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Happens Every Day: An All-Too-True Story
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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.

Customer Reviews:

  • Utter self absorption
    This self indulgent tome makes me think that the husband stayed as long as he could stand being with this self-absorbed, superficial, narcissistic whiner. In addition, I am offended by her consistant references to the amount of wine she drinks or the Ambien she takes right before she goes off to nurse the baby. It wasn't possible to read this book without rolling one's eyes. I can't even give it away to a friend, it is a waste of time....more info
  • Gave it an extra star because I read it quick
    I can forgive the fact that the author was out of touch with society; thinking that they were regular middle-class but actually came from wealthy stock (by most people's standards). I can forgive that she was annoyingly materialistic and shallow at times. And I can even forgive her general discomfort of people who aren't like her. Isabel Gillies' pain comes through in a way that is gripping and haunting that is why many people (including myself) have read this book in a matter of hours. So many people have been betrayed by their spouses which is why this tale speaks to so many. The prose in which she used may not have been fancy but it did not diminsh the message and if anything, her simple prose was more effective in reaching a wider audience.

    I didn't have a problem with Gillies sounding too "cheerful" as some have said. I thought the tone of the book was very direct and the pace of the book moved swiftly. Gillies portrayed herself as somemone who has come to terms with the events in her life in a healthy way.

    The ending of the book was a huge let down for me. Her messed-up-in-the-head husband leaves her for an equally messed up but stylish woman. They end up getting married and all the reader is left with is that Gillies found "the love of her life." That is no epilogue! Oh, so Gillies met some guy and now everything is ok because the new wife treats her kids well and she found a new guy. Its mind-blowing. I feel that Isabel lost a great opportunity to tell the reader what she has learned from this and how it affected her and her boys. How did it affect her relationship with her parents? How did she re-invent her new life from the ashes of Josiah's abandonment? She could have reached so many women and men who have been dumped by their spouse. But since Gillies met a new guy, it doesn't matter. That was the culmination of the entire book and it truly disapppointed me.

    As for Josiah & what's her face, what can you say? Josiah has a track record of leaving 2 wives, and his new wife thinks she can fix him. Good luck honey! Josiah comes from bad DNA; from a dad who did the exact same thing to his mom. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree. Let's see if the new wife writes a book about Josiah. ...more info
  • a revenge-served-cold-fantasy's fantasy
    i read this book probably for the same reason a lot of other people did or will - i heard it reviewed on NPR by maureen corrigan. she said it was one of those you read all at once, because you can't stop - true. i stayed up until about 3 a.m last night with it. there are a lot of reviews that will address the literary value or lack thereof, the writer's skill or lack thereof, and on in that vein. i will let them handle that.

    what i find remarkable and frankly incredible is the way this woman - the author - has been able to pull off one of the greatest presentations of cold revenge on a silver platter i have ever read.(something with a fine pedigree, tiffany's perhaps, or the like - if all the label dropping in the book is any indication.) it takes about twenty seconds or less with google to find out the scoundrel's real name and the real identity of the dread other woman. google *their* names and who do you get? isabel gillies. masterful. the husband and his consort, portrayed as such creeps, are english professors both - one assumes a certain love affair with books therefore - and here is the jilted former wife, on the new york times bestsellers list. who knows how that will play out in the future, how the real live sons of the author ( to whom she dedicated the book, another rapier thrust moment, see book) will appreciate or not the public airing of their parents' messy divorce, but that's not anyone's business. unless the author decides to make it so again. i give it five stars just for the audacity. she is an actress, and she seems to be acting herein - isn't everyone's retelling of their own history tinged with more than a little dramatic re-write? but i sit stunned at the aplomb disguised as desperation that it must have taken to avenge her humiliation so publicly. wow. a roman a clef left for them to find after you have gone cold is one thing - one about people with whom you will be dealing for the rest of your life is quite another. i can say i will be curious about how it plays out twenty years from now - again, not really any of my business, but... they say the books are flying off the shelves in oberlin. no doubt! ...more info
    "Happens every day," said a friend. The key here is the "friend" who said this is the one who steals her husband. This memoir reads more like a story than a typical autobiography. This type of story could have gone horribly wrong, but Gillies pulls it off and makes a story out of a disastrous relationship that would make most people extremely bitter. I hope she has found happiness now after what she endured. I loved this one!...more info
  • Me, Me , Me... lets talk about YOU, what do you think about ME?
    I wanted to feel bad for this author but I just couldn't muster it up. I started to sympathize with her husband. As a woman who went through a divorce I can understand the pain and emotions but this woman was so needy and self absorbed the poor guy didn't seem to be able to breathe.

