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

One More Theory about Happiness: A Memoir

3.7 4
by Paul Guest
     
 

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“In these lyrical, searing pages, Guest manages to break our hearts and put them back together again.”
—Ann Hood

In the tradition of Lucy Grealy’s Autobiography of a Face, One More Theory About Happiness is a bold and original memoir from the acclaimed, Whiting Award-winning poet Paul Guest, author of My Index of

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Overview

“In these lyrical, searing pages, Guest manages to break our hearts and put them back together again.”
—Ann Hood

In the tradition of Lucy Grealy’s Autobiography of a Face, One More Theory About Happiness is a bold and original memoir from the acclaimed, Whiting Award-winning poet Paul Guest, author of My Index of Horrifying Knowledge. A remarkable account of the accident that left him a quadriplegic, and his struggle to find independence, love, and a life on his own terms, One More Theory About Happiness has been praised by Charles Bock, author of Beautiful Children, as, “Smart and honest and clear eyed and above all, humane.”

 

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Paralyzed in an accident at age 12, poet Guest (My Index of Slightly Horrifying Knowledge) skips the maudlin and the sentimental in this simply-told story of growing up and finding success despite tremendous obstacles. With a poet's economy and grace, Guest narrates his journey from accident and diagnosis (a "severely" bruised spinal cord, "overwhelming" chances he won't walk again) to surgery and physical therapy, to high school, college and graduate school navigated via "sip and puff" wheelchair. Along the way he provides grateful commentary on the standard trials of growing up, including dating and finding his calling, as well as his experiences publishing his first book of poems, Exit Interview. Hopeful but refreshingly direct, Guest's memoir is not simply an inspirational account of overcoming disability, but an insightful, vivid account of an outsider finding his place.
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Cleveland Plain Dealer
“[A] tightly written, candid memoir...[Guest] unearths a poet’s faculty for succinct, smart description, narrating his own life in this memoir as a surprisingly dispassionate observer.”
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
“[A] graceful and unflinching account....a remarkable journey that Guest, who possesses a dark sense of the absurd and an eye for the vulnerability of both the injured and the whole, presents in scenes that run the gamut from the horrific to the sublime.”
Los Angeles Times
“Guest remembers; gently, carefully, painfully, each new milestone from the accident forward. He is blessed with a sharp sense of humor...it is an effervescent book: irrepressible, buoyant.”
NPR.org
“Far from a saccharine ‘triumph of the human spirit,’ Guest’s memoir is marked by his winning humor and bare-naked honesty, distilled into poetic prose....alert[s] us to the amazing ability of the human body and mind to reconcile with an unbearable reality.”
USA Today
“Lean, arresting . . . With zero gush and sentiment, [Guest] conveys [a] quiet heroism . . . Guest is an unconventional and provocative observer of himself. And of us, the ‘able-bodied.’ ”
Dallas Morning News
“[Guest] tells his story in short scenes that break to white space before they might prompt pity. He zigzags before we might hold him up as an example, a symbol...His memoir voice is gentle and matter-of-fact. His details are astounding and unforgettable.”
New York Times Book Review
“Guest writes more directly than ever before about his paralysis.... Guest’s work, which cannot redeem his brokenness or ours...makes something beautiful out of it. And that is enough.”
Kirkus Reviews
In fulfilling the promise made in his third collection of poetry (My Index of Slightly Horrifying Knowledge, 2008, etc.), Guest produces a memoir chronicling the life-altering accident that robbed him of an active childhood. When the author was 12, he lost control of a bicycle and flipped over the handlebars, breaking both arms and shattering two neck vertebrae. His hospital experience, related in surreal, fever-dream tones, became a harsh amalgam of "catastrophe and convalescence." Guest was told he had only a slim chance of ever walking again and should resign himself to living indefinitely as a wheelchair-bound quadriplegic. Nausea, indigestion and infections mattered little compared to the full-body paralysis that sent him to a rehabilitation facility in Atlanta, where he was fitted into a fiberglass vest and a steel traction "halo" for nine weeks, an alternative therapy that proved ineffective. Befriending 17-year-old Josh and others boosted his self-esteem much more than the "libidinal hazing" of awkward sex-instruction videos that were showcased nightly within the facility. Eventually, nerves healed and partial sensation returned to his extremities, but not before an excruciating neck surgery. Finally returning home, he faced rides on the "short bus," a string of eccentric assistants and the excitement and challenge of the female sex. Young adulthood was a mixed bag. The author was callously mugged in an elevator yet found true emotional release in crafting volumes of poetry, teaching and blissful physical intimacy. Never mawkish or grim, Guest's lyrical narrative ability tempers the heft of his experience, but the tender age at which he endured this grueling ordeal resonates onevery page. Inspiring and courageous. Agent: Betsy Lerner/Dunow, Carlson & Lerner Literary Agency

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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)

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