Joy and gratitude are the subjects of many popular books. There are workshops on grief and anger and a library of literature on depression. And yet disappointment sits in the corner, a much neglected feeling. This neglect is surprising given that there is so much potential for disappointment in the United States. After all, Americans are always harping on the signal importance of having a dream about your future self. Many of these dreams must be deferred, and many turn into train wrecks. Then comes the question of how to live with the knowledge that you are not going to become the self that you had your heart set on becoming. This scenario of being stuck, of being a self that you would really prefer to be rid of, is Kierkegaard’s formula for despair, and it also serves as a fair portrait of profound disappointment, the subject of Harold Kushner’s study.