Loving Molly Ringwald's Debut Fiction for the Chicago Tribune

Thursday, August 23, 2012

A few months ago, two books showed up at my house for review for the Chicago Tribune, a paper I've had the privilege of writing for over the course of many years.  Both had August publication dates.  Both were intriguing.  The first was by the actress Molly Ringwald, and I, but of course, had corporate work to do.  "I'll just see what this is about," I told myself, but once I opened When It Happens to You, Ringwald's debut novel in stories, I could not stop reading.  The book contains exceptional writing—chilling, precise, moving.  It tells the story of a marriage through interlocking tales.  It is polished work, considered work, and I said as much in the Tribune

This morning I share my first two paragraphs, below.  The rest appears in Printers Row, the weekly book magazine that Elizabeth Taylor launched six months ago.  Filled with reviews, interviews, stories by readers, children's thoughts, trends, this is essential reading for book lovers and can be ordered digitally (by those of us who don't live in Chicago) for just $29/year.  Check out a sample issue here.

Two paragraphs, then, from my Tribune review:

A novel in stories, a good one, is like a well-built house on a breeze-infused day—windows open, doors unlocked.  Stand in the right place, and you’ll feel the stir.  You’ll see surfaces give way to shadows, sunlight pool and recede.  You’ll see that flicker just beyond—in the far room, at the turn of the stairs, back among the orchids in the broad bay window.  The floor is solid.  The walls are plumb.  Little else is absolute.

When It Happens to You, the first book-length fiction by the actress Molly Ringwald, is a well-made house—thoughtfully designed, conscientiously crafted, open to the intrigues of weather.  A fraying marriage stands at its core—a philandering husband, a wounded wife, an angry six-year-old daughter, and a suite of frozen embryos.  The old woman next door, a playmate’s mom, a fallen TV personality, a young violin teacher, and a cross-dressing child will all, somehow, be implicated in the familial mess—or feel the reverberating consequences.  Regret will hang heavy, but it will not cure. 


Serena said...

This is a great recommendation from you! Perfect fit for me. I will have to order a copy.

Melissa Sarno said...

I've been reading about this book everywhere! Sooo cool you got to review it.

Amy said...

I've seen this book everywhere, but I'm often not interested in celebrity books? But this seems to be really good and also somehow I missed that it was fiction, lol.

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