|Plot Summary of The Ha-Ha|
Little, Brown, Jan 2005, 23.95
Three decades ago while on his first month of duty in Viet Nam, Howard Kapostash suffered a head injury that devastated his communication abilities. Though his intelligence remained average, he no longer could speak, nor write or read. His emotional quotient was already lagging before the trauma and over the subsequent thirty years since has not developed. Howard shares his childhood home with Vietnamese-American Laurel, who makes specialty soups for local restaurants; and Steve and Harrison, two housepainters he calls to himself Nit and Nat.
Sylvia dumps her reticent nine-year-old child Ryan on Howard to take care of him while she is away, though he has no experience with children. This dysfunctional commune soon comes together as the four adults responsibly and lovingly rally for the child. As the quartet learn about what life is all about, Sylvia will return soon and take away their catalyst, but will each one slip back to indifference and irresponsibility?
Harriet Klausner, Resident Scholar
|"Howard is a Vietnam Veteran living in the house he inherited from his parents living with an unusual group of roommates. His roommates include a Texas-raised Vietnamese woman who runs a catering business and two young house painters. Howard suffered an injury in the war and although he is of normal intelligence, can no longer speak or write and communicates through gestures and noises. Howard has withdrawn from society except for the nuns at the convent where he mows the lawn and his group of roommates.
Sylvia, his high school girlfriend asks him to care for her nine year old son Ryan while she goes to a nearby drug rehab center. Howie is initially overwhelmed by the responsibility but begins to open up to the role of being a father figure. He even takes part in activities such as making breakfast, attending choir concerts and signing Ryan up for little league. Ryan's eight week stay with Howie brings Howie and his housemates closer together. As the time for Sylvia to return comes closer, Howie dreads her returning because he can barely remember life before Ryan. When Sylvia returns, what results is Howie's struggle with facing a life of his own once again."
Sarah Polace, Resident Scholar
|Review Analysis of The Ha-Ha|
Our unique search engine provides a wealth of detail about books by breaking them down into many different literary elements, all of which are searchable (click here).
Ratings are on a 1-10 scale (Low to High)
Tone of book?
Time/era of story
- present (2000-2010)
Major part of story:
- unexpected child appears
- mental illness
- blue collar
- White (American)
How sensitive is this character?
- sensitive to others' feelings
- middling sensitive to others' feelings
Sense of humor
- Cynical sense of humor
- Mostly serious with occasional humor
- Smarter than most other characters
- very athletic
- average physique
How much of work is main antagonist actually present in:
- a substantial amount
How much descriptions of surroundings?
- 2 ()
- mostly 1st
- mostly 3rd
Accounts of torture and death?
- no torture/death
- generic/vague references to death/punishment
Sex in book?
What kind of sex:
- vague references
- descript of kissing
- a lot of play on words
- a lot of flashback and forwards
- a lot of stream of consciousness
- No single main character?
Amount of dialog
- significantly more dialog than descript
- roughly even amounts of descript and dialog
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Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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