Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Review: The Far End of Happy by Kathryn Craft

Title: The Far End of Happy   
Author: Kathryn Craft     
Published: May 2015, Sourcebooks Landmark  
Format: Paperback, 432 pages   
Source: Personal copy  

Twelve tense hours, three women, and the suicide standoff that turns one family's little piece of heaven into a scene from hell

After enduring years of a struggling marriage, Ronnie Farnham has decided to divorce her husband and is beginning to hope for a happy future--until the morning Jeff is supposed to move out, when he locks himself in their barn with a rifle.

When a massive police presence arrives to control the 12-hour stand off, the women in Jeff's life are pushed to their breaking points. Based on the author's harrowing personal story, The Far End of Happy is a powerful novel about the way one man's spiral towards life's violent conclusion tests the resolve, love, and hope of the women he will leave behind.

My thoughts: This book is such an emotional, gripping read. I actually read it over the summer, but have been struggling with putting my thoughts together to write this review. I really liked it, but feel that I will not do the book justice. It's definitely one I have not stopped thinking about since I finished reading it.

This book is part memoir and part fiction and having actually met and heard Kathryn talk about the book and her experiences that led to writing this story, I found it that much more captivating and compelling. As soon as I started reading the book, I found myself totally wrapped up in the story and had a hard time putting it down.

The book spans a 12-hour period of time and that 12 hours is quite tense. It is told from 3 different perspectives - Ronnie, Ronnie's mother, and Jeff's mother, and they provide us with their point of view on what is going on both in the present day as well as filling us in with bits of the past that help provide a fuller picture. As more and more details come to light, secrets are revealed that shed light as to why things are the way they are. It's both heartbreaking and shocking and you can't help but feel as if you are right there in the middle of the story with these characters.

This story is a tough one to read at times, but it's also one that gives you a sense of hope. I give Kathryn a lot of credit for sharing this extremely personal part of her life with us. She took a personal tragedy and decided to make it public in the hope that others would see they have a choice. As she likes to remind everyone, #choosethisday. 



  1. I haven't read this, but remember all the talk during the early summer. Thanks for your thoughtful review.

  2. This sounds intense and touching. The impact of this book comes across in your review, Kristin.

  3. This does sound intense, and inspired by real events? Eep. I;d have to be in the right frame of mind to read this but it does sound good.

  4. You had me with the first paragraph, you didn't need to say much more. While it sounds like an intense read, when based on real life experience it sounds very powerful.

  5. You gave it justice in this review. What a tough book to read but man, major props to the author who shared this personal and raw experience with the world.

  6. Thank you for the very good review. You brought the story to light.


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