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ISBN:0061685178
Author: Paul Guest
ISBN13: 978-0061685170
Title: One More Theory About Happiness: A Memoir
Format: lrf txt lrf mbr
ePUB size: 1801 kb
FB2 size: 1522 kb
DJVU size: 1127 kb
Language: English
Category: Memoirs
Publisher: Ecco; 1st edition (May 4, 2010)
Pages: 208

One More Theory About Happiness: A Memoir by Paul Guest



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. Paul is a poet and this book is written in a straight-forward, no-nonsense manner. The memoirs's themes are tough and some of the book is painfully difficul This gripping memoir is an homage to resiliency, strength and courage. It is written by Paul Guest, now 27, who had a cataclysmic accident when he was 12 years old. While riding his teacher's old 10-speed bicycle, which had no brakes, he crashed and broke his neck.

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. As a child, I’d demanded my mother read book after book, over and over again. Neither of my parents had attended college, marrying soon after graduating from high school.

About book: Paul Guest brings a poet's perspective to his story of living with quadriplegia, the result of a bicycle accident when he was in middle school. And then it's okay, sort of. The on-the-cusp age at which he was injured seems key to the story.

Guest writes more directly than ever before about his paralysis. makes something beautiful out of it. And that is enough. tells his story in short scenes that break to white space before they might prompt pity. His memoir voice is gentle and matter-of-fact. His details are astounding and unforgettable. Dallas Morning News). Guest remembers; gently, carefully, painfully, each new milestone from the accident forward. This should have been a much longer and more detailed book. He would get going on an experience and describe it vividly and then skip ahead to the next experience without filling in the details. That said, he would take my breath away at times with his writing.

Paul Guest's first book, The Resurrection of the Body and the Ruin of the World, won the 2002 New Issues Prize in Poetry, and his second book, Notes for My Body Double, won the 2006 Prairie Schooner Book Prize. In 2010 Ecco will publish his memoir, One More Theory About Happiness. Paul Guest, Glenn Barkley, Stephen Naylor, Belinda Fox.

Even in its earliest pages, the memoir proves to be not for the faint of heart. Of his first moments after the accident Guest writes: My breath was labored.

This gripping memoir is an homage to resiliency, strength and courage. It is written by Paul Guest, now 27, who had a cataclysmic accident when he was 12-years-old. While riding his teacher’s old 10-speed bicycle, which had no brakes, he crashed and broke his neck. Since that day he has been confined to a wheelchair, a quadriplegic. The memoirs’s themes are tough and some of the book is painfully difficult to read. However, he is at no time maudlin and the poetics of his words cry out from the page.

Now, in his memoir, One More Theory About Happiness, Guest writes more directly than ever before about his paralysis. After a short prologue, the book begins with a recounting, harrowing in its matter-of-factness, of the accident that has shaped his life. Guest was 12 years old, attending a sixth-grade graduation party at a teacher’s house, when he and another boy set off on a pair of borrowed bicycles. 202 pp. Ecco/HarperCollins Publishers. Continue reading the main story.

I had learned to read early, before beginning kindergarten. As a child, I'd demanded my mother read book after book, over and over again. My father managed a grocery store in a local chain, having worked in the business since his early teens, and my mother claimed to hate school, to see no sense in most of it, all the while pushing us to do our best. We began with words, then passages of text. They were easier for me than what I was reading at home. Books about the space shuttle, a history of the robot, mysteries, comic books - almost anything that I could find I opened up. Designed to measure a child's vocabulary, her book grew ever more dense each time she flipped a thick, time-stained page. After a while, Jody stopped, putting down the pen she had been making notes with.

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. 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. If no book jacket appears in a few seconds, then we don't have an excerpt of this book or your browser is unable to display it). Membership Advantages.

“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.”

 

Reviews: 7
Cells
This memoir-cum-meditation is a beautiful essay, mesmerizing and compelling in its tale of a poet who strives to become himself, and succeeds, despite exhaustion and despair. The prose economically captures moments that become a complex of emotion.

One example is an interchange between him and his mother, as she is struggling with fatigue in the middle of the night to tend to his soiled bed:
"Oh, Mother," I whispered near the last. "Am I a burden? I don't want to be a burden."
She snapped awake, stopping for the moment.
"A burden? No, how could you be? How could you be? Don't ever think that."

