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Happens Every Day: An All-Too-True Story

Happens Every Day: An All-Too-True Story

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Happens Every Day: An All-Too-True Story

évaluations:
4/5 (46 évaluations)
Longueur:
247 pages
3 heures
Éditeur:
Sortie:
Mar 24, 2009
ISBN:
9781439148570
Format:
Livre

Description

Isabel Gillies 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 was over. Her husband, Josiah, announced that 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, threw 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. On the one hand, reading this book is like watching a train wreck. On the other hand, as Gillies herself says, it is about 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.
Éditeur:
Sortie:
Mar 24, 2009
ISBN:
9781439148570
Format:
Livre

À propos de l'auteur

Isabel Gillies is a New York Times bestselling author of Happens Every Day, A Year And Six Seconds, Starry Night, and Cozy. Her writing has been published in Vogue, The New York Times, Real Simple, Cosmopolitan, GOOP, and Saveur. A lifelong New Yorker and actress for many years, she lives in Manhattan with her husband, three kids and two dogs.

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Happens Every Day - Isabel Gillies

Acknowledgments

Part One

Isabel

1

One late August afternoon in our new house in Oberlin, Ohio, my husband, Josiah, took it upon himself to wallpaper the bathroom with pictures of our family. Over the years, we had collected an enormous number of framed pictures. Some were generations old and really should be called photographs; like the one of Josiah’s grandfather, a Daniel Day-Lewis–like, strong-looking man, sitting in profile on a porch, casually surrounded by all his family, including my father-in-law, Sherman, at age ten. I always thought that picture would have been a good album cover for a southern rock band like Lynyrd Skynyrd. There was one of my great-grandmothers looking beautiful, rich, and Bostonian on her wedding day in 1913. There was a picture of my mother sitting on stairs at Sarah Lawrence College in Jackie O sunglasses and pigtails. Numerous black-and-white pictures of various family dogs.

My grandparents on my mother’s side always had somewhere between two and six black labs around at any given time. There were also two St. Bernards, one named McKinley and the one before that, Matterhorn. They lived in Croton, New York, on the Hudson River, on Quaker Ridge Road and belonged to that John Cheever group of eccentric intellectuals that had a little extra money, mostly from prior generations, and a lot of time on their hands. My grandparents and John Cheever used to write letters to each other in the voices of their Labradors. Seriously. My grandfather had the mother, Sadie (one of the great Labradors, he would say in his Brahmin accent), and Mr. Cheever had the daughter, Cassiopeia. Dogs are important in my family. But in addition to dogs my grandparents also had a raccoon, Conney, who would sit on one’s shoulder during drinks and beg for scotch-coated ice cubes; a toucan; a sheep named Elizabeth; and, for a short time, two lion cubs. It sounds like they were vets or they lived on a farm, or they were nuts, but really they just loved animals and birds. The house that my mother grew up in was big and white with lots of lawn. They had a mimeograph in the living room that my grandmother Mimi knew how to operate and, as a family, they created The Quaker Ridge Bugle, which was later printed as a little local paper. My grandmother was an artist. She mainly painted and drew birds. My brother Andrew and I now have them on our walls. I remember her as very beautiful but thin. She wore long braids and black socks with sandals. She and my grandfather, who was a photographer among other things, lived in Guatemala later in their life, so I remember her shrouded in lots of brightly colored striped ponchos. In her day, though, she looked like a fey Katharine Hepburn. Like my grandfather, she was from a nice old American family. She was an odd bird. She was an intellectual, a good writer of letters, and also was probably one of the first anorexics. She rebelled against her aristocratic, proper upbringing as much as she could by becoming an artist and leading a somewhat alternative life filled with books and chaos. She spent many hours in her studio alone, away from her children, whom she didn’t really know what to do with. My mother, the eldest, ended up running the show a bit, which is probably why she is such an organizational dynamo now. It sounds a little looney, and it was, my mother says.

