Apollo with double aortic arch painted on chest.

No Happy Endings: Best Book I’ve Read So Far This Year

This post contains affiliate links.Hezekiah and Jubilee in Starbucks.So…what book is Hezekiah reading? I didn’t have very many takers in guessing…but the friend who introduced me to the book in the first place recognized it and said, “Best description ever! should be on the back of the book!”

Drumroll, please…

Out of the Silent Planet by C.S. Lewis.

For those of you who are confused…if you read older books at all you will notice that the word “ejaculate” was commonly used. While in 2019 ejaculate only has one meaning, historically that hasn’t been the case.

Dated definition of ejaculate

Hezekiah is very well-read and understood the older meaning in the context of the men arguing. And he also happens to have a brilliant (if dry) sense of humor. He was basically born a 40-year-old man and could read independently at age 4, so his description didn’t surprise me in the least.

Not to spoil anything about the book, but the main character, Ransom, is indeed drugged, kidnapped and taken off to space. His captors were walking around naked because of the heat in the space ship. So, there you go, I hope I have inspired you to check out this lesser-known book of C.S. Lewis.

And speaking of books. The best book I have read this year so far is No Happy Endings by Nora McInerny.

I have mentioned here before how much I love her podcast, Terrible Thanks for Asking. She helps people tell their stories, the good, the bad and the ugly (but mostly the bad and ugly). No Happy Endings is a memoir of life after loss.

“Life has a million different ways to kick you right in the chops. We lose love, lose jobs, lose our sense of self. For Nora McInerny, it was losing her husband, her father, and her unborn second child in one catastrophic year.”

Nora doesn’t sugar coat and her writing makes me feel like I have “permission” to tell the truth about my own struggles. Sometimes there are no happy endings, but that doesn’t mean we can’t lead a life worth living and sharing with others. So, thank you, Nora.

Warning: This book has a lot of swearing and I certainly don’t agree with her on many, many topics (the view of the Bible in particular) however, none of that outweighs what I gained from this book.

I highlighted so many sections of this book I could practically fill a blog post with just those. I won’t of course, but I am going to share a few.

“I had assumed that Aaron’s cancer had given us an immunity to other kinds of tragedy. What kind of a God is going to let you miscarry when your husband has brain cancer?”

Why would God give us a baby with a rare heart defect that took 18 months to diagnose, a botched surgery, a surgery (out-of-state) to fix the first, when we had already adopted two special needs infants? Shouldn’t suffering be spread out a little more evenly?

“I get the sense that they are disappointed in the visit. That I am neither sad enough nor happy enough. I do not meet their expectations.”

I have felt this tangible “disappointment” when Apollo was going through his worst and people wanted to see him as an inspiring role model. Guess what? He made a terrible poster child for Inspirational Sick Kids. He was miserable. He cried all the time. He rarely smiled. He was scared of everyone. I’m sorry if his suffering wasn’t “inspiring” enough. I’m sorry I couldn’t say, “Apollo is always smiling!”

Except I’m not sorry he wasn’t inspirational enough. I am sorry that was what people expected, or, dare I say, hoped for. 

Recovering from vascular ring surgery at Texas Children's Hospital.

I’m am sorry he had to suffer too much. Has it made him a better, stronger person? I don’t know. But I know it has made him a more fearful, anxious person.

What’s the best book you’ve read so far this year?

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4 thoughts on “No Happy Endings: Best Book I’ve Read So Far This Year”

  1. I am now re-reading your Apollo posts about hospitalization with new eyes after just bringing my seven year old home from a week-long stay; we went in to the ER suspecting appendicitis, and because they couldn’t “see” his appendix on an ultrasound, he waited nearly 20 hours for surgery and had a perforated appendix. This is peanuts, of course, compared to what you and Apollo went through.

    But what I really hated about being in the hospital was the attitude of the staff. They were baffled that either my husband or I were there 24/7 with our son; they seemed miffed that our son, who is shy of strangers (as a toddler he would literally fall to the ground in tears if a librarian said hello to him), wasn’t responding to every question they asked, or being chipper in the face of what to them seemed a small medical issue. To him it was huge! He hadn’t been in the hospital since a NICU stay as a newborn, and had had one ER visit for a bad stomach virus. He had been forced to have a CT with contrast (with barium) after the ultrasound failed, he had blown veins in his IV. They seemed to think he should be “brave” and being “brave” means you smile, instead of cry. You can be brave while crying, I told him. You can admit it hurts and get through it. You can hate it while going through it.

  2. Your realness and willingness to share the raw truth is what keeps me coming back. There are parents with special needs children, hopefuls who want to adopt or go into foster care, who aspire to be you. I’m one of them. Thank you for writing and sharing your story.

  3. Yes. I hate the saying, “Whatever doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger.” Actually, what didn’t kill me left me weaker. I’ll never be the same as I used to be, and I wish I could be the stronger person I was before.

  4. And one more thing, I am so relieved to read the explanation for the book Hezekiah was reading! I have been checking several times a day since you posted his summary. You really had me!

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