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The Far End of Happy by Kathryn Craft
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The Far End of Happy

by Kathryn Craft

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Showing 1-5 of 10 (next | show all)
As a blogger, I tend to read more indie published books... I do so for so many different reasons. When books like this come my way, I snatch up the opportunity. Traditionally published books tend to get overlooked more and more these days. I am not sure why. Maybe it's their cost? Maybe it's the advertising? Whatever the case may be, we need to not forget that gems like these need to be read too.

How do you describe something so profound? This book is a true work of literary fiction. So raw, so real. This story is one that will have you sobbing and clutching your heart.

I can't figure out where to start or where to go with this review. This book is so profound, so heartbreaking. It's almost hard to put my feelings for it into words. I find myself just wanting to tell you to read this book. If you are looking for something deep, personal, raw, captivating, then this is a book for you. It's so surreal that it seems as if it's a biography instead of a work of fiction.

The twelve hour journey between Jeff's wife, her mother and Jeff's mother gives you not just insight to the situation at hand, but also the insight to what has lead to this moment over time. You get so much of who these characters were and are, you will find yourself asking why hadn't anyone seen this coming? The self-denial and self-blame in the story alone will have your mind racing and your heart pounding.

Every family has secrets. There are those things that no one discusses. Whether they just choose to ignore what's right in front of them, or they are ashamed and want things hidden, it doesn't matter. There are always secrets that will come to the surface when it's too late. That is exactly what happens in this story.

Jeff is holed up in his store's office. Shotgun in hand, ready to end his life. End his suffering. His mental-illness has gotten to the point where he can't think clearly and wants to suffer no more. Had this always been an issue with him? Had his entire life lead up to this standoff? Or was it his drinking?

Jeff's mother wants to believe that her son is perfectly normal. He is where he is because of his nagging wife. She is set on the wife causing their problems. The blame is to be left to his wife.

Jeff's wife has tried so hard to get him the help he needed. His refusal and denial of his problems has lead him to his current situation. She wants to feel empathy for him. How can she? She has done everything in her power to try to save him from himself. Her love for him seems to have been buried deep inside of her with no hope of surfacing, even in this tragic time.

Jeff's mother-in-law can't seem to wrap her head around the situation. She is caught in the middle. Jeff's mother has been her best friend for decades. But shouldn't loyalties lie with your blood? Her daughter? She tries to remain the rock for these women all the while play peace keeper. She knew her son-in-law had some issues. She hadn't realized just how bad they were. Her denial of her own past and the now have now intertwined into one big mess. A mess that could be life-altering.

This book isn't just about mental-illness and alcoholism. It's also about self-discovery and retribution. This book shows that denial and secrets can rip a family apart. It's also about healing and finding strength in family. ( )
  AmberGoleb | Mar 13, 2018 |
Far End of Happy by Kathryn Craft


The story begins the morning Jeff has argued to move out of his house. He’s been drinking and his soon to be ex-wife, Ronnie, has asked him to leave. This begins a stalemate between Jeff and the local police. Ronnie and the boys are taken away from the family farm while the police try to coax Jeff to leave their small farm store. When the boys are safely at a friend’s house, Ronnie, her mother, and her mother in-law continue to wait and try to make sense of Jeff’s position and their own lives.

This isn’t a non-fiction work, but it reads almost like one. As each of the three women tell their points of view, the pieces of Jeff’s life become clearer. He loves his wife, his boys, and his mother, but is that enough to lure him back into the reality that has been clouded from years of isolation and drinking?

It was an emotional book to read. Each hour pulls the three women apart, together, and apart again. The work focuses not on an alcoholic and his decisions, but on how those decisions affect those who love him. The story reminds me of words spoken at my father in law’s funeral. “We couldn’t ask him enough, fuss at him enough, or love him enough to bring him back to us.”