Among the pictures Josiah hung on the bathroom wall was one of my father shaking hands at an Upper West Side street fair when he ran for New York City Council in 1977. He didn’t win the election, but my memory of that is not as strong as my memory of his photograph plastered on the front of the Eighty-sixth Street crosstown bus that I took to school. I’ll never forget the image of my father bounding toward me, his hand strongly gesturing forward, as I got out my bus pass. ARCH GILLIES CITY COUNCIL AT LARGE. I thought he should have won. As far as I am concerned my father really should have been the president of the United States. He can see the big picture and he is fair. His grandparents were Scottish immigrants. His parents were of modest means but made a sturdy, dependable, nice life for their only son in Port Washington, Long Island. My grandfather was in the navy, and by hook or by crook, having never gone to college, he made his way up the ranks to rear admiral. When he found himself surrounded by other high-ranking officers he learned that they had all gone to something called boarding school. So he came home on leave one day and told my grandmother that they would only have one child, my father, and he would go to school at a place called Choate, a school in Connecticut where a colleague had gone. So my father, who thought he would do what all his other friends did, work at La Guardia Airport, was sent to Choate, which led him on a very successful path. His life took a different turn. He went on to Princeton, where he was on the student council and president of all the eating clubs. He helped change their policies so that all students were eligible to join the eating clubs. He has run things ever since. My parents met on Rockefeller’s 1968 presidential campaign. He was the finance director and my mother was the office manager. At the end of the long days they would have a drink in the office together. I had the scotch and she had the rocks, he would say as he gave my mother a wink.

Also among the sea of photographs was a snapshot of Josiah and his brother, ages four and five, leaning against their father, who was driving somewhere in the South—not a seat belt on anyone. There was another of Josiah’s mother, Julia, holding hands with her husband, John, Josiah’s stepfather, whose other hand was linked in a chain with four children. One of the children was an eight-year-old Josiah. They were walking across a lawn in Palm Beach in crisp white shorts and brightly colored Izods. Everybody matched.

There were old framed Christmas cards from both of our families—lots of gangly, long-haired boy and girl teenagers standing in front of various mountains in Georgia and on rocky beaches in Dark Harbor, Maine. Both of us have parents who had been married more than once, so we both have an array of step and half and real siblings that we love very much. The titles that came before the word brother or sister never mattered much.

There was a black-and-white picture of my girlfriends from high school at a Grateful Dead show in Providence, Rhode Island. The slightly curved picture in the frame gave away the fact that I had developed it myself in a photography class at RISD. And there was one of Josiah in a crew shell at his boarding school looking focused. Josiah often made fun of the fact that he was positioned in the middle of the boat to serve as weight, the meat, rather than being placed in the front as the coxswain, the brains of the boat, who navigates the race. Out of the eight rowers, though, Josiah was the one who stood out. When someone in the picture looks like Adonis, it’s hard not to notice.

There was a large silver framed picture of me and Josiah walking down the aisle on our wedding day. We got married at Christmastime. I wanted the wedding to feel like a New York Christmas party, so there were paperwhites everywhere. We ate chicken potpie and coconut cake. And then there were many, many photographs of our three boys. Josiah had a son, Ian, from his first marriage, whom I met when he was three. Ian lives in Texas with his mother and is the spitting image of Josiah, dark curly hair and almond eyes that remind me of a sparrow. My favorite picture of him is in black and white and was taken on a pristine beach in the South. It’s almost annoying it’s so beautiful, but he is wearing a T-shirt with a fierce shark on it that makes the whole thing palatable. Josiah and I have two boys, Wallace, age three on the day that Josiah was bathroom decorating, and James, who was sixteen months old. Both names were in our family trees, but Wallace we came to because we were watching Braveheart while I was pregnant. Like I said, I am Scottish. The boys are fair, their coloring more like mine. Josiah is dark. I think of Wallace as the sun: bright, vibrant, and warm and James as the moon: round, steady, and funny. James even likes colder baths. Wallace, like me, wants to be scalded.

We had been hauling all these pictures around with us in boxes. One reason for that was because Josiah was an English professor and we had moved from one college town to another for a number of years. The other was because we were both pretty big WASPs and in our worlds it was looked down upon to have too many beautiful pictures of one’s own family ostentatiously displayed in frames around the house. My mother said it was okay to have small framed pictures on your personal desk (she gets everything printed in 3 x 5), but anything more than that was showy and, as she would say, too much. I always felt sort of sad about this, that there wasn’t more evidence of our happy family around for people to see—but I never questioned it. Most of the advice and direction my mother gives I take, but there are a few things I have thrown in the garbage. The picture thing I followed like a good girl, but my mother also thinks cars should be spotless; I like mine to look like my purse. She has shoe polish in brown, black, cordovan, and white and all the brushes and flannels to use them. I have never bought a can in my life. Josiah felt the same way as my mother did about framed pictures. He thought it was embarrassing and silly to take up space with big goopy silver frames filled with frozen happiness, so that he did what he did in the bathroom was mind-blowing.

