ratings  ·  517 Reviews
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 st
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published August 1st 2017 by Henry Holt & Company
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Jul 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A powerful and heart wrenching story that touched my every emotion. Author Heather Harpham’s newborn Gracie was born with a life-threatening blood disease. This intelligently written memoir is frank, sad, uplifting and feels straight from the heart.

Heather and ex-boyfriend Brian are living on different coasts when she phones Brian to share the devastating news about baby Gracie. Brian admirably steps up to his responsibility and his steadfast dedication to Heather and Gracie is truly amazing. I
Tanja Berg
Apr 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
Shelves: non-fiction
"We understand that nothing given is permanent. Not wealth or well-being, not sweet dreams or morning coffee. Not a daughter or a son, a husband, lover, friend, mother. Anything, everything, is up for grabs, can fly back from whence it came."

I have made an active choice not to have children. I am long past changing my mind, and still this book nearly convinced me that I am missing out on something I might regret. This despite the fact that the story is about how the author had a very sick baby g
Evelina | AvalinahsBooks
★★★★✬ 4.5 stars
Happiness isn't a book about how you would actually attain happiness. It's not even about happiness, so much. In fact, if you started reading it, it probably wouldn't seem at all happy, at the start, at least. The funny thing about this book: you know it ends well. But while you're reading it, it shatters your heart.
But the thing is: ultimately, it teaches you to find happiness with what you're given. Cause it's just so easy to take it all for granted. Simply put, this book giv
Diane Yannick
Sep 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Thank you Heather Harpham for spending 5 years to get this book right. Tough to write but finely crafted throughout. I came close to carrying my Kindle into the shower because I was so absorbed in Gracie's journey. The humorous touches made it all bearable. Even

I rooted for Brian throughout. Although he wasn't there in the beginning, once he committed he never wavered. For not wanting to be a Daddy, he had some mad skills. Heather put her own shortcomings on full display. She was totally enmeshe
Tonstant Weader
Jul 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Happiness: A Memoir‘s has the most delicious subtitle. It’s “The Crooked Little Road to Semi-Ever After Happiness.” That alone is a good reason to read the book. About fifteen years ago, Heather Harpham was madly in love with Brian Morton. They were opposites in many ways: he was the planner to her spontaneous free spirit; he was rigid and ritualized while she was mercurial and chaotic; a writer, he lived the life of the mind while a dance, she lived the life of the body. More importantly, she w ...more
Mar 03, 2018 rated it it was ok
I always say that it's hard to write a very good short story or a memoir that draws you in. Unfortunately I was not engaged at all while reading this. Instead I found myself getting bored and just rushing through chapters. Harpham's memoir doesn't cause me to feel a thing which is weird considering the subject matter (her newborn daughter is born with a fatal disease) but maybe that is due to her obsessing over the relationship with her ex, then boyfriend, and eventual husband.

I think the writin
May 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Losing a child makes time reverse direction, flow backward. To survive loss on that scale, I imagine you have to become someone you make up, whole cloth, to impersonate you, for the rest of your life.

At the beginning of 2018 I made a decision to read more memoirs, and I'm so very glad I decided to add this one to the list. As the author is a writer the story is beautifully written, but more than that she feels like one of those "open" people you meet every now and again. She shares her experienc
La La
I was really enjoying this story. The author's writing style was ideal for a memoir. It read like Literary Fiction and I loved that, but her entitled upper middle class clulelessness showed through too many times, and I found the last third of the story difficult to connect with; especially as a struggling single mother with a seriously ill child in previous years.

I was approved for an eARC, via Netgalley, in return for an honest review. I will not be reviewing this title on the blog because it
Linda Zagon
Jun 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing

I would like to thank Henry,Holt and Company, BookBrowse, And Heather Harpham for the Advanced Reading Edition of "Happiness The Crooked Little Road to Semi-Ever After" A Memoir by Heather Harpham for my honest review. The genres of this novel are Memoir and Non-fiction.

