The Bright Side of Disaster

A Novel

Publisher: Ballantine Books
Sometimes the worst thing that can happen is exactly what you’ve been waiting for.

Very pregnant and not quite married, Jenny Harris doesn’t mind that she and her live-in fiancé, Dean, accidentally started their family a little earlier than planned. But Dean is acting distant, and the night he runs out for cigarettes and 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 are looking up: Jenny learns how to do everything one-handed, makes friends in a mommy group, and even gets to know a handsome, helpful neighbor. But Dean is never far from Jenny’s thoughts or, it turns out, her doorstep, and in the end she must choose between the old life she thought she wanted and the new life she’s been lucky to find.

“Beautifully penned and truly memorable . . . a heartwarming and deeply emotional debut.”

The Bright Side of Disaster is a treat of a book. It is so warm, so smart, so touching, so wise–and, despite its poignancy, you read the whole thing with a laugh in your throat.”
–Anna Maxted, author of A Tale of Two Sisters

“Novels as polished and mature as The Bright Side of Disaster just don’t come along very often from first-time novelists or, for that matter, from those with much longer résumés. . . . This story of a youthful-but-optimistic single mom rings bittersweet and utterly authentic.”
–The Dallas Morning News

“A funny and poignant novel about love, motherhood and men . . . elevates the subject matter beyond the realm of ‘mommy lit.’ ”
–Houston Chronicle

Don’t miss the reading group guide in the back of the book.



The end began with a plane crash. Just before midnight on a Tuesday in February. A girl I’d never met or even heard of died, along with her miniature dachshund (under the seat) and a planeload of passengers in the kind of commuter plane I’ll never fly in again. I’ve pictured it a hundred times...
Read More


1. Why on earth would Jenny Harris want to marry a guy like Dean? Do you know good women who fall in love with bad men? Or is Dean not as bad as he seems? Why do women stay with men like Dean, anyway?

2. Jenny has three men in her life: Dean, Gardner, and her dad. In
what ways are these guys alike or not alike...

Read More