    The author comes across as an elitist, which really irritated me. She is from New York (don't worry if you forget this fact you will be reminded many times) but when her husband took a job as a poetry professor at Oberlin College they moved there. As someone who grew up in Ohio and not far from where the story took place, she waxes poetic how she loves the area but takes a lot of pot shots at the locals.

    For example she seems to think that Oberlin did not exist before her and her family arrived. She talks about how the locals were excited about her and her kids selling flowers in mason jars at the local farmers market. How they often got looks of envy from others when walking along the path, how everyone knew they were in town. She also makes comments like "seeing someone in a Marc Jacobs in Ohio is as rare as an owl in Central Park" How hard it was to live in this fish bowl where, according to her the entire town was enthralled with her life, and according to her. In New York ,you could live next to Pavarotti and no one cared but in Ohio I guess they were all star struck. Also my all time favorite, she didn't know Ohio had cable. Give me a break.

    As far as her husband goes, I know more about her home d¨¦cor then I did him, which makes me wonder.. did she even know this man at all, even the night he moves out of their bedroom she mentioned he is sleeping in the guest room with the William Morris Wallpaper (she mentions this Wall Paper and her Lulu upholstery ad nausem).

    She talks about her friends and the only thing you know about them is they are chic, with great furniture and a sense of style and how they serve her. When the other woman enters the picture she befriends her, but as an equal? NOPE.. she decides she is going to take her under her wing, invite her home and show her domesticated life via HER Version because apparently it's what we are all supposed to aspire too. She says it herself this woman was her project.. I don't think Sylvia had a desire to be her project.

    When it all falls apart, granted we all do stupid things for love ,but the scene that got me was when her husband was at a very important dinner with a distinguished member of his department and she sees her dishwasher overflow and can't figure out how to turn it off (it's not that difficult).. so she rolls in there, leaving the kids at home alone with the dog with an overflowinig dishwasher and in her casual clothes and yanks him out in front of his entire department (anyone heard of a plumber).

    In her version the department felt bad for her. I think she was deluded there. She also mentions taking her kids out for Pizza and said she never took them out without her husband for dinner before. With all due respect, how is that possible unless her husband was chained to her.

    The last thing that did it for me.. was the constant drinking, wine, wine and more wine, lots of it and on many pages.. a few margaritas with the girls and of course the six months of Ambien which is fine , EXCEPT she was still nursing her youngest son through all of this.. to me that was beyond irresponsible.

    Also the language, in which the F word and GD, seemed to find its way in everyday conversation.. For highly educated people, I would think they would curtail this around the small children. It seemed classless.

    I don't agree with the way her husband handled things.. I am glad she is okay and her kids are thriving.. I wish her the best in her life, but the self absorbed tone was irritating, and though I would never wish what happened to her on anyone, she needed to come out of her "world revolves around me" bubble.
    ...more info
  • Left me with more questions than answers
    Although Isabel is candid in that she is not a writer, I found it difficult to accept sentence fragments and a somewhat unemotionally invested tone in her book. As she describes her move to Ohio, she states she sobbed, and even describes a few of her feelings, but she does not allow the reader to share her deepest emotions. Her writing style is mostly like a reporter narrating facts, while adding some words denoting emotion, but she does not delve more deeply into analyzing and understanding herself. I did love her description of the new home in Ohio as like "a bird's nest that just stays in the tree for years while different birds use it to raise their young." I wish she were as skilled in unveiling her inner torment and difficult transitions through her divorce instead of narrating them! As I finished the book, I realized that although she says she was taught to take the high road (something my mother has always advised me to do), I wonder if she ever learned how to live her own life instead of being someone's daughter, wife, mother, or acting as a character. I wanted a lesson learned in maturity and coming through the storm, not just a telling, but an insightful, soul-searching, and gut-wrenching sharing of an emotional transition to a new beginning. ...more info
  • She could have disguised the identities better ... but a good memoir of a bad breakup
    Isabel Gillies is that Tea Leoni-like actress we've seen from time to time playing the detective's wife on "Law & Order: SVU." Now we're seeing her memoir "Happens Every Day" plugged as the Read du Jour at every Starbucks in America.

