Monday, March 11, 2013

Book Review: When It Happens To You by Molly Ringwald

Tales of love, loss, and betrayal are at the heart of When It Happens to You, the debut story collection from actress and author Molly Ringwald.

A Hollywood icon, Ringwald defined the teenage experience in the eighties in such classic films as Pretty in PinkThe Breakfast Club, and Sixteen Candles. Now the star of ABC Family’s hit series, The Secret Life of the American Teenager, and author of the bestselling memoir Getting the Pretty Back, Ringwald brings that same compelling candor she displayed in her film roles to the unforgettable characters she has created in this series of linked stories about the particular challenges, joys, and disappointments of adult relationships.

Here are stories that grapple with infertility and infidelity, fame and familial discord, in a magnificent collection that will resonate broadly with readers—from fans of Melissa Banks to Meg Wolitzer to Lorrie Moore. 

My Thoughts

I hate to use this term, but I felt like the book was a chick lit. When I started reading this book I felt like it was for women. I was not really that into the book. It just is not my cup of tea. However, and I do mean however, by the end of the book I thought it was a good read.

This book is a collection of short stories. What really amazes me and what I find to be brilliant is how Molly Ringwald connected all the stories with various characters. That part of the writing was very impressive. I read each story excited to see how it would connect with previous stories and characters. I don't know how one does that. By the end of the book I felt like I had read more of a novel than a collection of short stories. That is good writing!

I found a couple parts of the book to be very powerful. The chapter titled, "When It Happens to You" was a real eye opener. One that I made my wife read. We talked about people we know who we could see this fitting perfectly. It does not fit my marriage so now worries there! But the chapter was powerful.

One line that that could be a spoiler, but stuck out to me was towards the end. I am going to share it now with my final thoughts about the ending. So please don't read any font in blue if you don't want a spoiler.

"You are the kind of man we want to protect our daughter from," she said.  This was powerful and I could not help but feel angry when I finished the book and she was back with him. I don't know how people can stick with someone who has betrayed you so badly. The daughter was so happy and perhaps that is really what matters. I have never been in that situation and never plan on being in that situation, but the full circle of things bothered me greatly. But, love is love and there are things that cannot be explained.

I am glad I read the book. I thank Sony Book Club for forcing me to read this because I never would have touched this book at all. I look forward to chatting with Molly Ringwald as part of the Sony Book Club Reader program as I have some questions and ideas to share.

This is a good read. One you should check out if you are into love, relationships, life, and the power of connections. I did not like it all at first, but by the end I was rather glad I read the book. Any book that makes you think and reflect is a good book by me.
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