Kudos to Heather Harpham for retelling her story in such a captivating and intriguing way. The author does an amazing job in describing all the people in her life. It was refreshing to see the author's honesty. I feel that it was
Donna Merritt
Jul 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
As a parent, reading a true story about a child born seriously ill is not easy. I'm glad I read this one, though. It was honest, sad, even funny at times. It reveals how a terrifying experience like this affects the entire family, including the relationship and romance between the parents. I rooted for this family all the way through. You will, too.

Note: There were some inconsistencies and typos, but I received an advance reader's copy, so I trust the corrections were made before the first print
Saleh MoonWalker
Onvan : Happiness: The Crooked Little Road to Semi-Ever After - Nevisande : Heather Harpham - ISBN : 1250131561 - ISBN13 : 9781250131560 - Dar 320 Safhe - Saal e Chap : 2017
Mar 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
It's not often a book makes me cry but this one got me - multiple times.
Jan 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: giveaway
I thought this memoir was good, not great, which is why I'm giving it a 3.5 but rounding up to 4 stars on Goodreads.

What Heather Harpham went through with her daughter's health trauma is something I wouldn't wish upon anybody. How horrific to have to live years and years of surviving day by day, hoping and praying that this day is not your child's last. That she doesn't come upon some unseen germ that will end her life. Just the tiniest things could change the path of her life and that is just
Nov 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction, memoir
This is probably the best contemporary memoir I have ever read.

It is the story of Heather, an actor and playwright, her partner Brian, but most of all their children, Gracie and Gabe, and the life-or-death bone marrow transplant that Gracie needs to survive.

Gracie was born with a rare blood disorder, and while she could have survived several years with constant transfusions, the only lasting hope was a bone marrow transplant. When Gabe is born, his blood is a close match to hers, and he doesn't
May 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Thanks to the publisher, Henry Holt and Company, via LibraryThing, for an ARC of the memoir in exchange for my honest opinion.

I didn't know what to expect from this memoir. I got a wonderful surprise! It's both heartwarming and heart-wrenching to read the author's moving story starting with the birth of her daughter, Gracie. Heather Harpham writes so lyrically that I was fascinated throughout most of this memoir. Gracie was born with a rare blood disorder and Heather was devastated just like any
Jun 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoir
What a beautiful book! Heather Harpham's first child, Gracie, was born with a life-threatening blood disease. To keep her alive, every few weeks she must return to the hospital for a transfusion. It is so much a way of life for Gracie that she believes it is something that everyone has to do when they are young. But then they learn that a bone marrow transplant can rid her of the disease. The only problem is that the cure is also life-threatening. At its core, the story is about relationships an ...more
Lindsey Gandhi
Apr 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: rw-bookclub
3.5 rating.

This memoir is good. For me it wasn't great, but it was good and it will pull at your heart strings. I am rounding up my rating because of the sensitive matter she wrote about, and like I said the book was good (no fireworks or explosions going off...). I want to give the author a lot of credit for sharing her story. First and foremost it cannot be easy to have a child with a disease that may kill them, to watch your child be in pain or suffer and then let's peel this onion back one
Rhonda Lomazow
Jul 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A beautiful lovely memoir.Heather holds nothing back from her surprise pregnancy Her boyfriends decision not to be involved.The birth of her daughter who is born with a health problem. The return of the baby's dad the life they form the reality of the baby's more& more serious disease.An at times heart wrenching memoir you will never forget.Thanks to @henryholt for sending me an arc of this memoir.
Jodi Kauble
Aug 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I put off this book and only read it because it was picked for the Reece Witherspoon book club. But I have to say that it was fantastic.
Jun 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audio
3.5 stars

I ended up loving Harpham’s narration of the audio book even though her voice grated me at the beginning. It grew on me and gave her humour and sarcasm life.