    In the book, Gillies tells the story of her marriage to an Oberlin College professor with whom she was desperately in love and who fathered her two little sons. She threw herself into small-town college life, teaching as an adjunct in the theater department, working at a farmer's market, and renovating an old brick house near campus. What's especially interesting about the story is how quickly her fairy-tale marriage seemed to unravel; after having what she termed "the summer of love" at her family's place in Maine, her husband began to withdraw from her and the children, and had all but left the marriage by Thanksgiving. (Although he swore up and down that all the time he was spending with a young female colleague was strictly professional, and accused Isabel repeatedly of paranoia, he and the colleague are now married, so apparently Isabel was on to something. Did I mention that this woman was one of her close friends?!)

    There are two different kinds of good memoirs: the ones that stand out because the writing is exceptional, and the ones that stand out because of the author's candor and raw emotion. This one belongs in the latter category. Isabel Gillies is not a writer's writer, but she is intimate and girlfriendy, dishing on the everyday and the sublime with equal humor. She does come across as neurotic and slightly inappropriate, with a tendency to overshare--but it's a memoir, right? Although she changes the names of the people involved, Oberlin is a small campus, and it takes a 45-second Google search to ID the lone hot poetry professor in its English department, his fashionable new wife, and their bookish friends. (Yes, of course I Googled them all. You would have cyberstalked them too; it's a very interesting break-up story.)

    Although the more controlling aspects of Gillies's personality do come through in this memoir (e.g., all but demanding that her husband dedicate his first academic book to her, or deciding beforehand on topics of conversation for her dinner guests to discuss), what also comes through are her honest pain and desire to be a great mom to her sons despite the dissolution of their parents' marriage....more info
  • What do you do after an affair?
    "Happens Every Day," by Isabel Gillies, is a story about the before and aftermath of an affair. The book begins with a description of the author's married life. There seems to be much description about the everyday relations of the author, her husband, and their two boys. We learn that the author was an actress, her husband a poetry professor, and we learn about the birth of each of her children. We learn about many details of their lives; who they associated with, outside of work hobbies, where they grew up, where they vacationed, what they liked to eat. The book seems to spend an almost disproportionate amount of time detailing the background, when the reader knows that the story is supposed to focus on the rebuilding of a life after an affair. I understand and appreciate the background information, but after a point, it gets to be a bit long and drawn out.

    The author also tends to jump backward and forward in time a lot. There will be times where the author will be describing a minute situation in the present, jump back to a childhood experience related to the present situation, and then forward into the future to what the situation could mean or foreshadow. While this can sometimes be a useful literary device, it gets to be a bit too frequently used in this novel. Also, since most of this is still building up the background, it bogs the reading down.

    The book is driven more by the story than it is by the writing. As a reader, specifically, I wanted to know what revelations the author came to that helped her over the aftermath of the affair. The book, according to the back cover was supposed to be about how the author seeks to "light a candle, not curse the darkness." Yet at the conclusion of the book, after the reader is finally exposed to the affair and its aftermath, there are no details about how the author copes with the separation and rebuilds her life. We are told that the author chose not to write about how she got back to her feet again after the separation and divorce due to length and time constraints, but that she did, and now everything is okay. We are told that she now has the love of her life, her second husband. I am SO happy for her, but nowhere are we even treated to know how they met, let alone how Isabel rebuilds a new life for herself and her sons. The back cover gives the impression that this was supposed to be the whole point of the book. After muddling through the background and the buildup, this is a major letdown to the reader.

    Everything that would have made this book eye-opening and revelatory was left out. The story about infidelity is sad, but ends up being unremarkable because we never understand how the author survives. I know that adultery happens. I know how devastating it is, and I know how much worse it is when children are involved. I know how hard it is to move on. What would have made the book extraordinary would be how the author comes to terms with all the emotions and trauma and begins to light that candle in the darkness.

