Monday, May 4, 2009

Happens Every Day by Isabel Gillies

One of the books featured last week on The Today Show segment Spring into a Good Book was the memoir, Happens Every Day by Isabel Gillies. I will be honest and admit that this book was not one that I originally had planned on reading. It's not that I didn't think the topic was interesting. It's that in the past several years memoirs have become far too prevalent, in my opinion. When memoirs first became the genre du jour, I read a bunch of them. And mostly, I liked them. But, soon it felt as though everyone was writing their life story and frankly I started to feel a bit bored by the genre. Anyway, a week or so ago, I was contacted by Katrina, a publicist with Wiredset, who asked me to review this book. What?! Me! Really? Well, as you can imagine, I was deeply flattered and since I had Katrina's assurance that I could be honest in my review of the book, I agreed.

Happens Every Day
is a quick, easy and engrossing read. I was so involved in Isabel Gillies' memoir that I finished the book in two sittings. Happens Every Day, tells the heartbreaking story of the dissolution of Isabel's marriage to her husband, Josiah. A marriage that Isabel was deeply committed to and which she had no inkling was in trouble. In fact, she thought she had a wonderful life. When her seemingly perfect marriage and life crumbles around her within the space of 4 short months, Isabel is understandably confused, angry and desperate. Who wouldn't be? But, what is so surprising about this book is that Happens Every Day never degenerates into a diatribe of vitriol and bitterness against her husband or the circumstances of their divorce. As a matter of fact, Isabel is surprisingly candid about her own shortcomings and the deep love she feels for her husband. She takes a very conversational, almost confessional tone, throughout the book. At many points in the book I felt as though I was reading an especially poignant letter or email from a friend. I felt Isabel's bewilderment, confusion and desperation to save her marriage. Isabel does an amazing job of connecting with her readers and I couldn't help but put myself in her shoes. Surprisingly, Happens Every Day is not a depressing story. Gillies has managed to write a story of love and loss, but also one of moving forward and hope for the future. As the title of the books states .... Happens Every Day.

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