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The Far End of Happy by Kathryn Craft

The Far End of Happy

by Kathryn Craft

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7611246,337 (3.91)5
"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. Based on the author's harrowing personal story, The Far End of Happy is a powerful novel about the way one man's spiral towards life's violent conclusion tests the resolve, love, and hope of the women he will leave behind"--Publisher.… (more)



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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. Based on a real event for the author's life, it's a chilling and heartbreaking story. Craft is a great storyteller and this is one you won't forget any time soon. I'll have to check out some of her other stories. ( )
  EadieB | Oct 20, 2018 |
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 |
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To my sons, Jackson and Marty
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