    Because this critical information is left out, what the reader ends up with is another mere magazine account of infidelity. ...more info
  • couldn't put it down
    Isabel Gillies begins the second chapter, "I am not a writer but I have been told I write good emails." This is a perfect description of her writing style; it feels very conversational.

    I picked up "Happens Every Day" one afternoon and after just a couple of chapters, I knew that I would not be going to sleep until I finished. Gillies is tremendously open and honest about the unraveling of her marriage. One understands early on that the marriage ends in divorce, but the questions why and how urge a reader on. In the end, I'm not sure that Gillies herself fully understands why her marriage fell apart.

    The narrative does not strike me as either an assignment of blame or as sensationalistic publicizing of personal, private details. Instead, it reads as more of a laying out of facts and events leading to the divorce, which allows the reader to make of it what they will. You feel the sadness of everyone involved, and hunger for an understandable explanation of why the marriage couldn't be saved. While there weren't any easy answers to these questions, I found the book very helpful in understanding how people might feel going through a separation or divorce....more info
  • couldn't put it down!
    A warm, honest, heartfelt and true chronicle of a terribly real story. I loved it and hope Isabel writes many more books. ...more info
  • I could have written this story!!
    I could have written this story myself. My DH did the same thing to me with his assistant at GE (after I paid for him to go to graduate school, and moved around the country 4 times for his GE job, and had 2 babies in 2 years.) His affair started when I was pregnant with my youngest, I learned of his affair on Christmas Day before the baby was a year old! Thank you for writing this story, it is painful to read, because I have lived it myself. The book is sort of crowded with words and emotions, but that is exactly how it is. When your husband cheats on you, with someon e that you know, there is no beginning, middle and end. It is lots of hazy confusion. The only thing I can say is that she is lucky that he is not mean and hateful like my ex and his girlfriend are to me and my sons. Thank you for writing this, and lets get together when you are in DC!! Sorry we have so much in common!!!...more info
  • A Very Good Read
    I enjoyed this book. I'd like to hear the husband's side of the story. The husband seems cold and they both seem self-indulgent, and the other woman is too cruel for words. I hope they're all happier now, especially the kids!! ...more info
  • The Ultimate Yuppie
    This is a very well written account of the collapse of Gillies' marriage. Her prose is fine, and her recreation of dialogue, her powers of observation and her choice of what material to include are all terrific. You will learn not only about the marriage, but about life at Oberlin and something about acting.

    When I read about divorces in novels, I tend to get angry at the offending party, if there is one. While Josiah is a sh_t, I didn't get angry with him - Gillies is not trying to get her revenge, although I enjoyed the irony of her prose making life a bit uncomfortable for two English professors. The only characters I got mad at were Ward and Secca, who were so heartless. As complex as Josiah is supposed to be, he is a fully realized character even while Gillie never claims to get inside his head. Gillies herself has her issues, and if not for her commitment to the marriage contract, I would worry some about her second marriage. This is a woman whose first day at Oberlin was ruined when her husband did not know exactly where they would go out to eat dinner, but this is Gillies at her worst, and she had to be very ambivalent about the move away from her life in New York and career. She certainly is the ultimate "Yuppie", both the good and the bad.

    The only part of the account I suspect is untrue, is the epilogue. I doubt Gillies now likes Sylvia, but she needs to get along with her for the sake of her children. Incidentally, the names have been changed (not Gillies), but the real people are easy to find on the web.
    ...more info
  • Great kindle read!
    Easy, breezy and a pleasure to read. You feel for the author and her struggle but she has such a positive perspective that you never get mired in sadness. Loved it!!...more info
  • An honest narration of divorce
    Isabel Gillies' memoir looks at separation and divorce through one woman's eyes. I give Gillies high marks for honesty, even when it means portraying herself in an unflattering light. In retrospect, the fact that she cultivated a close friendship with Sylvia, the woman her husband swiftly leaves her for, must really sting. Even more so when Isabel tells of the time she suggested that Josiah take Sylvia to a concert when Isabel didn't feel like going. It almost seems like she pushed the two together as at test of her husband's loyalty. But I don't mean to blame Isabel any more than she blames herself. For the record, to this reader her husband came across as a deceitful, manipulative bully who left his family behind, rather than work through a rough time. (Ironic that Josiah and Isabel called each other "Bully" for their pet nickname. That grated on my nerves for the whole book.)

