In Tracy Barone’s mordantly funny debut, a fiercely independent woman is forced to come to terms with the family who raised her, the one who gave her away and the one she so desperately wants.
Trenton, New Jersey, 1962: A pregnant girl staggers into a health clinic, gives birth, and flees. A foster family takes the baby in, and an unlikely couple, their lives unspooling from a recent tragedy hastily adopts her.
Forty years and many secrets and lies later, Cheri Matzner is all grown up and falling apart. Ironic and unapologetic, she’s a former cop-turned-disgruntled academic, a frustrated wife trying to get pregnant, an iconoclastic daughter bearing war-wounds from her overbearing mother and the deeply flawed but well-meaning father who has been dead for several years. Thrust into an odyssey of acceptance, Cheri discovers that sometimes it takes half a lifetime to come of age.
Written with a deep emotional intelligence and a biting wit, HAPPY FAMILY weaves together the stories of the beautifully damaged people who have shaped Cheri’s life – often in ways she has yet to discover. Asking if we can ever really know our parents outside their roles as our parents, Barone brilliantly explores the often vast divide between our beliefs about our families and the truth.