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Publisher's Summary

A shirt-grabbing love story that follows a one-of-a-kind family through twists of fate that require nearly unimaginable choices.

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 transform the dross of heartbreak and parental fears into a clear-eyed, warm-hearted view of the world. Profoundly moving and subtly written, Happiness 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.

©2017 Heather Harpham (P)2017 Audible, Inc.

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Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Like Being At A Riveting One-Woman Show

As a motherless non-mother, I didn’t expect to identify this much with a memoir about raising a sick child, about the impossible choices parenting requires, about having to hold fear and hope in the same hand. But the writing is so blazingly good, true, and precise, that sentence after sentence had me nodding with recognition: Yes, I know this exactly. Heather Harpham is a writer of such ability and intelligence that her struggle becomes your struggle; her revelation about the true state of happiness becomes your revelation. Hearing it in her own voice only makes that connection more personal.

21 of 21 people found this review helpful

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Loved and hated that the story ended...

This author, in my book, (no pun intended) has one of the most forgiving hearts. I admire that immensely! That she totally owns her shortcomings in every facet of her life is something most of us never even think of. Not without years of therapy anyway.
The delivery in words and tone made this journey very easy to hear, as painful as it was. I found myself avoiding germs and then catching myself. My heart felt like boiled mash at times. I celebrated out loud during the joyful parts. I cried silent, ugly tears over losses.
This book is for anyone, especially parents or loved ones, experiencing a long battle with severely ill children. Or for anyone like me-who loves a story told by a narrator who can deliver such a moving story in a gentle, but matter-of-fact manner.
I loved the story so much that I hated for it to end. I'm hoping there will be a sequel of everyday experiences about this family.

13 of 14 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Best Story (in a long time)

This (audio book) was one of the most compelling stories I have 'read' in some years. The continued struggle to stay in love, remain hopeful and always look (or hope) for the positive in some of the most heart-wrenching circumstances life could throw at this family was compelling and uplifting. Loved this Book!

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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So. Incredibly. Good!

I am a reader of Audio memoirs. I read 30 a year. I can't even tell you how much I loved this book. So well written, beautiful language use, and a powerful story line. So. Incredibly. Good.

12 of 14 people found this review helpful

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  • Mark
  • Waltham, MA, United States
  • 04-01-18

Moving memoir of parenting and illness

I liked his memoir. It is the story of a relationship, a birth, a serious illness, and a long medical battle. I must say that I am a man and a parent, and enjoy books about young families, but a good amount of this is about the author's relationship with the father of the child (a man who did not want a child and did not meet his daughter for a long time). I did feel that I was intruding on a woman-to-woman or mother-to-mother dialogue at times, but the author is a talented writer, and I liked that way she told everyday stories. I could also empathize with the stress of having a sick child. With most memoirs, the narrator seems perfect, as she tells the story from her own perspective (and most people think they were/are right). Harpham, though, is a refreshing exception. She often talks of her reactions and interactions where it is clear she was not right, but it is an honest portrayal of how she felt at the time. She and the father of her child, and the children in this book, really come alive as individuals. The author narrates this. She is a professional theater person, and her reading is clear and animated, but it is read so slowly at times, and overly enunciated. It sometimes felt that another person was reading her book rather than the author telling her own story. Overall, I enjoyed this heartfelt memoir.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Could not stop listening!

I LOVED this story. It is real, heartbreaking, heartwarming and so open with all the conflicting emotions we all have around parenting and relationships. I would however, have preferred to read this book as the author/reader's voice was hard to listen to at many times.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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Thank you Thank you Thank you.

This for waking me up in gratitude, shame of complacency
But also forgiveness.
Not to mention...to the author , bless you for your honesty , resilience
And one of the most articulate captivating and refreshing prose
that I have ever read.
I hope you continue healing us.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Fabulous book!

I've listened to many books on Audible but this was my favorite by far. Could be due to the fact I was a pediatric oncology/BMT nurse for 10 years and am the mother of 4 children but I think any parent would appreciate this book. I laughed, cried and smiled many times while listening. Absolutely fantastic writing and narration!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Well written and narrated by the author

I love how Heather Harpham captured the rise and fall and rise again of each moment in her life. She describes these moments with such detail and ease capturing the true essence of pain and heartbreak and then happiness sprinkled in. Thank you for sharing this personal story and I know it will help others because that is what life is all about.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Truly amazing!

I could not put this book down. A see saw of emotion, raw truth, simple moments of pleasure. Wow does this capture what it is to be human, love and be loved, hurt and be hurt, but mainly survive and thrive.

10 of 13 people found this review helpful