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When It Happens to You: A Novel in Stories…

When It Happens to You: A Novel in Stories (edition 2012)

by Molly Ringwald

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Title:When It Happens to You: A Novel in Stories
Authors:Molly Ringwald
Info:It Books (2012), Hardcover, 256 pages
Collections:Your library, Review copies
Tags:read, fiction, review copy, 2012review

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When It Happens to You: A Novel in Stories by Molly Ringwald

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Molly Ringwald's book is a collection of 8 short stories with intertwining characters. These stories focus on love and loss, identity, trust, families and self-introspection. This collection covers a great deal of topics, but is handled deftly by serving them to us in small bites via the short story format. This is a quick read, but the beauty of this short story collection is the ability to savor each story independently and then collectively by spreading them out. ( )
  laona | Mar 19, 2014 |
"When it Happens to You" is a series of short stories that are interconnected from the perspectives of diferent characters in relationship to one another. I love books like this, as they allow the reader to view the emotional lives of different characters and take different perspectives on events as they are retold by other characters. The primary story revolves around a couple on the brink of divorce after the husband is caught cheating. Their daughter is caught up in the conflict and her emotional reactions play out with the neighbor and others in her life. Another short piece involves the daughter's friend, Oliver/Olivia who is a transgendered child, whose mother struggles with how to parent him/her appropriately. Other stories touch on topics such as aging, unresolved conflicts between mothers and daughters, and infertility (and the ethical concerns of embryos). I thought this was a wonderful book which was too short! Molly Ringwald's writing was wonderful, empathic and insightful. I was sorry to see this book come to an end! ( )
  voracious | Oct 9, 2013 |
When It Happens to You is the a mixture of heartbreaking and thought-provoking stories. The lives of the characters all overlap, but not extensively.
There is marriage infidelity, frozen embryos, a financially strained relationship, a drug-addicted actor, and a single mother whose son believes he is a girl. All these life struggles keep you on your toes and holding your breath to see how the characters will react as the novel develops.

I enjoyed this book because I found myself fighting to find my own solutions to the problems in the stories. So many times I thought "What would I do in that situation?" In the end, though not all the problems were resolved, the When It Happens to You stopped each tale in the best way possible.

This was a quick read for; it only took me about a day to finish it. I really liked this book, and am tempted to read it again. ( )
  Shelby_Kuzma | Jun 21, 2013 |
A couple stories into When it Happens to You, it is easy to dismiss Molly Ringwald as nothing more than a celebrity author. Yes, she's a good writer—surprisingly good in fact—but she's not doing anything original. Those first couple stories reminded me all too much of the suppressed-woman-coming-of-age-midlife story that has blanketed literary magazines and been the focus of so many creative writing workshops since the 70s. It's been done, Ms. Ringwald, and while you're good at it, sorry, but you're not as good as the many greats that have preceded you. Two stories down and so many more to go—if they'd continued like this I probably wouldn't have made it.

Then Ringwald surprised me. Out of nowhere she presents one of the most original, heartrending stories I've read in years. Gorgeous. Amazing. Well played in so many regards. “My Olivia” found that special place between my heart and mind that only two other short stories had previously occupied—those having been written by Rabindranath Tagore and Zora Neale Hurston. Very good company to keep, in my opinion. Hello, Ms. Ringwald, and welcome to my world.

After “My Olivia” I knew Ringwald wouldn't be able to top herself. She couldn't. And I was right. But now every thread of my attention was gathering together, receptive to what else she could do. And she certainly pulled some punches. Perhaps the first two stories of this collection were of the same caliber and I just hadn't been expecting it. Perhaps I missed something. I think, however, that Ringwald was setting the stage in those initial stories for everything else she had planned. Aside from “My Olivia,” my favorite piece was “When it Happens to You,” a short, but poignant piece that aptly gives the entire collection its backbone.

Molly Ringwald didn't exceed my expectations as much as she shattered them. A perfect collection? Not at all, but certainly a great writer with a possible future (in writing). Here's to you, Ms. Ringwald: May those who read you because of your name find the beauty in your work and may the literati discover your talents despite your name. ( )
  chrisblocker | May 8, 2013 |
Ringwald employs a unique approach by making this a novel of inter-related short stories about love, infidelity, relationships that define who we are and what we become. Her characters are all so real and the varying perspectives give everyone a chance to find a bit of the what makes us all human. ( )
  lindap69 | Apr 5, 2013 |
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0061809462, Hardcover)

Amazon Best Books of the Month, August 2012: Any lingering Brat Pack associations you may bring to When It Happens to You, Molly Ringwald’s first novel, will rapidly evaporate. Ringwald renders the families and lovers in her intertwined stories with a compassionate eye for the kind of heartbreak that upends reality, as well as a keen sense of the more subtle ways in which trust breaks and mends. Each of her eight stories explores the dynamics of fidelity and betrayal, from “The Harvest Moon”--which illuminates the night a mother realizes the fickle nature of her daughter, her husband, and her own body--to “Mea Culpa,” where we see the erosion of her husband’s desire, to the gut punch of a title story. --Mari Malcolm

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:20:12 -0400)

A collection of interlinked stories that explores the numerous betrayals, big and small, that one grapples with across a lifetime.

(summary from another edition)

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