I am from New York and Josiah is from Florida, where his mother and stepfather lived, and Georgia, where his father and stepmother lived. And although he feels like a northeastern guy, mostly because he went to boarding school in New England at age thirteen, actually he is 100 percent southern.

We were living in Oberlin, Ohio, because Josiah was teaching poetry at the college. Oberlin is a funky, tiny, political, young hot spot in the middle of northeast Ohio that vibed New York City to me a lot because most of the students who went to Oberlin College were from the East Coast if not New York City itself. But it was in Ohio—and it was rural and it was minuscule. A faculty member said that in the summer, when the students were gone, it felt like living in Central Park with no people—and that was kind of right. For the record, I absolutely loved it.

We had gotten the job (in academics you end up saying we even if it actually isn’t we, because you move around so much together from job to job that one person slowly loses his or her identity) right after I gave birth in Cambridge, Massachusetts, to our son James Thacher. Because of our chaotic life with a two-year-old, a newborn, a dog, and two cats, I ended up not going out to Ohio to check it out before we moved. I had faith in my dream of a bucolic, happy, secure, academic life. It’s a great, great dream if you have it in your head right. Here’s what was in my head. I had married a very good-looking (think Gregory Peck), brilliant (most people hate the word brilliant to describe a person, but I frankly can’t think of any other word to do it—at our wedding Josiah’s best friend described his brain as a cathedral) childhood friend that I had re-met at his sister’s wedding in Maine. As six-and seven-year-olds we had sailed in little bathtub boats on the Penobscot Bay together, but at the time of his sister’s wedding he was getting his Ph.D. in poetry at Harvard and I was being a New York girl in New York. I had not seen him in fifteen years. He was Heathcliff with an earring. It sounds romantic to be married to an actual poetry scholar, but truthfully he never recited poetry to me much or wrote me a poem. It’s hard to admit, but I don’t really like poetry or jazz. I just don’t get it a lot of the time. If someone (and Josiah once in a blue moon would do this) teaches me through every line of a poem I can get it, but it’s rare that it hits me in the gut the way a Rolling Stones song does, or the unfinished Pietà that I saw in Florence when I was fifteen. Right at the start of our love affair he did give me one of the only poems I do recognize as sublime, a John Ashbery poem called At North Farm.

Somewhere someone is traveling furiously toward you,

At incredible speed, traveling day and night,

Through blizzards and desert heat, across torrents, through narrow passes.

But will he know where to find you,

Recognize you when he sees you,

Give you the thing he has for you?

We fell in love in two hours at that wedding on a rare night so foggy it felt like when I was a girl in the 1970s, when it seemed to be foggy all summer. Maine has lost a lot of its fog.

The day after Sarah’s wedding was the same day that Princess Diana died in a car crash in Paris. I had hardly slept during the night. I think sudden love fills you with adrenaline, making it impossible for your body to function properly. I heard the news of the princess’s death in the morning, but because of my giddy excitement about Josiah, I didn’t give myself a chance to take in the sad news until a few hours later when I drove over to meet him for a walk. When I was paused at the stop sign at the end of our road, a wave of grief came over me and I cried for Diana. She was so young, but just that much older than me that I was always taken by her, like you are with your very best, prettiest babysitter. It didn’t even occur to me then that she had such small children. Sixteen years earlier, my mother and I had gotten up at four in the morning to watch Diana and Prince Charles get married. When she died she was at the start of something new, like I was then.

