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One More Theory About Happiness: A Memoir

One More Theory About Happiness: A Memoir
Author: Paul Guest
ISBN 13: 9780061685170
ISBN 10: 61685178
Edition: 1st
Publisher: Ecco
Publication Date: 2010-05-04
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 208
List Price: $21.99

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.

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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