Happiness: The Crooked Little Road to Semi-Ever After

Heather Harpham. Holt, $27 (320p) ISBN 978-1-250-13156-0
In her early 30s, Harpham, a writer and playwright, found herself unexpectedly pregnant by her boyfriend, Brian, a novelist and professor who was adamant about not wanting children. As Harpham relates in this moving memoir, she relocated from New York City to Marin County, Calif., to be closer to her family while trying to figure out ahead of her due date if she, her boyfriend, and the baby could be a family. Her story unfolds in the early 2000s and she describes with warmth, fearless honesty, and humor the harrowing saga of what happened after she gave birth. Her newborn, Gracie, had a blood disorder that required her to get transfusions every few weeks because her bone marrow couldn’t make red blood cells; doctors told Harpham that without a marrow transplant, her daughter wouldn’t live past age 30. While the frustration and fear surrounding Gracie’s condition mounted, Brian slowly but steadily became more involved and kept visiting them in California. As Harpham wrestled with whether she still wanted him in her life, she found the patience to let him realize on his own that his feelings about fatherhood had changed. They resolved the questions in their relationship and then had to make the decision that had haunted them for more than a year: whether to risk Gracie’s life by putting her through a transplant operation that didn’t have guaranteed results. Harpham has written a heartfelt exploration of familial bonds and the sometimes incredibly bumpy journey one must take to get to contentment. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 07/03/2017
Release date: 08/01/2017
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