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Happens Every Day: An All-Too-True Story Paperback – Bargain Price, March 2, 2010
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From Publishers Weekly
Gillies left her recurring role on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit to follow her poet-professor husband to Oberlin, Ohio, when he got a tenure-track position in the English department. She threw herself into caring for her two sons, renovating an old house and teaching drama part-time—but her idyllic life was shattered when her husband decided he didn't want to be married anymore—or at least, not married to Gillies. (He subsequently wed a fellow professor.) Gillies brings both humor and sorrow to the narration. Despite a tendency to trail off at the end of sentences, which leaves listeners straining to hear the completion of a thought, she gives a brave performance that will have her audience cheering as she pluckily reassembles the pieces of her broken life. A Scribner hardcover (Reviews, Mar. 23). (Mar.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
"Fans of Eat, Pray, Love will devour this book."
John Searles, MSNBC.com
“A memoir so raw you feel like it's your best friend telling you her story.”
“A smart, rueful memoir of love, betrayal and survival.”
O, the Oprah magazine
“You gobble up [Happens Every Day], rooting for the engaging Gillies? A guilty pleasure for readers."
“I couldn't help but admire her bravery in exposing the dark side of her seemingly perfect life in such a good-humored, self-effacing way?. You feel nothing but deepest sympathy.”
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Top customer reviews
Although worthy of many pages, I've decided a multiple page review won't work.
Critics I think are missing the point. Isabel would probably agree with you that she was too "this," or too "that," and she shouldn't have been such a doormat. (Perhaps her ex-husband can use that line in his next poetry class.) This book was all about the bare honest truth, and how much she loves her family.
I am from Isabel's tribe. Episcopalian. Summer place in New England. People in my family say "humdinger." My father used to rake leaves, even though he could have paid someone to do it. Readers have no idea, given the WASP value for privacy and fabricating cool exteriors, how much writing this book must have cost Isabel.
From Isabel's view of the world, it should be enough to work hard, make commitments and keep them, trust the people close to you, love, tell the truth, and do your best. I happen to agree with her, and I admire her for her for this and what she is willing to pay to try and make it so.
A powerful example is when Isabel gets on her knees in the snow in front of the woman taking her family, and begs her to stop. Isabel's values don't allow for the existence of someone so utterly heartless as to put her own needs before those of a young woman, her family, her children, and her marriage. Surely if this other woman understood what is going on, she would back away. Alas, for the second time in a very powerful five minute span toward the end of the story, she finally comes to realize neither her husband, nor the target of her husband's fantasy are able to care about anyone else but themselves.
Isabel Gillies is a remarkable woman. She is beautiful in every way that could ever be important, and a few more that aren't. Her parents and extended family, her friends, her students, and most of all her boys; they are all very fortunate to share her life and her love.
PS: You will enjoy Isabel's sense of humor, much of it self-depreciating.
She is very kind to the two people who inflicted so much pain (a la Daisy and Tom?). Me, I imagine the two lovers (months after Isabel has moved back to New York), sharing a calm Ohio breakfast, newspaper, and coffee... until the news of another new faculty member coming to the Oberlin Engish department, brings a hint of unanticipated excitement - and not just a little fear - into the otherwise bucolic scene...
Gillies' telling of this story is nothing short of riveting. She has the uncanny ability to describe events with such clarity, such openness, that you honestly feel that you are hearing it directly from her over a cup of coffee at the local Starbucks. Gillies tells the story from her point of view after a summary opening of her and Josiah's meeting and marriage (he was married before and cheated on his wife and left a son) and their landing in Ohio. From there, Gillies pretty much goes from event to event until the time when Josiah tells her that he is done with the marriage. She describes her meeting and befriending the college professor that would end up being her children's step-mother. She talks about her own feelings of insecurity and her constant questioning of her self when the niggling at the back of her mind tells her that there is something going on with her husband and this "audrey hepburn-type" woman. What Gillies describes is every happily married woman's nightmare - to be blindsided with the fact that the guy you love, the father of your children wants someone else and is going to act on it.
The book is an important one, I think. Important for Gillies, yes, but startling in its ability to shed light on what truthfully, sadly, does happen every day. Gillies description of how she responded emotionally and physically to her new, albeit, unwanted reality was particularly well done. You can FEEL her pain with her. That's rare for a book to illicit THAT kind of response. Gillies does admit that this is clearly HER side of the story, that her exhusband would have another tale. However, when happily married, in love, having regular, great sex, enjoying the pleasure of two healthy young boys isn't enough for some guys, and when the existence of all those wonderful things does not a stop a young woman from moving in on it, you have to wonder...what the heck? Be afraid happily married gals out there, be very afraid....
If you're experiencing some type of upheaval in life, this would probably be a comforting read, if at least to know you're not alone.
The tone of the book is very straightforward, very down to earth. It doesn't feel forced and there are no unneeded literary flourishes. This is just the bare bones tale of something that truly does happen every day.
It is interesting to see from a distance how we as people can let ourselves fall so fully in love with an idea of a life and can cling to tightly to it. It's eye opening on that level. It feels so raw and real that it becomes easily to put yourself in the shoes of any one of these characters and to hate and hurt and love and suffer as they do. Which I think might be a very beautiful gift to the world.
Most recent customer reviews
Isabel Gillies captures her feelings so perfectly....Read more