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Happiness: The Crooked Little Road to…

Happiness: The Crooked Little Road to Semi-Ever After

by Heather Harpham

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9921179,473 (4.38)2



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I cannot stress how important it is for you to read this wonderfully complex book. I am not a memoir reader, but I read every word. ( )
  Kikoa | Apr 23, 2018 |
I thought this memoir was good, not great, which is why I'm giving it a 3.5.

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 about the most frightening thing I can imagine a mother to have to go through. It puts me off wanting to have kids at all, knowing the terrible things they can be subjected to at no fault of your own. How can you keep a child safe in this world? How can you can protect them against something like bad blood? I can't fathom it. I have endless respect for the strength of the author and her children.

What kept me from really loving this story was the writing style; that is, not the story itself. Somehow, even though I don't doubt all of this to have been true and Ms. Harpham makes clear in the beginning that the story she tells is based off of her memory, which is not perfect, I just didn't really...believe all of it. Not the major parts, of course I believe that her daughter went through a nightmare that no child, or human, for that matter, should have to go through. It's just some of the things that were said.

You'll find this to be a pattern of mine.

I am very, very, very adamant that the language used is realistic. It makes my skin crawl and my eyes roll when authors use words or phrases that just aren't true to life, or true to the age of the character or person in the story. Just see my last review, I had a similar complaint. I'm very consistent in this manner.

All this being said, I felt that the author may have taken a few too many liberties with the profound, deep, thoughtful things her two children frequently said, both under the age of five. I am aware that children say the darndest things, that they can sound philosophical without meaning it, but just how often? How often until it no longer feels genuine and feels instead like a baby Gandhi or baby Mother Theresa is speaking? I'm not calling Ms. Harpham a liar, by no means. Memory can be a fickle thing. Her daughter is now in her teen years and Gracie was sick as a child, so certainly there are things and sayings and actions and phrases that slipped through the cracks and were forgotten over the many years. We remember things how we want to. We remember things how we need to. This is human nature. With that in mind, to me, Ms. Harpham made Gracie sounded like a mini-prophet, almost always. I didn't buy it. Too cheesy for me.

That was my biggest problem with it, and again, the author appropriately addresses the fact that she relies on her memory for this memoir and that memory is not infallible. So, fair play.

Thank you to the author and the publishers for the opportunity to read this book in advance. ( )
  tuf25995 | Jan 14, 2018 |
I won this ARC in a Goodreads giveaway ----- a memoir... Okay, I confess: It made me cry. ( )
  tenamouse67 | Jan 6, 2018 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I received an Advance Reader's Copy of this book.

This is a heart-wrenching memoir about the author's way through her pregnancy and then her daughter's illness - how she and the father coped through little Gracie's hospitalization. Heather Harpham's writing is tender and subtle, sentences that are composed of just the right words that bring images and emotions to mind. I loved reading this book. It is the love story of a mother and father, parent and child, sister and brother, and friends. This would make a great book club book. ( )
  ravensfan | Nov 4, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
When reality is replaced with the unimaginable, all bets are off. The laws of nature lose their certainty and become mere suggestions. Right and wrong are nowhere to be found and each decision is a game of Russian roulette with disaster. A shade of the surreal shrouds everything leaving even Kafka shaking his head. This is what occurs when a child, a new born no less, is deathly ill. Heather Harpham’s memoir, Happiness: The Crooked Little Road to Semi-Ever After relates her family’s experience in this universe when shortly after she is born, her daughter Gracie is discovered to have a life threatening blood disorder.

Having my emotional reins grabbed by a story is the first and best evidence of a well written story. Fear, anger, hope, joy, resignation, and humor are just some of the feelings through which Mr. Harpham steers the reader. But I believe this is the first experience I’ve had with a story creating transference, the projection of my emotions on other people or situations. I was a bit surprised when my inner hypocritical old lady Sunday School teacher showed up to give her pharisaic judgement on one and all.

This is in part because I have a daughter named Gracie of my very own, and because one of my children has faced scary medical uncertainty, but also due to the hormonal and intellectual changes that take place in the human mind when one becomes a grandparent. Parents are too immersed in the everyday newness that comes with raising children to have a true appreciation of how dangerous life can be. Grandparents have lost their protective vale and can look back to see all the peril and near doom they were blind to originally.

Ms. Harpham’s memoir is a story well told and one I hope you will take the time to read. However, even if you don’t read Happiness: The Crooked Little Road to Semi-Ever After I hope you will take the time to visit The National Marrow Donor’s webpage beamatch.org. There may be someone out there who will be very grateful you did. ( )
  lanewillson | Oct 14, 2017 |
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Harpham recounts her story of fear and ultimate gratitude when--while separated from her polar-opposite husband--she gives birth of a girl with a serious illness.

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