Happiness, this book teaches us, is all about perspective and love. It deals with heartbreak and sick children, getting through life day by day and step by step, but always stopping to appreciate what you've got.
Barbara Bryan
Mar 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
This true story book was hard to put down. The story of Amelia Grace born with a blood disorder requiring frequent transfusions and possibly a bone marrow cure. The behind the scenes medical experience was sad and disturbing and fascinating at the same time. Did not enjoy the relationship flux of her parents as much as the hospital scenes.
Aug 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
A beautifully written memoir that, at its core, is a love story; a story that has humor and heartache, tragedies and triumphs, and abundant grace. It addresses the difficulty of maintaining a relationship when opinions differ on significant issues; the unimaginable stress of single parenting and having a seriously ill child; and of having to make life-or-death decisions regarding that child. If you think a book about a sick child will be depressing, please reconsider. I found this powerful accou ...more
Mary Lins
Aug 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: complete
I highly recommend "Happiness", a memoir by Heather Harpham. The writing is absolutely wonderful; when you say someone has "a way with words" or "can really turn a phrase" - that's Heather Harpham for sure; it's no surprise as she's also a playwright and performer.

"Happiness" recounts Harpham's experience as an unwed mother of a fragile infant with a rare blood disease, and the love story surrounding the family that she creates. I don't want to give anything away so that the reader can embark on
Jun 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a moving, literary memoir about love. The author (quite by accident?) becomes pregnant by her partner, a NY writer of fame. However, a baby doesn't fit into his life plan, especially when it's discovered that the baby has a life threatening illness. But love and sickness has a funny way of making oneself examine what we truly want, whether we know it or not. Eloquently written, and full of self examination that will encourage readers to look at their own choices. That she quotes Virginia ...more
Harpham's ability to capture an audience's emotions takes center stage as a memoirist. Her deeply personal yet witty narrative style makes the reader feel instantly connected, as if Harpham is a close friend traveling a familiar "crooked little road to semi-ever after." Hers is a journey evoking a spectrum of emotions: hope, sadness, anger and, yes, happiness.

My full review appears in this issue of Shelf Awareness:
Kate Olson
Sep 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely wonderful motherhood memoir of the experience of having a child with a potentially fatal illness - it broke my heart but ultimately put it back together again and was told with the perfect mix of analysis and account of events as they happened years earlier. I listened to this book from Audible and the narration at 1.25x speed was just perfect - I highly recommend experiencing this story via audio.
Sep 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
So I found LITERALLY NOTHING wrong with this gorgeous piece of literature. It was my very first GR Giveaway jewel, which only adds to my admiration, but also gives it a special place in my heart. The author herself reading the Audible audiobook is the cherry on top. Extremely well written, thought provoking story, this is 5 stars to say the least. Thanks a million, Heather Harpham!
Oct 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I love the way Heather wrote this book. The premise could be, and certainly is, a depressing topic, but she somehow made things seem real and possible and not totally tragic. She also has this way with words...
Sep 08, 2017 rated it liked it
The beginning of this book was just wonderful. I loved the author's recounting of her relationship with Brian. And the story of her daughter's illness was interesting. But I found myself skimming over page after page of countless medical procedures and cute things that Gracie said.
Mary Jo
Aug 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Loved reading this heart-warming, emotional memoir! I hated to put it down when it was time to sleep. The author drew me right onto the emotional roller-coaster that every parent with a sick child rides. One of the best written memoirs I've read.
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Reese's Book Club...: Question #1 6 354 Apr 26, 2018 09:56AM  
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Heather Harpham is an American writer and theater performer, born and raised in northern California, who lives and works in New York. Her fiction, essays and reviews have appeared in MORE Magazine, Water-Stone Review and the Gallatin Review. Her writing for the stage includes six solo plays; the two most recent, Happiness and BURNING, have been presented throughout the US. Harpham's work has been ...more
“We act out of a Molotov cocktail of conscuious and unconscious desires. And also, we just do stuff.” 3 likes
“everything. If you are lucky, you meet four or five people in a lifetime who you’re totally comfortable with. Comfortable in a way that causes your best self to surge forward. With them, rowing through life’s quotidian mess is an adventure. I thought of my mom and me, twenty years earlier, cracking up as the Corolla filled with water.” 3 likes
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