"HAPPY...is a stark and powerful chronicle focusing on a two-year period in a struggle toward redemption, a self-administered psychological examination into the hidden darkness of a fraught mind amid a life-threatening physical malady....Lemon attacks his story with the visceral thrust of free verse..."
From the Publisher
Recounts the author's struggles with three debilitating strokes that hit during his early college years, his battles with depression and substance abuse during his recovery, and the impact of painful memories of childhood sexual abuse that affected his outlook.
Thanks to James Frey, Mary Karr, and Augusten Burroughs, there has been a recent fray of memoirs by young people detailing their indulgence in substance abuse, or their struggle with mental illness, or their memories of sexual abuse, or their courageous battle with a debilitating health condition. However, very few of these ambitious "confessionalists" have had to deal with all four of these crippling personal traumas simultaneously, as poet Alex Lemon did. As Lemon embarked on his freshman year of college, he was a charismatic athlete who loved to party, and was so perpetually exuberant that his friends took to calling him "Happy." But his cheerful spirits disappeared after he suffered the first of several strokes, which would ultimately require a life-threatening operation to remove a lesion from his brain stem. As a response to his condition, Lemon upped his intake of booze and drugs and sank into depression, until his recovery process forced him back into the tender care of his mother, an eccentric artist. Ultimately, her love became the foundation on which he began to rebuild his emotions and his existence, a process he renders here in language which often shimmers with luminescence.