I received this ARC from Net Gallery in exchange for an honest review.
( )
  laura.w.douglas | Mar 9, 2017 |
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. ( )
  Maureen_McCombs | Aug 19, 2016 |
I thought that this book was very interesting. I like how the author moved from present to past with Ronnie remembering all of the things that had gone wrong between her and Jeff. The story felt so real, almost like I was there experiencing everything first hand. What a terrifying situation. And after I finished the book I found out that the author had based this book off her own personal experience with her first husband's suicide, it made it all the more real. I would recommend this book to anyone who is into very dramatic, fast paced real life issues. ( )
  pennma05 | Jul 21, 2016 |
The Far End of Happy by Kathryn Craft is a very highly recommended novel about a suicide standoff and a woman trying to come up with the inner strength to make it through the horrific day.

As she is mentally preparing herself for the day, Ronnie (Veronica) Farnham contemplates, "How many months had it been since she’d been able to relax in her own home?" Today her husband, Jeff, is supposed to move out of their farmhouse in Bartlesville, located in rural eastern Pennsylvania. Their marriage has been struggling for years, but with Jeff's increased drinking and out -of-control spending, which has led to huge credit card debt, Ronnie knows it is time to leave and try to make a future for her and her two boys.

A day that is already guaranteed to be stressful turns into a nightmare when a drunken Jeff pulls his car up to the front of the house. He has had way-to-much to drink, has a hose hanging from his exhaust pipe, a shotgun in the front seat, and is threatening to commit suicide. Ronnie and the boys manage to get the car keys and call 911, but when a crazed Jeff chases them into the house they are afraid. The police arrive but Jeff has taken off, holing up in the office of their farm store, New Hope Farms, with his gun.

The police manage to get Ronnie and the boys out of the house and off the farm. Ronnie's mother, Beverly, and Jeff's mother, Janet, meet them at the local firefighter's hall while the police have the road to the farm and the area locked down and under surveillance. The 12 hour standoff has begun. Ronnie manages to get the boys to a friend's house for the day, but she is stuck waiting, with her mother and mother-in-law. The story is told through Ronnie, Beverly, and Janet. Ronnie discovers that there are more family secrets than she thought, as the truth is slowly revealed during the tension packed standoff. We also learn more about the families and the history of each character as each woman reflects on her life.

Even as I felt the tension ratchet up during the twelve hour standoff, I also could see the personal reflection from each character as they wondered if they had a role in the day's tragic events. Could the marriage have been saved? Did any one action push Jeff over the edge? At the same time secrets are revealed that might have been helpful if they were made known, if risk factors were discussed. There are a wide range of emotions and questions that would plague anyone in this situation. Craft also realistically includes the ever-present media and their following of the "story."

I was totally engrossed in this well written, engaging story from start to finish and only learned afterwards that it was based on a personal experience by Kathryn Craft. That would explain her uncanny ability to capture the genuine, raw emotions of each character and honestly confront the effects depression, alcoholism, and suicide can have on a family.

Disclosure: My Kindle edition was courtesy of Sourcebooks via Netgalley for review purposes. ( )
  SheTreadsSoftly | Mar 21, 2016 |
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To my sons, Jackson and Marty
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The pages felt thick with life as they flipped through her fingers.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 149260495X, Paperback)

Ronnie's husband is supposed to move out today. But when Jeff pulls into the driveway drunk, with a shotgun in the front seat, she realizes nothing about the day will go as planned.

The next few hours spiral down in a flash, unlike the slow disintegration of their marriage-and whatever part of that painful unraveling is Ronnie's fault, not much else matters now but these moments. Her family's lives depend on the choices she will make-but is what's best for her best for everyone?

Based on a real event from the author's life, The Far End of Happy is a chilling story of one troubled man, the family that loves him, and the suicide standoff that will change all of them forever.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 23 Mar 2015 10:48:13 -0400)

"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 massive police presence arrives to control the 12-hour stand-off, the women in Jeff's life are pushed to their breaking points"--Provided by publisher.… (more)

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