Review: Catastrophic Happiness 9780316337502

Review: Catastrophic Happiness 9780316337502

Title: Catastrophic Happiness
Author: Catherine Newman
ISBN: 9780316337502
Price: $30.00
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company

Review by Aurélie Roy

Catherine Newman’s new memoir Catastrophic Happiness is a wonderfully heart-warming account of children’s first fourteen years of their lives. Through comic descriptions of everyday life, Newman shares her experiences as a mother of two and discusses how she deals with various situations, from childish tantrums to sex education.

By no means a didactic book that tells you how you should raise your own children, Newman’s memoir instead unites all the parents out there who, despite different parenting beliefs, share the same universal struggles and pleasures of child rearing.

Newman’s prose is delightfully lyrical, even though she uses words that anyone would use in everyday life. She skilfully engages her readers and manages to turn mundane events into charming stories. As such, a boy’s irrational belief that a snake will emerge out of the toilet bowl and attack him becomes a touching tale of childhood fears and insecurities, and of how children manage to overcome them.

Anyone would agree that Newman’s book speaks to all the new and the not-so-new mothers and fathers. Her writing skills allow her to touch the readers who are not even parents yet. She somehow manages to make them nostalgic for the childhood years of the kids they do not even have.

Newman’s Catastrophic Happiness communicates the frustrating and wonderful moments of parenthood, and offers an honest vision of what it feels like to love a little person more than anything else.


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