For those first three days of September, Josiah and I walked and sat on the beach for hours and talked about what had happened during the years we had missed each other. (It turned out that during his twenties he avoided many summers in Maine. His first wife didn’t like it up there so much.) He cooked salmon for me one night and mushroom pasta another. Salmon and mushrooms are the only two foods in the world I don’t like. I confessed to him I wasn’t nuts about salmon, wanting to be honest, but the next night I ate the mushrooms, not wanting to seem fussy. We went sailing in his parent’s 12 (a small, pretty wooden boat) and kissed every chance we got. When it was time for us to go back to our lives, we sat on the rocks at the ferry dock with our datebooks and a thermos of tea Josiah had brought. We planned every single weekend of the upcoming fall. One weekend he would drive down in his white Subaru station wagon to New York. (I was living in Williamsburg in an apartment that had the largest rosebush in the United States. The curator of the botanical gardens came to prune it himself it was such a treasure.) And the next I would take Amtrak up to Cambridge to stay in his apartment, where he allegedly had roommates, though I never met them, and four cats, whom I did meet. I was casually dating an architect, but Josiah told me to stop immediately because I was his now and he was mine. I was flooded with love. He was forceful (I am going to make you dinner tonight and then we will play Scrabble; I will call you at two thirty and if you aren’t there I’ll try every minute after until you are) and passionate—we had sex for the first time on a rocky beach in the middle of the day. He was a better cook than I am, and when he was ready to serve the meal, the kitchen was almost spotless. At twenty-eight, he had been married and divorced already, something that should have been a red flag, but instead I saw him as fearless and romantic.

He and his first wife, Samantha, were married right out of Yale, so young that it was easy for me to write it off as a mistake. I even ignored the red flag that he had left her when she was pregnant to fool around with Edith the weirdo (who ended up plaguing me throughout our marriage). His wife moved to her family’s house in Dallas, where she stayed, had the baby, divorced Josiah, and later married a really nice lawyer with white hair. Josiah went religiously every month to see his son. It all felt a tad complicated, but it didn’t matter to me because I knew how much he loved me. He was nuts about me. It was one of those times that you feel no need to eat, but do together constantly in sexy restaurants, making out after until they close. I felt suddenly grown-up. He knew me everywhere. He knew me at every time of my life. He knew my parents and I his for our entire lives. I felt seen and understood and accepted. He said he wanted to be by my side forever and there was nothing I could do that would ever make him go away. I had met the man I was to have a big, big future with and he knew it and wanted it even more than I did. On the eleventh day after his sister’s wedding, in my kitchen, he told me he was in love with me and three weeks after that we had a big conversation in the Public Garden in Boston and he said that Octavia was a name he always loved if we ever had a

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Ce que les gens pensent de Happens Every Day

4.0
46 évaluations / 20 Avis
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Avis des lecteurs

  • (5/5)
    Happens Every Day reveals the sadness, pain, and extreme disappointment Isabel experiences as she struggles to go on with daily life while her world crumbles around her. It lays bare the loneliness and devastation of being suddenly and completely abandoned by the person she is closest to, and it records the process—a series of profound moments, really—through which she comes to understand exactly what it means that her marriage is over.Read my full review at The book Lady's Blog.
  • (5/5)
    Great book about marriage and divorce, but with a happy ending. However, I cant stand Isabels character sometimes. She comes off too desperate.. But given her situation, I guess anyone will be too..
  • (5/5)

    1 personne a trouvé cela utile

    This book was like a long talk with a good friend. I was pulled right in from the start and felt everything she was going through.

    1 personne a trouvé cela utile

  • (5/5)

    1 personne a trouvé cela utile

    It's just good. Thoroughly enjoyed and, since it's a true story of love, loss and a hint at love again, this was easy to identify with and accept. My only criticism: I am desperate for more.

    1 personne a trouvé cela utile

  • (3/5)
    Quick read about what happens when the author's marriage falls apart out of the blue and how she deals with. Fast read.
  • (3/5)

    1 personne a trouvé cela utile

    As it turns out, I liked this book and the author much more at the beginning of her story than I did by then end. By the end I felt manipulated by her and the way she told her story. Although she admits that there were red flags she should have seen, she still felt completely blindsided when her husband announced he "couldn't do this anymore". She not only chose to ignore all signs that he was involved with the new professor, but she willfully threw them together. I found it less and less believable that she was so completely in love with Oberlin, Ohio, although it may see quite bucolic in retrospect. She paints herself as a woman left with no choices, but I just don't buy that. She had a teaching job at the college that she seemed to enjoy. She and her husband both came from enormously privileged backgrounds. If she had wanted to remain in Ohio so that her 3 year old and 18 month old would have a chance to be with their father more frequently, I feel certain she could have done it. Instead she moved back in with her parents in their Central Park West flat, even though they had retired and wanted to move to Florida. I think she wanted to return to New York and hopefully her acting career and old friends and new opportunities rather than get hay in her hair in Ohio. Ultimately I found her to be self-centered and manipulative. Sorry, Isabel.

