Saturday, August 29, 2009

Happens Every Day by Isabel Gilles

I read about Happens Every Day on someone's blog, and since I am always on the lookout for a good memoir, I decided to place a hold on it from my library. Isabel Gilles is the actress who plays Detective Stabler's wie on one of my favorite tv shows, Law and Order: SVU, so that picqued my curiousity even more. A quick but painful read, I give Happens Every Day a B.

Inside cover:
Isabel Gilles had a wonderful life- a handsome, intelligent, loving husband; two glorious toddlers; a beautiful house; the time and place to express all her ebullience and affection and optimism. Suddenly that life is over. Her husband, Josiah, announced he was leaving her and their two young sons.
When Josiah took a teaching job at a Midwestern college, Isabel and their sons moved with him from New York City to Ohio, where Isabel taught acting, through herself into the college community, and delighted in the less-scheduled lives of toddlers raised away from the city. But within a few months, the marriage was over. The life Isabel had made crumbled. "Happens every day." said a friend.
Far from a self-pitying diatribe, Happens Every Day reads like an intimate conversation between friends. Gillies has written a dizzyingly candid, compulsively readable, ultimately redemptive story about love, marriage, family, heartbreak, and the unexpected turns of a life. One the one hand, reading this book is like watching a train wreck. On the other hand, as Gillies herself says, it is abot trying to light a candle instead of cursing the darkness, and loving your life even if it has slipped away. Hers is a remarkable new voice- instinctive, funny, and irresistible.

I do give Ms. Gillies a ton of credit. While her life is falling apart around her, Ms. Gillies keeps a positive attitude (well as positive as one can have) and keeps it together for her sons. She tries all she can in her power to keep her family and marriage together, and when it becomes apparent that she can't, she tries to stay as civil with her husband as she can for her sons. I hated her husband and wanted to rip through the pages and strangle him myself, so perhaps I am not as a good of a person as Ms. Gillies is. I absolutely love her quote, though, of lighting a candle instead of cursing the darkness, and can definitely use some of that spirit right now when dealing with my job. Her attitude is wonderful and I strongly believe that everyone can take something away from the story, whether you are married, single, widowed, or divorced. While Happens Every Day wasn't the best book or memoir I've read, I believe it is one that is worth the time.

In trying to keep with my promise to rotate reading one of my books with a library book, the next one I read will be one of my own. Which book that is, I'm not sure, but I hope it's a good one. I am exhausted for some reason ( I even napped today, which is something I rarely do) but hope to at least start a new book. Happy Reading everyone!


Literary Feline said...

True life stories like this are often inspiring in their own ways, aren't they? I would probably be like you and want to strangle her husband.

I hope things improve for you at work. I've been finding myself extra drained lately too.

Kristie said...

I'm glad to see you up and around Wendy! I hope everything is well with you.

Staci said...

I'm glad to know that I'm not the only one that would like to strangle someone through the pages!!!!

Good review...I'll look for this book at the library! And I'll light a candle just for you tomorrow night!

Kristie said...

Thanks Staci!