    Gillies says she's not really a writer, more like a friend who pours her story out in heartfelt emails, and she portrays her story in a way that is clearly filtered through her point of view, yet also lets the reader draw their own conclusions.

    Some reviewers said they read this book in one sitting. I had to break it up into several pieces. I found Isabel to be intense and idiosyncratic, and at times narcissistic and lacking boundaries, such as when she immediately gloms on to Sylvia, almost adopting her as a pet project; and later when she continually chases down Josiah after they're separated and he's decided he wants out of their marriage. Admirable or neurotic? A little of both? Isabel is an actress and even her mother sits her down and tells her that she's not just the star in everyone else's show all the time.

    However, a memoir is a good outlet for her and I appreciate that she shared her story with us. I empathized with Isabel's plight and I hope to never experience the particular shock and pain she had to deal with. I wish the book had given us a taste of her recovery and happy ending, because though she tells us her life eventually turned around, she ends the story on a note that contains just the barest glimmer of hope.
    ...more info
  • Happens Every Day - Nothing Remarkable Here
    Reading this autobiography wasn't a meaningful experience for me. The title 'Happens Every Day' is an absolutely correct and accurate description. Every woman's divorce is unique and life-changing, for her, and for her children. That doesn't mean that this particular woman's life story makes for compelling reading material. As a reader, I hesitate to criticize this book too heavily, as I don't wish to diminish the importance of Isabel Gillies' life experiences. There just wasn't anything new here to read about that hasn't already happened in my own life.

    Ultimately, what makes this autobiography a rating of three out of a possible five stars is that the author didn't have any kind of a transformational moment or life-altering realizations that made her story of divorce any more compelling than my next-door neighbor's. Isabel Gillies isn't a bad writer - if she tries her hand at women's fiction, she could probably crank out a book that would sell a lot of copies, one that readers would talk about and share with each other.

    I don't see any future Danielle Steels lurking in here, but there's an entire universe filled with talented writers who aren't household names. They feed their kids and make the house payment with their writing. Gillies could easily fall into that category of writer, and I hope she continues to write and publish her work.
    ...more info
  • Happens Every Day Is Amazing!
    It's a sad reality that relationships are destroyed everyday due to a cheating spouse. However, Isabelle Gillies proved you can knock her down, but she's going to get right back up and perservere. She is an amazing woman with incredible courage. Her sons will no doubt grow up to be much better men than their father because of her openess and guidance. I highly recommend this book. Excellent job, 'Mrs. Stabler'... ;)...more info
  • Utterly Un-Put-Downable
    I couldn't put this book down, and then it stayed with me long after I'd finished it. The book tells a personal and unique story with heart, wit and honesty. It is at once elegant and down to earth. I hope Gillies writes another book - I'd be first in line to buy it. She says she is "not a writer" - but I beg to differ! Highly recommended. ...more info
  • "This can't be happening"
    Isabel Gillies makes the disbelief and horror of her experience come alive. For me it is a reminder of time past which made her story both frightening and compelling to read. I wanted to scream out to her in warning as she sets the stage with of the life she and Josiah created together and then again, many times, as she painstakingly describes the end of that life. The signs she missed, the sleuthing she did, the hopes she held longer than realistic and even the details one both notices and misses are familiar and gripping. "I was eating normally but losing weight as if I were on a nonstop juice fast. Ironically even though you feel terrible, you start to look pretty." The "end" of her book is set at the perfect time with uncertainties and lessons unlearned. The epilogue and acknowledgements provide a sense of closure but no details. While I want to KNOW more, I find it a satisfying ending to this brief, accurate description of something that does happen every day. The healing and learning process continues for Isabel, me and many others....more info
  • Simply not readable
    I hate to write a bad review but I was unable to get through this book. I tried several times and actually did read the first 7 pages (3 different times), then tried to skip ahead to find an interesting section but was unable to find one. Sorry, just couldn't get through it....more info
  • My Review
    From the moment I heard about this book, I was looking forward to it's release- so much so I marked it on my calender. I knew who Isabel Gillies was, she's on my favorite show Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and plays one of my favorite recurring characters Kathy Stabler. I've also seen some of her movies and will proudly say that she's one of my favorite actresses.
    That said, I found the book very appealing to read, I could not put it down! However I did find that the book was elementary writing but I don't hold that against her. This is Isabel's first book and not all first books are grammar perfect (like Cynthia Lennon's first book, A Twist of Lennon about her life with John Lennon in 1978. Her 2005's John was in better shape of writing). I have heard that Isabel is writing another book so hopefully it would be graduated to a higher standard. Other then that, I can relate to it. Although I have not experienced that sort of heartbreak, I have suffered a broken heart myself. A broken heart is a broken heart. There were some stories she told that sounded embarrassing, a "What were you thinking?!" moment but when I read my old past diaries, I have done the same crazy moment things. Isabel was in the moment, she was fighting to save her marriage, she loved her husband. Again, no blame for that. It certainly does happens every day, Isabel is right on.
    Another thing I'm slightly disappointed at was the very short mention about Law and Order: SVU. While waiting for it's pending released, I imagined a great chapter working with the actors who I too admire. I admit I was looking for good on-the set gossip! On one hand though, there had been a few seasons where Kathy rarely appeared and it's good to know what Isabel was up to during SVU production.
    A keeper....more info
  • Excellent
    I did not know what to expect when I started reading this book, but I liked the premise so I gave it a try.