    1 personne a trouvé cela utile

  • (3/5)

    1 personne a trouvé cela utile

    I think the author wants the reader to feel her outrage over the unfairness of her life. I didn't get that because, in fact, people do divorce everyday and one would hope that there would be more important things on their minds than their perfect new house with designer wallpaper. Not to be unfair - one mention of the WIlliam Morris wallpaper fine - but the page after page reminders of the beautiful house got nausiating. Also many women don't have summer houses on islands in Maine to retreat to where they can lick thier wounds at the yacht club, nor do thier parents have apartments overlooking Central Park in NYC. Gillies experience may have been more universal to the reader if she hadn't seperated herself from the rest of us with her privledge.

    1 personne a trouvé cela utile

  • (4/5)
    Isabel Gillies never saw the end of her marriage coming, although she admits that she may have ignored some potential danger signs, such as the knowledge that her husband Josiah had left his first wife - who was pregnant with their child - for someone else (not Isabel). And even when she was forced to see it - when Josiah told her directly, more than once, that he couldn’t be in their marriage anymore - she made every effort to avoid looking. But eventually one has to see what’s really there - and what’s on its way out.Gillies is frank, forward, and not always particularly self-flattering in her depiction of this extremely difficult time. Happens Every Day was a painful, too-close-for-comfort read for me, because so much of what she describes about the last few months of her first marriage is shockingly similar to what happened in my own (although mine dragged it out a whole lot longer). My first marriage ended nearly a decade ago and I’ve processed it all by now, but there are things about that breakup that I’ll never forget, and the emotions associated with that time can still be stirred up when I’m exposed to reminders. A few particulars about Isabel and Josiah’s situation were especially, and uncomfortably, familiar. I had the sense that at times Isabel was fighting to stay married, period, more than trying to stay married to Josiah specifically; and despite Josiah’s repeated declarations that he “couldn’t do this anymore” and efforts to avoid being around Isabel whenever possible, it took him a while to get around to actually leaving. But he did leave, although I don’t believe that the new faculty member was the only reason why. Having been there myself has not changed my belief that relationships can’t be broken up by a third party unless they were shaky to begin with. However, I do believe that the third party can be a catalyst that forces one or both members of a couple to see that they really are shaky. These days, very few people are likely to ask me how my first marriage ended, but should it happen, I’m inclined to give them a copy of Happens Every Day - it would give them the framework, and I’d just have to fill in the differences and details. Sadly, it does happen every day.
  • (3/5)
    This true story looks into the mind and heart of a woman who is told that the marriage she had dreamed of and the man that she loves is over. She allows us in her thoughts and is opening honest telling her story. The first few pages made me feel a connection with her. She had my attention and was telling me everything that was on her mind. She needed a friend that she could trust to sit back and just listen to her.What she went through does happen every day, but it happens differently for everyone. I didn't always agree on her way of handling things. I didn't agree of her wanting to hold on to something that was already lost, but then again I am not her. She gave permission to others to deal with it their own way. She admitted that she wasn't perfect, she could have done things better, and tried harder, but in the end would that have made a difference.It was a good read but I wouldn't say it was a "must read".
  • (3/5)
    Happens Every Day reminded me of the kind of article I like best in the magazine Vanity Fair. You know, the scandal about some society couple who broke each other's hearts in the '50's. There are photographs of the great clothes they wore and the various houses they lived in. If the subjects weren't so glamorous, their predicaments would not be at all fun to read about. In fact, I had deep misgivings about continuing the book after Gillies referred early on to the "It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness" quote as if it were something she had just heard and had to pass on. Thankfully, the rest of this exploration of the collapse of her marriage was told from her own emotions and observations, which were deeply felt enough to make me hate her husband, even if author Isabel Gillies wasn't as intellectually sharp as his new love interest. Gillies wisely painted a detailed picture of her life right before her husband told her he wanted to leave the marriage. The description of their William Morris wallpaper and the bathroom covered with prized family photographs drew me into the cheeriness of the house the couple had just bought to live in with their adorable blond sons, three and eighteen months. Even though I knew it was coming, I was still rocked by Josiah's dropping his bomb on Isabel out of the blue. Too late in the book, Isabel discloses that Josiah had left another wife with another son before her. Maybe that reflects a little more of Isabel's occasional