This incident captures with strength and tenderness the mixture of emotions both mother and child feel. He feels a combination of fear, hopeless gratitude, regret at his physically diminished self, and the pain of helplessness. She feels deep physical tiredness, stretched beyond her powers, performing the task in a fog, until a call is made on her emotions. At that point her love, already expressed in half-automatic actions, flows in fully deliberate words.

Guest accomplishes this with words like the "oh" before "mother", with "whispered", "near the last", "snapped". The whole passage is his expression of love to his mother.
Celace
Poets rarely write in prose. Drawing lacks the fluidity of paint, and prose lacks the fluidity of poetry. Indelible the impression left by Guest's words lingers long into the evening. However, those used to reading traditional prose may feel a bit disjointed by the memoir. The writer gives us an impression of the situation with only 'just enough' concrete detail to seat us in space and time. Yet, like a good movie, we skim forward and backwards in time (in the short length of a page sometimes) leaving us unsettled and not sure of the timeline proposed. Like life, the poet's prose lets us experience the in and out nature of our lives the way humans do, in reality, experience time. We can be at our desk and also in our mothers arms at the age of seven simultaneously.

Concrete timelines traditionally tied to prose with a beginning, middle, and end are lost in the chaotic flow of experience. Guest does not provide us a story, he provides an experience seared with his titillating talent for just the right adjective, verb, or noun to engender the feeling, the impression, the now of his thoughts. A cacophony or a symphony of sound, sight and emotion.

I expected more pages, but found the two hour read strangely comforting for its emotional weight. He does not bog us down in soliloquy about the tragedy of the accident for himself, but tells us simply I was, I am, I am yet to be. Camus would commend Guest's unsentimental portrayal of the absurd human condition with Guest's own forward momentum despite success or failure. Guest becomes a Sisyphus whose rock becomes words continually sought no matter the resulting tide of accolades for his work or in some cases disdain for it .

We see how uncomfortable we make him with our perceptions and we squeak in our own skin as we read between the lines that the subject beneath our microscope is sentient and savvy; he knows and somehow loves us for our failings less obvious because they are not visible to the naked eye, only to the open heart. The reader's guilt is amplified by the calm and matter of fact author's voice. The intensity of Guest's poetic nature is tempered by the calm way in which he uses the witnessed grief of others to compare his own inability to grieve.

A good read, and an important one in understanding that at the end of the day a physical disability and an emotional disability have equal repercussions to human interaction. The silver chair is not what limits us, it is only the perceptions of others that we allow to limit ourselves that do, in truth, limit us. As he grows to understand his own extraordinary ability for language, society's language of control and expectations loses meaning, until only his need to say what needs saying remains and he is free in spirit from society's struggle to make him sit nicely in his chair and be lauded for his courage. Instead, he gives us reason to laud him for his own gifts garnered through the same struggles as everyone else. He falters as all humans do through the discovery of self through disappointment, failure and at last, love. Beautiful, unapologetic, and mostly perfect.
Painshade
I don't normally read books in this genre. That said, I really enjoyed this one. He writes without self-pity and opens up a world that I knew nothing about before I read this book. His style uses some shock tactics but not too many to make it boring. This is the only book of his that I have read and I see that all his poems are on the same subject. Would highly recommend this book but do not know whether I will read any of his others.
CopamHuk
A well written, no nonsense, positive chronicle of holding on to life after a devastating experience. I hoped that it would encourage me to "Move On!" and it surpassed my expectations.
CrazyDemon
This was a touching story told beautifully. Reminds me that life can change in an instant in insane ways. I hope to read more of Paul Guest's work.
Ishnjurus
Paul's story is truly inspiring. His words paint the pictures of his life vividly yet simply, with a tone that isn't smarmy or sacchirin. I highly recommend this read.
Dilmal
good not the best
really good read with beautiful word images but the story stopped just as it was getting interesting. This should have been a much longer and more detailed book. He would get going on an experience and describe it vividly and then skip ahead to the next experience without filling in the details. That said, he would take my breath away at times with his writing. Hope to read more of his material as he is very talented but needs polish.