One More Theory about Happiness: A Memoir
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One More Theory about Happiness: A Memoir

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by Paul Guest
     
 

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Paul Guest was twelve years old, racing down a hill on a too big, ancient bicycle, when he discovered he had no brakes. Steering into anything that would slow down the bike, he hit a ditch, was thrown over the handlebars, and broke his neck.

One More Theory About Happiness follows a boy into manhood, from the harrowing days immediately after his accident

Overview

Paul Guest was twelve years old, racing down a hill on a too big, ancient bicycle, when he discovered he had no brakes. Steering into anything that would slow down the bike, he hit a ditch, was thrown over the handlebars, and broke his neck.

One More Theory About Happiness follows a boy into manhood, from the harrowing days immediately after his accident to his adult life as a teacher, award-winning poet, and soon-to-be husband. With wit, courage, and an unstoppable drive to live a life of his own creation—stemming in part from his remarkable parents, who insisted he return to school only days after arriving home from the hospital—Paul makes peace with his paralysis. As he grows older, he transforms it with his art, cultivating his lifelong gift for language into a searing poetic sensibility that has earned him praise from the highest ranks of American letters (“Wonderful”— John Ashbery; “Astonishing”—Jorie Graham; “Fierce and unnerving”—Robert Hass).

An unforgettable story—shatteringly funny, deeply moving, and breathtakingly honest—One More Theory About Happiness takes us from a body irrevocably changed to a life fiercely cherished.

Editorial Reviews

Paul Guest was a normal 12-year-old, fascinated with the old firecrackers his grandfather kept in a jar. He'd break them up and set fire to the rupture, creating showers of sparks. The day after he graduated from grade school, he borrowed a bicycle, lost control, and flipped it. Lying on the ground, unable to feel his body below his neck, what he thought was blood running from his nose was, in fact, spinal fluid.

Guest would never again have the use of his arms or legs. Even so, he says he was lucky: "If I couldn't lift my arms I could breathe. I could feel... I no longer had to be, or even could be, who I once was. What I once was. I was broken. And new."

One More Theory About Happiness is among the rarest of books: humbling, heartbreaking, and suffused with joy. Guest must learn to navigate the rest of his life in a wheelchair. An immobilizing halo is screwed into his skull. There are diapers and suctions; basic bodily functions are no longer private; the simplest daily tasks require help. Yet every agony is met with hope, each humiliation with dignity, moments of despair banished by an extraordinary capacity for gratitude.

If you've never laughed and cried at the same time, Guest's book will change that. His language is pure poetry, and his simple, amazing grace redefines that world-weary word, "hero".

"In these lyrical, searing pages, Guestmanages to break our hearts and put themback together again."—Ann Hood, author of The Red Thread

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780061685170
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
05/04/2010
Pages:
202
Product dimensions:
5.60(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.90(d)

Meet the Author

Paul Guest is the author of three poetry collections, The Resurrection of the Body and the Ruin of the World, which won the 2002 New Issues Prize in Poetry; Notes for My Body Double, which won the 2006 Prairie Schooner Book Prize; and My Index of Slightly Horrifying Knowledge. The recipient of a 2007 Whiting Award, he lives in Atlanta, Georgia.

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One More Theory about Happiness 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
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george-sydney-moncrief More than 1 year ago
Not exactly a memoir in my opinion but nonetheless a compelling read. I felt as if i was left wanting more which i guess is the intent of any author. Many great stories have been left out........maybe a part 2 .....perhaps? I recommend this book emphatically to all!