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One More Theory About Happiness

Cover of One More Theory About Happiness

One More Theory About Happiness

A Memoir
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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 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.

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.

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About 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.

Reviews-
  • New York Review of Books

    "Guest's poems combine furious rage with furious excitement in long, breathless lines that, at the last possible moment, break."

  • 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."

  • 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."

  • 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."

  • Kirkus Reviews

    "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 on every page. Inspiring and courageous."

  • Bret Lott, #1 New York Times bestselling author

    "I read this book in one sitting....Heartbreakingly funny, pitilessly honest, [this] is above all a quiet and bold and loving work of art that renders beautifully what it means to live. You must read this book."

  • Said Sayrafiezadeh, author of WHEN SKATEBOARDS WILL BE FREE

    "Sweet and beautiful and wrenching. By so generously providing a window into his own difficult experience, Guest shows us how profoundly fragile the human body truly is, how quickly our lives can be changed forever...and most importantly, how it's possible to create a new definition of wholeness."

  • Charles Bock, bestselling author of BEAUTIFUL CHILDREN

    "[An] unbelievable story...[about] an unthinkable situation, a deep level of hell, really. Guest is never self-pitying, never gets sentimental; this is not feel good tripe, or inspirational; it is deeper and more important than that--smart and honest and clear eyed and above all, humane."

  • 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."

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    HarperCollins
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