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Publisher's Summary

A mordantly funny and propulsive novel about a woman coming to terms with her family - adoptive, biological, and future.

In 1962 a pregnant girl staggers into a health clinic, gives birth, and flees. A foster family takes the baby in, and an unlikely couple, their lives unspooling from the recent death of their infant, adopts her.

Forty years and many secrets and lies later, Cheri Matzner is all grown up and falling apart. Ironic and fierce, she's a former cop turned disgruntled academic, a frustrated wife trying to get pregnant, an iconoclastic daughter bearing war wounds from her dysfunctional family. Thrust into an odyssey of acceptance, she discovers that sometimes it takes half a lifetime to come of age.

Weaving together the stories of the deeply flawed but well-intentioned people who've shaped Cheri's life, Happy Family is an intimate exploration of the gap between our expectations and beliefs about our families - and the truth.

©2016 Tracy Barone (P)2016 Hachette Audio

Critic Reviews

"Barone's debut novel explores the pursuit of human connection with pathos and humor.... Cheri is a compelling protagonist, making her journey into the past well worth following." (Publishers Weekly)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.0 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    36
  • 4 Stars
    34
  • 3 Stars
    25
  • 2 Stars
    4
  • 1 Stars
    1

Performance

  • 4.4 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    47
  • 4 Stars
    31
  • 3 Stars
    10
  • 2 Stars
    1
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    0

Story

  • 3.9 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    28
  • 4 Stars
    28
  • 3 Stars
    27
  • 2 Stars
    4
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    2
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  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

excellent

Very good book and excellent narration! I will be looking for more from both the author and narrator.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Captivating storytelling

Tracy Barone's Happy Family has intensely real characters and they suck you in from the very start. The narration is spot on and particularly the character of Cece. The story is sad and I wished for a little more forgiveness, towards life, from the main character at times.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • GB
  • 03-15-17

One dimensional characters, stereotypes

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

The narrator was excellent and the best part of this audio book.

Would you ever listen to anything by Tracy Barone again?

No, her protagonist was an obnoxious teenager who grew to be an obnoxious adult.

Which character – as performed by Courtney Patterson – was your favorite?

I enjoyed the narrator's performance of the mother, Cece.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Disappointment at the lack of depth of the characters was my reaction.

Any additional comments?

The end of the book showed the main character having a baby on her own after a night of drunken sex. The protagonist never grew up into an adult. It was sad.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • jill
  • SPARTA, NJ, United States
  • 11-13-16

Smart story

Terese Plummer is an amazing narrator as always. Smart story line and interesting characters. The kind of book that you really look forward to listening to.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Pretty Good

Is there anything you would change about this book?

It was a good story, nothing too special. I kept waiting for a twist or turn.

Would you recommend Happy Family to your friends? Why or why not?

Probably not. Because it was just ok.

Have you listened to any of Courtney Patterson’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

No, but I really enjoyed her!

Was Happy Family worth the listening time?

At the beginning, it was really good, but then it became just ok.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Really, really good book

Caught my attention from the get-go. Really interesting and entertaining story with some deep moments that make you think. Narrator is terrific!