When It Happens to You: A Novel in Stories

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9780061809460: When It Happens to You: A Novel in Stories

Tales of love, loss, and betrayal are at the heart of When It Happens to You, the debut story collection from actress and author Molly Ringwald.

A Hollywood icon, Ringwald defined the teenage experience in the eighties in such classic films as Pretty in Pink, The Breakfast Club, and Sixteen Candles. Now the star of ABC Family’s hit series, The Secret Life of the American Teenager, and author of the bestselling memoir Getting the Pretty Back, Ringwald brings that same compelling candor she displayed in her film roles to the unforgettable characters she has created in this series of linked stories about the particular challenges, joys, and disappointments of adult relationships.

Here are stories that grapple with infertility and infidelity, fame and familial discord, in a magnificent collection that will resonate broadly with readers—from fans of Melissa Banks to Meg Wolitzer to Lorrie Moore. 

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Review:

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

From the Back Cover:

When it happens to you, you will be surprised. That thing they say about how you knew all the time, but just weren't facing it? That might be the case, but nevertheless, there you will be.

Molly Ringwald mines the complexities of modern relationships in this gripping and nuanced collection of interlinked stories. Writing with a deep compassion for human imperfection, Ringwald follows a Los Angeles family and their friends and neighbors while they negotiate the hazardous terrain of everyday life—revealing the deceptions, heartbreak, and vulnerability familiar to us all.

In "The Harvest Moon," a stay-at-home mom grapples with age, infertility, and an increasingly distant husband. In "Ursa Minor," a former children's television star tries to rebuild his life after being hospitalized for "exhaustion." An elderly woman mourns the loss of her husband and her estranged relationship with her daughter in "The Little One." In "My Olivia," a single mother finds untapped reserves of strength to protect her flamboyant six-year-old son who wishes only to wear dresses and be addressed as Olivia. And in the devastating title story, a betrayed wife chronicles her pain and alienation, leading to an eviscerating denouement.

As the lives of these characters converge and diverge in unexpected ways, Ringwald reveals a startling eye for the universality of loss, love, and the search for connection. An unflinching yet poignant examination of the intricacies of the human heart, When It Happens to You is an auspicious literary debut.

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