The Ha-Ha: A Novel

by Dave King | Literature & Fiction |
ISBN: 1586217410 Global Overview for this book
Registered by indygo88 of Lafayette, Indiana USA on 6/13/2008
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This book is in a Controlled Release! This book is in a Controlled Release!
13 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by indygo88 from Lafayette, Indiana USA on Friday, June 13, 2008
"Howard Kapostash has not spoken in thirty years. Ever since a severe blow to the head during his days in the Army, words unravel in his mouth and letters on the page make no sense at all. Because of his extremely limited communication abilities—a small repertory of gestures and simple sounds—most people think he is disturbed. No one understands that Howard is still the same man he was before enlisting, still awed by the beauty of a landscape, still pining for his high school sweetheart, Sylvia.
Now Sylvia is a single mom with troubles of her own, and she needs Howard’s help. She is being hauled into a drug rehab program and she asks Howard to care for her nine-year-old son, Ryan. The presence of this nervous, resourceful boy in Howard’s life transforms him utterly. With a child’s happiness at stake, communication takes on a fresh urgency, and the routine that Howard has evolved over the years—designed specifically to minimize the agony of human contact—suddenly feels restrictive and even dangerous. Forced out of his groove, Howard finds unexpected delights (in baseball, in work, in meals with his housemates). His home comes alive with the joys, sorrows, and love of a real family. But these changes also open Howard to the risks of loss and to the rage he has spent a lifetime suppressing."

Got this at the book warehouse sale. (Abridged on 5 CD's; read by Terry Kinney)

Journal Entry 2 by indygo88 from Lafayette, Indiana USA on Friday, August 15, 2008
While I enjoyed this, I wasn't in any way blown away by the story. About 2/3 of the way through, I felt like it was becoming fairly predictable & figured it was headed for a movie-type ending, although I was fairly pleasantly surprised that the ending was not quite as predictable as I'd expected. But aside from the fact that the main character of Howard was unable to express his true emotions, I couldn't shake the feeling that the story more or less had been done before & the majority of the storyline wasn't all that unique. All in all, I felt this was a good "feel good" type book which is a nice thing to read once in a while, but like I said above, I wasn't blown away by this one.

Journal Entry 3 by indygo88 from Lafayette, Indiana USA on Friday, February 13, 2009
This one's going into BigJohnLefty's CD audio bookbox.

Journal Entry 4 by KateKintail from Burke, Virginia USA on Monday, March 02, 2009
This book isn't what I usually read, but it looks good and I'd like to give it a shot.

Journal Entry 5 by KateKintail at Burke, Virginia USA on Sunday, December 12, 2010
I earread this some time ago but have put off reviewing it until now. The main concept of the book-- a veteran who can't communicate properly or integrate back into the world-- has defitinitely been done before and done better. But I really liked the fact that Howard is thrown this wildcard: Ryan, son of his old girlfriend, who needs someone to look after him while Mom's in rehab.

My biggest problem was that I had a very difficult time really liking Howard. I started off feeling sorry for him and that changed slightly from being sorry about his disability to being sorry that he's a jerk. I guess he's allowed to be a jerk. That's perfectly understandable, given his situation. And there were times he said something to make me smile or really see deep down into his soul and not just the part of him that constantly has to put up with the people around him. It was really tough for me to like most people in this book. I think the problem is that the characters were very well written. They acted just like real people would. And real people can be selfish idiots. That wasn't enjoyable for me. I don't like stories about selfish idiots (see: the Great Gatsby). Nit and Nat were doofuses and I, again, felt sorry for them. And Laurel was likeable enough but the accent got on my nerves. Sylvia... I hated her. With a passion. I wanted to totally slap her silly. But Ryan... I liked Ryan. Well, once he stopped being a stupid, self-centered kid, that is. Luckily, he warms up to his new, strange family quite quickly and, once he does, I liked the book. But then it all goes pear-shaped again.

I liked the idea of the Ha-Ha as a central theme and metaphor. And it broke my heart when Howard took Ryan there and Ryan freaked out and got Howard fired. But the parts with the homeless vet bothered me a lot. I understand it was his expression of self-loathing or something... but it happens and nothing comes of it afterward. Heck, the way people treat Howard throughout is really hard for me to handle. He's not just "of normal intelligence" but he's got emotions just like everyone else. Maybe he's a little messed up, sure, but no one did what I wanted them to. The social interaction was... wrong.

