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After his father’s suicide, fourteen-year-old Happy O’Neill struggles with addiction and an inclination for self-harm. His mother, working several jobs, struggling with single parenthood, and at a loss as to how she can reach Happy, commits her son to a high security psych ward. Despite the rigidity of the ward, and the vigilant oversight of its staff, Happy becomes embroiled in a romantic triangle that will change everything.
Told in small chapters of spare language, The Tragedy of Being Happy explores the depths of mental illness and adolescence, and the divide between those who live with it and those who exist “on the other side.” The poetic pacing feeds into the sense of a separation, the struggle to overcome it, and poignantly demonstrates that the human need for connection transcends illness.
About the Author
William L. Alton started writing in the Eighties. Since then his work has appeared in Main Channel Voices, World Audience and Breadcrumb Scabs among others. In 2010, he was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. He has published several books. One collection of flash fiction, Girls, two collections of poetry titled Heroes of Silence and Heat Washes Through and a novel that came out in 2015 titled Flesh and Bone. His novel Comfortable Madness launched June 10, 2018. He earned both his BA and MFA in Creative Writing from Pacific University in Forest Grove, Oregon. Currently, he lives in Beaverton, Oregon where he works with at-risk youth.
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