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Reviews

“A heartfelt exploration of mortality and life, this memoir also explores the complex pulls and pushes of human relationships, and the deep debt we owe to family, friends, and modern medicine. At heart, it is a sobering mediation on the lasting impermanence of its titular emotion, happiness.”  —NPR.org

100 Must Read Books about Happiness Book Riot

“[HAPPINESS] is filled with both pain and beauty, and [Harpham] shares a clear-eyed view of messy relationships and the journey toward something resembles joy…[A] powerful memoir.”BookPage

“Absorbing….A beautifully written, insightful tale.”Good Housekeeping

Heather Harpham’s moving memoir, [HAPPINESS] is a page-turner.” —Redbook

“HAPPINESS is an incredibly moving account of survival and love that will inspire readers to hold on tight to what’s truly important.” Booklist

“There are so many kinds of love stories, and Heather Harpham’s affecting new memoir, HAPPINESS, tells two: Her maternal love for her daughter born with a chronic, debilitating blood disease; and her romantic, scattershot, passionate love for the man who fathered the girl—but didn’t want to be a father…. Here, and at times achingly painful, ultimately feel-good book for those who cringe at mawkish sentimentality.”Elle, Best Books of 2017

“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 simi-ever after… Within the first few pages of HAPPINESS, Harpham immediately grabs for the heart, juxtaposing the roller-coaster reality of caring for a critically ill new born alongside her exhilarating, romantic courtship with Brian.”Shelf Awareness

“[Harpham] describes with warmth, fearless honesty, and humor the harrowing saga of what happened after she gave birth…[She] has written a heartfelt exploration of familial bonds and the sometimes incredibly bumpy journey one must take to get to contentment.” Publishers Weekly

HAPPINESS is a fast read, a compelling story about life and death, illness and health, and, above all, family.” —Star Tribune

“Recently, memoirs by such dazzling writers as Ann Patchett and Dani Shapiro have explored and illuminated happiness: what it means, how we find it, and how hard won it can sometimes be. Now add Heather Harpham and HAPPINESSThe Crooked Little Road to Semi-Ever After to this stellar company. With intelligence and lyricism and compassion, Harpham gives us her story of the rocky road that sometimes leads right where you want it to. “—Ann Hood, bestselling author of The Knitting Circle, The Red Thread, and Comfort: A Journey Through Grief

“At first glance, HAPPINESS is a wry, honest, captivating story about parenting a sick child and that would be enough. But it turns out that Harpham is up to something even more interesting here, exploring the complexities of love. Told with abundant charm and insight, this book is a beautifully drawn portrait of one familyits comforts, disappointments and, on the very best days, moments of grace.”—Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney, bestselling author of The Nest

“An extraordinary and bewitching book, HAPPINESS has staked a claim among the most beautiful and moving portraits of parenthood and partnership.”—Susan Cheever, bestselling author of Treetops: A Memoir, and Home before Dark

 


Reader Reviews from GoodReads

 

Reader Reviews from GoodreadsReader Reviews from Goodreads I just finished and almost feel a little speechless, in the very best way. A gripping, beautiful, emotional journey that will stick with you for a long time to come. Feeling very grateful this book came into my life. Bravo Heather Harpham, I can’t wait to read your next piece of work!-EKBWrites

This book has a heart as large as the sky. If you ever need to be reminded that people are essentially good, that there is nothing so strong as the mother-child bond, that poetry can be made from a simple scrap of an idea, then this is your book. -Alison Quigley

A heartwarming and heart-wrenching story of love and the twist and turns of life told with grace and humor. A book to be shared. -Barbara Langlois   What a great book by an awesomely talented writer. One of the most honest and best love stories I ever read. -Carol

After hearing an interview with the book’s author on NPR, I was really looking forward to reading this, and I was not disappointed. The story is beautiful and moving, simultaneously heartbreaking and heartwarming. I found the writing to be exquisite, and I was especially impressed by the author’s ability to portray the experience both through her own eyes and through those of her three-year-old daughter. -Alexa

I give this book five stars! I found the writing exceptional. The story flows beautifully and reads like a well-written novel. I was captured by the raw emotions Heather Harpham shared in this memoir.-Andra Pitaniello

Goodreads Giveaways, thank you for this lovely book. This memoir kept me turning pages far into the night to finish it – I simply couldn’t put it down, until I found out if Heather and her partner (now husband) could survive the distances between their hearts and minds, if their tiny and fragile daughter would survive the mysterious illness that threatened her life, if they would manage to find that elusive “happily ever after” that seemed to keep moving out in front of them…Gracie was an amazing child, wise beyond her tender years, little baby brother Gabe and his bee boots trailing along behind her. -Jodi

This book was such a surprise! I was intrigued by the preview that Audible offered and so I decided to give it a go. I didn’t expect it to be THIS good. An absolute page turner, especially for non-fiction. What a wonderful wonderful book! So glad I took a chance. -Sonata

I do not even know where to start. I usually do not read books where children might be harmed. I usually cannot get through them. When I was asked to read this story, I didn’t actually catch on it was about a child. I saw love story and the cover and thought, “ok, looks pretty good.” OH BOY!! What a ride!
The blurb of this memoir says it is a love story. I guess it kind of is. But to me, that is not where the focus lies. The focus is really about the challenges facing a family who has a sick child. I cannot fathom going through everything this mother and this whole family went through.
Heather is a new mother and apparently single, even though this was not what she intended. She finds herself in an impossible situation when something is terribly wrong with her newborn daughter. And like the title says…”The Crooked Little Road to Semi-Ever After” that is where the story leads. And, believe me, it is crooked!
This is a super good read and so well written. I really thought I was reading a fiction tale. It is engrossing is many places. When I had to actually put the book down because life happens, I found myself thinking about Gracie. It is a tear-jerker and heart wrenching in places, but it is ALL heart and soul!
Please do not fail to read this one! Excellent! -Reeca Elliott

With intelligence and lyricism and compassion, Harpham gives us her story of the rocky road that sometimes leads right where you want it to.-Saleh MoonWalker


I was skeptical going in to this, but she won me over with her writing. She has a knack for avoiding every cliche I was expecting her to fall into. It is impossible to write about love and having children and the possibility of losing children in a way that does not sound hallmark-y and overdone yet she manages to. I had a daughter that had to spend a lot of time in a hospital and had to undergo surgery and I can’t imagine writing about that time–the fear and exhaustion–but when she writes, I connected to her. This was a heartwarming book that is eminently relatable. How’s that for cliche? -Mehrsa

What a beautiful book this is………..heartbreaking, lovely, gripping. She’s a gifted writer, I marveled at her ability with words. I couldn’t put this down……..I didn’t know anything about this book or author beforehand, and I HAD to know what happened to Gracie. -Lisa

I loved this book. A memoir that reads like a novel, so well-structured and beautifully written. It reminded me of Girl in Glass by Deanna Fei. It’s rare to come across this kind of book. -Cari


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.
-Melissa

Heather Harpham has managed to weave a deftly-told memoir on both a cruel twist of genetic fate and the complexities of romantic love with wit and grace. Harpham, a performance artist, and Brian Morton, a successful novelist, are two opposites drawn to each other’s complimentary attributes. They are, in many ways, the epitome of an Austen-style coupling (he the hyper-intellectual, soft-spoken, orderly isolationist, she the exuberant, almost innocently life-loving, earthy social butterfly). -Erica-Lynn