Really, I kept expecting Sylvia to relapse and for us to find out she's been sneaking out to get drunk/high all the time with the new boyfriend. And I expected Howard and Laurel to get together and adopt Ryan. I expected it to end in one big happy family moment and save the whole thing for me. Predictable, yeah, but it's what I desperately wanted to see to save the novel. And it didn't happen. It defininitely didn't happen. So it left me feeling unfulfilled and confused and sad again.

If I'd been reading it, I know I would have given up on it. But I wanted to stick it out for my happy ending (which I didn't get, as cheesy as it would have been). At least there was an interesting interview with the author at the end. I liked that.

Journal Entry 6 by KateKintail at Fairfax Station, Virginia USA on Sunday, December 12, 2010

Released 9 yrs ago (12/13/2010 UTC) at Fairfax Station, Virginia USA

CONTROLLED RELEASE NOTES:

Adding this to indygo88's CD Audio Bookbox. I hope it's enjoyed!


I'm a member of the BookCrossing meet-up group, BCinDC. Have you heard we're having a convention in the Washington, D.C. area in April? All book lovers are invited to celebrate the 10th birthday of BookCrossing at the 2011 BookCrossing Convention!

Journal Entry 7 by imawinn2 at Neenah, Wisconsin USA on Tuesday, January 04, 2011
Going to take a chance on this one. I haven't heard of this book but it sounds pretty good. Reminds me of something one would find on Lifetime or the Hallmark channel. Just hope I don't start tearing up while I'm driving down the road (most of my listening is done in my vehicle).

Journal Entry 8 by imawinn2 at Neenah, Wisconsin USA on Saturday, July 02, 2011
Like indygo88, I liked this story but it didn't blow me away as much as I hoped. But it did have some good moments and certainly held my attention. The cast of characters were interesting although I did want to shake a few of them up now and again... esp. Sylvia. I thought she was especially horrible at the end. One of my favorite parts of the story was a segment towards the end when Howard was reflecting on his life, his injury, his time with Ryan and the relationships with the other folks in his life. The ending was certainly not as I would have predicted and I came away feeling the most sorry for Ryan. All in all, I felt this story is worth a listen and there are some very touching moments.

Journal Entry 9 by imawinn2 at Neenah, Wisconsin USA on Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Released 9 yrs ago (7/19/2011 UTC) at Neenah, Wisconsin USA

CONTROLLED RELEASE NOTES:

Putting this in BigJohnLefty's Another Audiobookbox. Happy Travels!

Journal Entry 10 by tostle at Salt Lake City, Utah USA on Wednesday, August 17, 2011
I am taking this book from BigJohnLefty's Another Audiobookbox. Thanks for sharing!

Journal Entry 11 by brenter at Salt Lake City, Utah USA on Sunday, October 02, 2011
This was a very interesting book. I strongly recommend it to others.

Journal Entry 12 by BigJohnLefty at Des Moines, Iowa USA on Sunday, January 15, 2012
This came back to me in "Another CD-Only AudioBookBox" - plan to listen to this soon.

Journal Entry 13 by BigJohnLefty at Des Moines, Iowa USA on Tuesday, February 14, 2012
A very interesting tale chronicling the healing process of a Vietnam vet - one of those things I've got a weakness for, it really touched me.....
There's also a lot there about getting along with a diverse group of people - what was kind of striking was the way you are in the narrator's head, but he can't tell others because he's non-verbal.

will put into a box soon....

Journal Entry 14 by BigJohnLefty at Audiobook Box, A Bookbox -- Controlled Releases on Saturday, April 21, 2012

Released 8 yrs ago (4/21/2012 UTC) at Audiobook Box, A Bookbox -- Controlled Releases

CONTROLLED RELEASE NOTES:

Am putting this into booklady331's audiobookbox. Hope this finds a good home!

Journal Entry 15 by affinity4books at Bryan, Texas USA on Thursday, July 05, 2012
my dad chose this from the CD only audiobox. He was excited to peruse the box as a 4th of July holiday treat. Thanks for sharing!

Journal Entry 16 by affinity4books at Bryan, Texas USA on Sunday, November 25, 2012

Released 7 yrs ago (11/26/2012 UTC) at Bryan, Texas USA

CONTROLLED RELEASE NOTES:

going into BigJohn Lefty's awesome boookbox :)
my dad says it made his commute go by quickly

Journal Entry 17 by wingbooklady331wing at Cape Coral, Florida USA on Tuesday, May 28, 2013
Already read this book years ago. This book has made a short stop at my house. It will continue on its journey until it finds its new home.

Journal Entry 18 by wingAzukiwing at Miami, Florida USA on Thursday, September 19, 2013
Looks like Booklady had read every book already years before...
Taking this out because the concept sounds interesting, and looking at all the long journal, it is one that prompts a lot of thoughts.

