The Bright Side of Disaster: A Novel

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9781400066377: The Bright Side of Disaster: A Novel
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“Offers credible descriptions of first-time motherhood, affecting characters and situations and low-key charm.”–Kirkus Reviews

“Stellar . . . Center paints an accurate and humorous view of motherhood.”–Booklist

Jenny Harris always expected that she’d fall in love, get married, and have a baby–in that order. Now, very pregnant and not quite married, she actually doesn’t mind that she and her live-in fiancé, Dean, accidentally started their family a little earlier than planned; she’s happy to have so much to look forward to. But Dean–whom Jenny loves enough to overlook his bad facial hair, his smoking habit, and his total commitment to a cheesy cover band–is acting distant, and not in a pre-wedding-jitters kind of way. The night he runs out for cigarettes and just doesn’t come back, he demotes himself from future husband to sperm donor.

And the very next day, Jenny goes into labor.

In the months that follow, Jenny plunges into a life she never anticipated: single motherhood. At least with the sleep deprivation, sore boobs, and fits of crying (both hers and the baby’s), there’s not much time to dwell on her broken heart. And things start looking up. She learns how to do everything one-handed, makes friends in a mommy group, and even manages to give dating tips to her sweet, clueless father–who’s trying to court her sassy mother again, fifteen years after their divorce. She also gets to know a handsome, helpful neighbor–with a knack for soothing babies–who invites her out dancing. But Dean is never far from Jenny’s thoughts or, it turns out, her doorstep, and in the end Jenny must choose between the old life she thought she wanted and the new life she’s been lucky to find.

A spirited debut novel with a terrifically appealing voice, a fantastic sense of humor, and a lot of heart, The Bright Side of Disaster reminds us that sometimes it takes the worst-case scenario to show us the best in everything.

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From the Author:

The Bright Side of Disaster was my first-ever novel--truly, the first novel I ever wrote--though I'd spent most of my life up to that point writing short stories and poems and essays. I wrote it on a dare from my sister. She said, "You should write a novel about being a mom." Then she said, "How hard can that be?"  I woke up the next morning and started writing--and also had an epiphany that novels were what I should have been doing all along. The story took over and absolutely consumed my thinking from the moment I started until I finished the first draft--only about six weeks later.  And it was so, so fun.  I'd fallen in love with writing and words and syllables and letters and stories and poems long before, as a kid. But this book made me fall in love with writing novels.

About the Author:

Katherine Center graduated from Vassar College, where she won the Vassar College Fiction Prize, and received an MA in fiction from the University of Houston. She served as fiction co-editor for the literary magazine Gulf Coast, and her graduate thesis, Peepshow, a collection of stories, was a finalist for the Mary McCarthy Prize in Short Fiction. A former freelance writer and teacher, she lives in Houston with her husband and two young children.

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