Howard Garis, creator of the famed Uncle Wiggily series, along with his wife, Lilian, were phenomenally productive writers of popular children’s series—including The Bobbsey Twins and Tom Swift—from the turn of the century to the 1950s. In a large, romantic house in Amherst, Massachusetts, Leslie Garis, her two brothers, and their parents and grandparents aimed to live a life that mirrored the idyllic world the elder Garises created nonstop. But inside The Dell—where Robert Frost often sat in conversation over sherry, and stories appeared to spring from the very air—all was not right.
Roger Garis’s inability to match his parents’ success in his own work as playwright, novelist, and magazine writer led to his conviction that he was a failure as father, husband, and son, and eventually deepened into mental illness characterized by raging mood swings, drug abuse, and bouts of debilitating and destructive depression. House of Happy Endings is Leslie Garis’s mesmerizing, tender, and harrowing account of coming of age in a wildly imaginative, loving, but fatally wounded family.