Journal Entry 19 by wingAzukiwing at Miami, Florida USA on Thursday, January 09, 2014
The book is well written, though the author doesn't have the knack of making even unpleasant people likable or at least sympathetic so it's hard to get too engaged with the characters. I can imagine Howard's frustration, to be treated often as retarded because of his disability. I suppose his disability affects the abstract use of language, so he couldn't even write or use sign language to express himself.

Now set aside to wait for the next bookbox to continue its journey.

Journal Entry 20 by wingAzukiwing at Audiobook Box, A Bookbox -- Controlled Releases on Friday, June 13, 2014

Released 6 yrs ago (6/14/2014 UTC) at Audiobook Box, A Bookbox -- Controlled Releases

CONTROLLED RELEASE NOTES:

Putting into Booklady331's audio box.

Journal Entry 21 by wingDove-i-Libriwing at Fort Myers, Florida USA on Wednesday, June 18, 2014
Visiting us with a lot of friends in booklady331's "CD Only" Book Box --> (Link) We haven't chosen this set, so it's going back into the box! Happy travels!

Journal Entry 22 by wingbooklady331wing at Cape Coral, Florida USA on Friday, July 18, 2014
Arrived home in my CD only bookbox. I already read the book in 2008, so I will find this one a new home.

Journal Entry 23 by wingbooklady331wing at Cape Coral, Florida USA on Thursday, March 12, 2015

Released 5 yrs ago (3/13/2015 UTC) at Cape Coral, Florida USA

CONTROLLED RELEASE NOTES:

Enjoy! send to dabercro the next time I go to the Post Office (just went today). Glad the book found a new home.

Journal Entry 24 by dabercro at Clinton, Utah USA on Wednesday, March 25, 2015
Arrived in the mail yesterday. Thanks booklady331!

Journal Entry 25 by dabercro at Clinton, Utah USA on Saturday, May 23, 2015
This was an enjoyable enough book to listen to on my commute to and from work. Since Howard could not communicate with those around him, it was interesting to know what he was thinking and saying in his own mind yet the person/people around him were trying to decipher it from his gestures. This often led to misunderstandings which didn't always meet with the intended outcome.

Journal Entry 26 by dabercro at another bookcrosser, -- By post or by hand/ in person -- USA on Saturday, May 23, 2015

Released 5 yrs ago (5/23/2015 UTC) at another bookcrosser, -- By post or by hand/ in person -- USA

CONTROLLED RELEASE NOTES:

Sending to Aberpeter in WA.

Journal Entry 27 by Aberpeter at Kirkland, Washington USA on Saturday, May 30, 2015
thanks dabercro

Journal Entry 28 by Aberpeter at Kirkland, Washington USA on Wednesday, June 10, 2015
I very much enjoyed listening to this story. All the characters were very real and complex. They were very self-driven (and selfish) and not driven by the plot of the book.

Early on in the book I felt bad for Howard. He couldn't communicate and no one understood him through his grunts and gestures. About halfway through the book I realized I was giving Howard excuses and I was feeling sorry for him. Why did he never learn sign-language? Once it dawned on me he wasn't doing himself any favors and in some ways it was his fault no one understood him, I was less sympathetic of his situation.

Journal Entry 29 by Aberpeter at Kirkland, Washington USA on Thursday, June 09, 2016

Released 4 yrs ago (6/9/2016 UTC) at Kirkland, Washington USA

CONTROLLED RELEASE NOTES:

sending to Moody-Blue

Journal Entry 30 by wingMoody-Bluewing at Meers, Oklahoma USA on Friday, June 24, 2016
Thanks, folks!

Journal Entry 31 by wingMoody-Bluewing at Meers, Oklahoma USA on Sunday, August 14, 2016
Reminds me of The Art of Racing in the Rain because both main characters are fully cognizant and want to communicate with their loved-ones, but can't do it verbally. In this case, it's a war vet with a traumatic brain injury -- which is a timely and important subject -- but the situation he's currently in is just a basic family drama, which makes it less interesting to me. Still, I appreciated the author's unflinching treatment of Howard's human-ness, and how he weaves in references the ha-ha, both literally and figuratively.

Journal Entry 32 by wingMoody-Bluewing at Meers, Oklahoma USA on Monday, December 26, 2016

Released 3 yrs ago (12/26/2016 UTC) at Meers, Oklahoma USA

CONTROLLED RELEASE NOTES:

Released into BigJohnLefty's Another Audiobookbox, now administered by devon212.

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