When It Happens to You

When It Happens to You by Molly Ringwald


Back in September I got to see Molly Ringwald read at the library, and it was pretty awesome. I finally got around to finishing her book last week.

When It Happens to You is a novel in stories, with each story centered around the theme of betrayal. The stories have some characters in common. The main characters are a couple dealing with adultery; also included are their elderly neighbor, the mother of their daughter’s school friend, and the actor that the wife dates during their separation. The links between the stories are loose, but the thread of larger narrative about this couple, as well as the general theme, unify them barely enough. The characters are flawed and interesting, though mostly pretty privileged. They’re selfish and short-sighted, but easy to relate to. The title story is perhaps the most chilling, told in second person from the perspective of a betrayed wife. The language is detailed and satisfying, humorous at times. Flashbacks are rich and well-handled. The ending gives a sense of hope without being hokey. It was an enjoyable read.


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