This Is Happy
Written by Camilla Gibb
Published by Doubleday Canada
Camilla Gibb grew up in a complex relationship with a stoic mother and a father whose mental illness displayed itself in cruelty. After her own diagnosis of depression in her twenties, Gibb searches desperately for stability in the creation of a nuclear family of her own. That dream, however, collapses. How can a writer find ‘happy’ in a messy, unravelling life? Through writing, of course, and by haphazardly building a new family only partly defined by blood. The memoir of a time of salvation, This Is Happy, is exquisitely taut. Through raw, often agonizing writing, we are surprised by a kind of ‘happy’ that flows quietly from companionship.
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From the Publisher’s Summary: This Is Happy, is a profoundly moving memoir that reveals the intensity of the grief that besieged the author as the happiness of a longed for family shattered, yet lived in a potent mix with the solace that arose with the creation of another, most unexpected family, a family constituted by a small cast of resilient souls, adults broken in the way many of us are, while united in their love for a child. Reflecting on tangled moments of past sadness and joy, alienation and belonging, she revisits her stories now in relation to the happy daughter who will inherit them, and there finds new meaning and beauty. Raw and unflinching, intelligent and humane, this book asks the big questions and finds answers in the tender moments of the everyday.
is the author of four novels, Mouthing the Words, The Petty Details of So-and-So’s Life, Sweetness in the Belly and The Beauty of Humanity Movement; she has won the Trillium Book Award, the City of Toronto Book Award, and the CBC Canadian Literary Award; and was shortlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize. She lives in Toronto.