cluelessness, which lets Josiah a tiny bit more off the hook, but not much. I certainly can't fault Isabel for not dwelling on the effect losing a father has on children of divorce. It was clearly too painful to do more than touch on the subject in the writing; it was excruciating to read the merest hint of their sadness. I found myself wanting to know more about the couple and googled them. What I found out about Isabel's background as of an offspring of the New York intellegensia filled some of the gaps in the memoir. Her father was the head of the foundation that oversees Andy Warhol's work, and her mother was the director of the now-defunct Brooke Astor Foundation. This was the life she would flee back to after the marriage was terminated. It's to Isabel's writing credit that she made made Oberlin's academia as interesting--and in some ways infinitely more pleasant--than New York. Her outsider's perspective captured a well-rounded picture of the elite of her poet/professor husband's milieu. She even managed to be fairly charitable toward the Other Woman, although reading in the epilog that the latter is now her sons' stepmother makes that understandable. I've left out Isabel's claim to fame--that she played Elliot's wife on TV's Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and was in the movie Metropolitan. I found the latter more interesting, as it chronicles the doom of the haute bourgeoisie, the class Isabel herself represents. The reader is able to see that Isabel gets some of her ability to survive and ultimately prosper from the acting class she teaches. Her interior work as an actor and an acting teacher shows a depth of perception and the power to communicate it to others that makes me want to read the sequel about putting her life back together. And it's not just because she's back in New York.
  • (5/5)
    Real, raw, and emotional, Gillies takes her readers on a tour of her former marriage. Though she allows the reader into her innermost thoughts, Gillies manages to tell her tale without sounding whiny or pitiful. I finished this book amazed at her strength, her honesty, and her ability to keep her shattered marriage from destroying her life. Beautiful prose, heartbreaking story, wonderful book.
  • (4/5)
    It's not very often that I get a book that I can't put down...you know the kind that has your family asking, "What are you reading?" because you just can't look up from the page. Well, "Happens Every Day - an all-too true story," was just that. It's a sad story but told in an "I will survive" kind of attitude and is truly a story that has happened to so many. Gillies writes as if you are her best friend that she hasn't seen in years and she is telling you her story. It is tender, excruciating at times but told from the heart and I think everyone can identify with that kind of pain at one time or another in their lives. Unlike some of the other "chick-lit" books I've read this summer, this book has grit, Gillies shares the good, the bad, and the ugly.I would highly recommend this book to anyone wanting to escape for a few hours into someone else's life...yes, it's torturous at times but it's written with the kind of guts and soul baring that makes it impossible to put down. Whether you are married, single, or just building a relationship this is a book that will speak to you...scream to you...actually, cherish every single day as it very well may be your last. Don't let me scare you from this great read, as all good stories do, this one ends happily and you wish Gillies would just keep on writing about what happens next!Yes, this is one I would run out to your local "independent" bookstore to buy! It's a keeper!
  • (5/5)
    I am so envious, which is ridiculous given the nature of this book, that the author was able to put this out as her first book. Watching her marriage fall apart, but realizing, as she says...if someone really wants to go, all you can do is watch them leave. She has humor, even during the worst of it.
  • (4/5)
    Isabel and Josiah live in a college town in Ohio, raising their two young sons and teaching classes - he, poetry and she, acting. They purchase their dream house and see their lives moving the in right direction. Suddenly, out of no where as far as Gillies can detect, Josiah announces that he is finished with the marriage. In a flash the couple goes from planning their future to separated, with Josiah immediately engaging in a relationship with a colleague and friend. Gillies tells of how she struggled to understand the turn her life was taking and how to cope with the decisions made by her spouse and the ramifications they have for her and her boys.Quote: "I often credit Paul Simon and Nora Ephron for getting me through my divorce, but right up on top of the list would also have to be the sleeping drug Ambien. I simply could not have done what I did without it. I should write the company a letter. You can't save your life and be exhausted at the same time."I really wanted to like this book more since I am a fan of the author, an actress on Law and Order: SVU. While it was a quick, decent read it wasn't as engaging or deep as it could have been. Instead it just seems to skim the surface of the events leading to the dissolution of Gillies' marriage. In the first few pages Gillies says one of the reason she wrote her story is because friends told her she wrote good emails, and the whole book has that feeling. Like friends chatting, but it doesn't really transcend that level. I would actually be more interested in reading a follow up memoir to find out how the bizarre epilogue comes about. The very short afterword seems to negate half the feelings we were left with near the books' end. As the book closes, Gillies says she will never speak to the other woman again, in the paragraph of epilogue Gillies sings the woman's praises and says how much she likes her. In the book she holds out hope for her marriage long after her husband checks out, completely crushed about losing the love of her life, in the epilogue she thanks the actual love of her life, her second husband. It's not that I'm not glad to hear she found happiness so quickly, but the fast mentions leave me hoping for a sequel to hear how all these changes came about. I think it could be more interesting than the original.
