"An extraordinary and bewitching book, Happiness has staked a claim among the most beautiful and moving portraits of parenthood and partnership." ―Susan Cheever
Happiness begins with a charming courtship between hopelessly attracted opposites: Heather, a world-roaming California girl, and Brian, an intellectual, homebody writer, kind and slyly funny, but loath to leave his Upper West Side studio. Their magical interlude ends, full stop, when Heather becomes pregnant―Brian is sure he loves her, only he doesn't want kids. Heather returns to California to deliver their daughter alone, buoyed by family and friends. Mere hours after Gracie's arrival, Heather's bliss is interrupted when a nurse wakes her, "Get dressed, your baby is in trouble."
This is not how Heather had imagined new motherhood – alone, heartsick, an unexpectedly solo caretaker of a baby who smelled "like sliced apples and salted pretzels" but might be perilously ill. Brian reappears as Gracie's condition grows dire; together, Heather and Brian have to decide what they are willing to risk to ensure their girl sees adulthood.
The grace and humor that ripple through Harpham's writing transforms the dross of heartbreak and parental fears into a clear-eyed, warm-hearted view of the world. Profoundly moving and subtly written, Happiness is a memoir that radiates in many directions--new, romantic love; gratitude for a beautiful, inscrutable world; deep, abiding friendship; the passion a parent has for a child; and the many unlikely ways to build a family. Ultimately it's a story about love and happiness in their many crooked configurations.
"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 andHappiness: The Crooked Little Road to Semi-Ever Afterto 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
Heather Harpham has written several solo plays, including Happiness and BURNING, which toured nationally. Her fiction, essays, and reviews have appeared in MORE Magazine and Water~Stone Review. Harpham is the recipient of the Brenda Ueland Prose Prize, a Marin Arts Council Independent Artist Grant, and a grant from the Barbara Deming Memorial Fund. She teaches at Sarah Lawrence College and SUNY Purchase and lives along the Hudson River with her family.
Happiness: A Memoir was a Reese Witherspoon Book Club x Hello Sunshine Book Pick.