Author: Molly RingwaldSummary: When it happens to you, you will be surprised. That thing they say about how you knew all the time, but just weren't facing it? That might be the case, but nevertheless, there you will be. Molly Ringwald mines the complexities of modern relationships in this gripping and nuanced collection of interlinked stories. Writing with a deep compassion for human imperfection, Ringwald follows a Los Angeles family and their friends and neighbors while they negotiate the hazardous terrain of everyday life — revealing the deceptions, heartbreak, and vulnerability familiar to us all. In "The Harvest Moon," a stay-at-home mom grapples with age, infertility, and an increasingly distant husband. In "Ursa Minor," a former children's television star tries to rebuild his life after being hospitalized for "exhaustion." An elderly woman mourns the loss of her husband and her estranged relationship with her daughter in "The Little One." In "My Olivia," a single mother finds untapped reserves of strength to protect her flamboyant six-year-old son who wishes only to wear dresses and be addressed as Olivia. And in the devastating title story, a betrayed wife chronicles her pain and alienation, leading to an eviscerating denouement. As the lives of these characters converge and diverge in unexpected ways, Ringwald reveals a startling eye for the universality of loss, love, and the search for connection. An unflinching yet poignant examination of the intricacies of the human heart, When It Happens to You is an auspicious literary debut. ~powells.com
Publication Date: May 7, 2013
Publisher: It Books
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Bottom Line: Well-developed storylines that intersect
Grab, Just get it at the library, or Remove from your TBR list? Library
Review: When It Happens to You has been on my bookshelf since I received it for Christmas in 2013. Shame on me but this is pretty typical. If you are wondering if it's THAT Molly Ringwald it is and she has a flare for the written word. Sometimes stories that are supposed to link, don't really seem to flow together but Ms. Ringwald makes all of the characters interesting. Plus they do all tie to what I would say is the main story; Greta, Charlotte and Phillip.
Ms. Ringwald has a way of making you both empathetic to Greta and to Phillip as well. Greta thinks that she has the perfect marriage, well maybe not perfect recently but certainly it has been up until now. Whenever a character thinks that, immediately my "impending doom" antennae goes off. You just know it's foreshadowing.
While the troubles that find Greta and Phillip are a bit cliche, it doesn't feel like it. While there is no such thing as a fresh look at infidelity, what's fresh is how it's presented. You get to look at it from all points of view. You see how others view them and how they view themselves. You also peer in on how they both try to pick up the pieces of their shattered life.
There were a few times where the timeline would shift and I would be a little lost. Those were things that should have had better flow but overall it didn't affect my enjoyment of the book.
When It Happens to You is a look at love in all it's various forms: lust, deep love, love for your child(ren) and family. Love is universal but how we express can vary depending on the receiver.
If Ms. Ringwald decides to write another novel, I will definitely be reading it.