HAPPINESS by Heather  Harpham


The Crooked Little Road to Semi-Ever After
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Parenting a sick child takes a couple to the edge and back.

No one wants to hear that their child has a life-threatening illness which, if left unattended, could considerably shorten the child’s life. But if faced with such horrible news, one hopes to have the support and love of the other parent to help make decisions and get through the rough spots. In playwright Harpham’s emotion-packed memoir about her sick daughter, Gracie, she examines the conflicted feelings she had toward Brian, Gracie’s father, as the two navigated the complex world of a seriously ill child. Since Brian was not there for her during the pregnancy, the author wasn’t able to trust that he would continue to be there through the numerous blood transfusions that Gracie required. Readers see her open her heart and world to Brian only to clamp down when she gets nervous or scared, reacting perhaps to the semichaotic echoes of her own childhood that still tug on her emotionally. The author does justice to Brian’s love and affections, painting a well-rounded picture of a man who wants the best for his family as well as time and space for himself and his work as a writer. Throughout, Harpham provides detailed information about Gracie’s condition, which builds tension and anxiety as readers wonder if this little girl will ever get the medical treatment she needs to beat her disease. The author also discusses the other parents she befriended in the hospital, many of whose children also had serious illnesses. Although a personal story, Harpham’s memoir provides a larger, universal picture of unconditional love toward a child and the push-pull of an adult relationship and all its inherent highs and lows.

A frank and often affecting memoir from a mother determined to do whatever it takes for her child.

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 2017
ISBN: 978-1-250-13156-0
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Henry Holt
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1st, 2017


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