    I am soooo happy that I did. Who knew that Isabel Gillies was such an excellent writer. This book has it all, love, romance, betrayal and an author who lived it and is willing to write honestly and I have to say, charmingly about it all.

    Reding Happens Every Day is kind of like watching, in awed fascination a car wreck. You know that the people involved are going through a horrible situation and you know that the whole thing is just blowing up, but you can't seem to NOT stare.

    Gillies story is really scary, sad and unfortunately all too true. She thought she married the man of her dreams, had his children and even moved out in the 'middle of nowhere' so that he could teach. After about 5 minutes of peaceful bliss - where Gillies herself admits that 'this perfect life could not continue' the other shoe finally falls. Her husband does not love her anymore - but more maddeningly, he will not admit to her that he is in love with another woman - a friend of Isabel.

    Although I realize that there are two sides to every story and that Gillie's former husband has not written his version, I have to say that reading this book brought out many emotions in me. For one thing, I don't know how Gillies managed to not smack him upside the head a few hundred times. The guy just kept telling her 'I can't be with you' and looked sad - when all the while, he had a crush on another woman. I mean, this guy obviously had no guts - and I found myself yelling at the book 'you wimp'.

    On the other hand, Gillies seemed to be living in some kind of alternative universe - where she seemed to go back and forth between knowing the truth and denying it. This, to me, fit in perfectly with what she was living and I have to say that I highly admire her. Writing this book must have been so incredibly hard and yet, she managed to write a memoir about her separation and divorce that felt fair, honest and above all else - she wrote it all with dignity. I don't know if I could have done that.

    This is an extremely captivating book - the author writes wonderfully and there is an irony here - she is the actress and he is the writer, yet, you would think that Gillies was the professional writer.

    One little sidebar - reading about how Gillies and her husband lived in the same house wayyyy after he had decided he did not leave her was beyond frustrating and I have to admit that this would be the one part that I felt Gillies should have handled differently.

    For fans of Law & Order SVU, you will be disappointed - she barely mentions the show at all and when she does, its really in the briefest of passing.

