Synopses & Reviews
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.
“In these lyrical, searing pages, Guest manages to break our hearts and put them back together again.” Ann Hood
“[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.” Dallas Morning News
In the tradition of Mark Doty's Heaven's Coast comes an original memoir from the acclaimed poet and author about the accident that left him a paraplegic, and his struggle to find independence, love, and a life on his own terms.
Whiting Award-winning poet Paul Guest was twelve years old, racing down a hill on a too-big, ancient bicycle when he discovered he had no brakes. Trying to steer into anything that would slow him down, he hit a ditch, was thrown over the handlebars, and broke his neck.
One More Theory About Happiness follows a boy into manhood, his path marked by a hard-earned acceptance and a biting sense of humor. In inspiring, incisive, and lyrical prose, Guest shows students that a body irrevocably changed can lead to a life fiercely cherished.
“In these lyrical, searing pages, Guest manages to break our hearts and put them back together again.”
In the tradition of Lucy Grealys 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.”
About the Author
Paul Guest's'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. The recipient of a 2007 Whiting Award, his latest book is a memoir, One More Theory about Happiness. He lives in Atlanta, GA.