  • (5/5)
    Just a terrific book. That she can write so beautifully and naturally and evocatively about her husband suddenly deciding to leave her with two small children, so soon after it happened, is amazing - and that she was able to do it with so much balance and actual kindness to her ex-husband, without sacrificing the emotional pain she went through. Fascinating portrayal of what seems to be quite an insular and claustrophobic academic faculty environment at Oberlin.
  • (3/5)
    The other reviews give good overviews of the story: woman who has incredible romance with her husband and then loses him to an affair. Inherently, this story is self-absorbed; its a memior about a heart-wrenching, life-changing event. I expected that, but I found it difficult to sympathize with Gillies, even though her situation was terrible. The book is a quick read and is very conversational. It's probably a good beach read.
  • (4/5)
    “I’m not a writer but I have been told I write good emails, which has led me to…tell this story.” Isabel Gillies is correct, she is not a writer, and It Happens Every Day is pieced together like a long email—conversationally. Her style is an effective illusion of girl talk that allows her to express the disappointment she felt while her marriage to a college poetry professor collapsed. Her story of betrayal is a nightmare for any wife, and many pages are read in absolute dread of the known outcome. After reading her memoir, one feels they know Gillies, and upon consideration she seems like a real pain in the ass. One instance she has her weeping for about a half an hour in front of her children and a babysitter because her husband, Josiah, hadn’t made dinner plans to commemorate their first night in a new town. She also makes comments like this, “Because I was on the cover of Seventeen magazine when I was fourteen and I am an actress, I depend on the fact that, objectively, I am good looking. Tall, blond hair, odd looks but undeniably attractive.” The statement is irritating on many levels beginning with the fact that the second sentence simply isn’t one. It could also be argued that Gillies repeatedly threw an attractive colleague at her husband as some sort of bizarre test which sadly he fails.But I can’t help but like Gillies and every point one can make against Gillies only serves to make her more real. “Hiding is the last thing I do. I have no secrets,” she explains. Her candidness serves her well. Her take though admittedly one-sided is moving, and she tells it with remarkable grace.
  • (5/5)
    The perfect kind of memoir: casually told, as if among friends; illuminating without falling into the too-much-information category; heartbreakingly real. I felt Gillies' desperation, sadness, anger, and frustration and read the book in a day.
  • (4/5)
    For the fans of Law & Order: SVU - Isabel Gillies had a recurring role on the show playing Kathy Stabler. While at a wedding, Gillies reconnects with her childhood friend Josiah (I believe that's a pseudonym), and the two initiate a relationship and eventually get married. Moving around to accommodate Josiah's job as a college professor, the couple eventually winds up in Oberlin, Ohio with their two young boys. Worlds away from the hustle and bustle of New York City, Gillies nevertheless builds a life for herself and her family in the quiet town. They buy and renovate a house, make friends, and Gillies even begins teaching acting at the college. All of a sudden, Josiah announces that he's leaving Isabel and their two sons, and that he just "can't do it" anymore.Reading Happens Every Day was like sneaking a peak at someone's diary; Gillies left out nothing in describing the nitty gritty details of her marriage and subsequent divorce. The result is a heart-wrenching story that made me want to reach out and tell Gillies, "Oh no! Don't do that!", only to realize that I'd probably do the same thing given the situation. In the end though, Gillies' story is one of survival, hope, and happy endings.
  • (3/5)
    I heard this book reviewd on NPR and it sounds like a fast and charming read. It was, both, but not as good as I expected from the review. It is the story of Isabel Gillies marriage to and eventual divorce from Josiah, the sadness and struggles that happen when a marriage that you believe to be good and strong and loving suddenly is discovered to be none of these things, the heartbreak when your husband, whom you love with all your heart, suddenly insists he cannot live with you any longer and it turns out he is having an affair with a new professor whom you have befriended and like very much. The general unfairness of life when you've gotten to be just where you want, have two young children, and things suddenly and unexpectedly fall apart.