    I loved, loved this book and I admire Gillies for having the courage to write it. ...more info
  • Not perfect, but engaging and true
    The book starts out poorly by using short disjointed sentences to immerse the reader in a complicated family history they don't yet care about. If you can make it through the first twenty or thirty pages however, the content improves as you become more interested in the (true) story. I'm not sure that the sentence structure ever really healed, but I must have gotten used to it as I read and it ceased to bother me after a while. I was able to read this book easily in two nights which says something about its length and novelty. If you've ever been in a similar situation or have friends or family who have been, the book will ring true. Not the best book I've ever read, but certainly not the worst either; I guess I would mainly recommend it for people who think they could relate to the author's experiences....more info
  • Outstanding!
    OMG! I loved this memoir~in fact I read this in one day~Then I googled everything I could about the author to get even more inside her head! She was so brave and so cool and so undeserving of what happened to her. I am so glad she did find happiness with a wonderful man (her second husband). I am sad I have finished this fantastic debut!...more info
  • Cannot imagine someone would pay for this book
    I didn't care for it at all and kept asking myself the question "WHY should I care?" If you must, borrow it from the library (I'm glad I didn't pay money for it). There is some great literature out there but this is not worthy of being in that category....more info
  • This isn't an "As the World Turns" memoir, it is real life and one well said!
    They were prim and proper WASPs and were doing their best to look and live up to the part. Josiah was an English professor and she was an actress, but the allure of being a stay at home mom was in her blood and she would spend her life raising their two sons . . . or so she thought. There were warning signs, but she quickly dismissed them. He dumped his first wife and unborn child to fool around with Edith, their interests were disparate and they "started fighting almost immediately." When Josiah moved the family to Oberlin to accept a teaching job, her life seemingly became idyllic overnight. They had a beautiful house, many friends, children and of course to round it off, a dog named Plover. She was "wholly in love" with her life, but not for long.

    Sylvia Lutens, Ph.D. had just been hired to teach eighteenth-century English. Josiah had a hand in the hiring and Isabel was thrilled because Sylvia just might be best friend fodder. They were starting to enjoy each other's company and even went running and got their toes done together. Of course unbeknownst to her, Lydia had her eyes on something other than those toes and his name just happened to be Josiah. Can you say ominous? "Izzle? What's the matter?" her Aunt Bea asked. She began to cry. "I cried and I cried. I couldn't make words. I was sucking in air and coughing it out." What would happen to her dream life with Josiah, Wallace and James? Her new job teaching theater? Her whole word went upside down in a matter of weeks.

    I cannot say that I "enjoyed" this book because it is very difficult to savor someone else's misery, but rather throughout the whole book I had a major sympathizathon. The writing was superbly touching, casual and vivid. Isabel could easily have been a friend or a relative that any reader would want to rush to her side to help and comfort her in her time of need. This isn't an "As the World Turns" memoir, it is real life and one well said. Millions of wronged women out there will be able to relate to Izzle and give her what she deserves . . . a high five!...more info
  • Wow, Who Knew A Book Could Be Needy?
    Maybe this book would appeal more to someone who has been divorced. It does ring true, which is why I gave it three stars instead of two. Many of the actions and emotions described by the author remind me of one of the divorced couples I know. But the truth isn't enough to carry the story for someone who can't relate to it. The hard thing about a memoir is when you say you don't like a character, you're really saying you don't like a person. Isabel Gillies may be a very likeable woman in reality but in the book she's needy and privileged. Summer homes in Maine, Manhattan apartments, Ivy league educations, the money to remodel homes and choose to work - complaints about a salary "under a hundred grand" - but she worries about people mistakenly thinking she has money. It's not classist to say she lacks awareness. She also seems to lack insight into what went wrong in her marriage, leaving the reader as confused as she was. All memoir is one sided, but Happens Every Day take things a bit further. I found myself with a lot of sympathy for her ex, despite the fact that he's a serial cheater.

    Isabel holds her parents up as an example of a solid marriage more than once, mourning the loss of the dream as much as the loss of her husband. It's a shock, later in the book, to find she has elder half siblings from her father's previous marriage. She never explains nor explores that relationship. Nor does she explain how her opinions about her own husband's first marriage might have changed after their divorce. She describes a relationship that is suffocating to me. They adopt a pet name (Bully) and then use it to each other so often that even in this short volume I wanted to beg her to stop already. Yes, you call each other Bully. We get it.

    This isn't really a memoir about what went wrong between two people, or an explanation of how expectations and realities collided. I'm not sure what lessons are here to be learned. Happens Every Day is a book about how Isabel felt when Josiah left her and how begging didn't change things. It can be summed up in a few short sentences - "I thought he was cheating. He was." or possibly "My husband left me. It sucked." It's obvious there was more to their problems than that, and I don't buy her theory that Josiah just couldn't allow himself to be happy. A far more interesting book might have been how she picked herself up after her divorce and moved on. Happens Every Day just doesn't have enough content to sustain interest. ...more info