Pursuit of Happiness: A Left Hand Book

Linny Stovall, Editor Blue Heron Publishing $11.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-936085-30-2
A rich, insightful assembly of irony and humor, The Pursuit of Happiness is a collection of stories, legends, poems and essays about this elusive chase. In snippets scattered throughout the collection, clinical psychology professor Richard Bentall cites studies such as one that defines happiness as a form of mental illness. In ``E = MC2,'' John Nichols finds total satisfaction in his copious, if often rejected, writing and learns that in his case, happiness is totally independent of financial reward. He explains, ``The Erskine Caldwell theory of literary success: It's E = MC2. Excess = mass times the energy of typing, squared.'' Lynda Sexson dogs the concept of happiness through the thoughts of Thomas Jefferson, who tried to legislate happiness, or rather the right to pursue it. Heather Doran Barbieri's ``Spirit Tree'' finds an immigrant Hmong family who fled the fighting in Laos for the U.S. With the eldest son simply trading his campaign against Communists for the battleground of the American streets, his grandmother finds solace in a ``spirit tree,'' an ordinary tree she's adorned with crepe paper and cheap plastic jewelry to coax herself out of her disappointment in the ways of her new country. The latest in the Left Bank series, The Pursuit of Happiness gives readers much to enjoy and think about. (June)
Reviewed on: 05/29/1995
Release date: 06/01/1995
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