Catastrophic Happiness: Finding Joy in Childhood's Messy Years
by Catherine Newman '90
"Ultimately the most fascinating character isn't her family, but Newman herself. This is because the book's force lies not in what it tells us about parenting, but in its sensitive portrayal of the blurring of self that happens after one has children. . . For Newman, this question of where she begins and ends is less of a riddle than a Buddhist koan. Wisely, she never tries to solve it. Her goal, in parenting and in writing, is only to figure out how to love from within it."―Elissa Strauss, New York Times Book Review
- Listen to Catherine Newman '90 and Ann Hallock '89 discuss the book.
- Read an excerpt and reviews.
- Learn more about the author.
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A comic and heartwarming memoir about childhood's second act from Real Simple journalist Catherine Newman.
Much is written about a child's infancy and toddler years, which is good since children will never remember it themselves. It is ages 4-14 that make up the second act, as Catherine Newman puts it in this delightfully candid, outlandishly funny new memoir about the years that "your children will remember as childhood." Following Newman's son and daughter as they blossom from preschoolers into teenagers, Catastrophic Happiness is about the bittersweet joy of raising children--and the ever-evolving landscape of issues parents traverse. In a laugh out-loud, heart-wrenching, relatable voice, Newman narrates events as momentous as grief and as quietly moving as the moonlit face of a sleeping child. From tantrums and friendship to fear and even sex, Newman's fresh take will appeal to any parent riding this same roller coaster of laughter and heartbreak.