Wednesday, January 30, 2013

It Happens Quietly (Book Review: When It Happens To You, Molly Ringwald)

As a teenager in the 80s, I worshipped Molly Ringwald. I think I saw every movie she had as a teenager, and I even remember for one of my essays in College English class, I wrote a review of her movie "Pretty In Pink."  But who knew she was such a great and sensitive writer? Her book "When It Happens To You," is a collection of short stories that interrelated, and is fantastic. She has a great flair for creating characters that speak to you, that sound very real, and you will leave thinking about them past the last page. At the core of her stories is a marriage gone awry, that of Greta and Phillip. They have a child, and he involves himself in an affair with Theresa, their daughter's violin teacher. It's a simple story, and the story, and its repercussions, are told in separate points of view so you get a fuller picture of the situation. But my favorite story in the book is titled "My Olivia," which tells the story of Marina, who has a son, Oliver. (Oliver is Charlotte's play mate in school) Oliver is a little boy, but identifies as a little girl. He doesn't want his hair cut, and likes to dress in little girl's clothing. Ringwald's light touch in telling the story makes you understand and feel the dilemma, without resulting to judgement. I never for a second felt insulted reading it, and eventually loved its resolution, as people are "born this way."  I look at short stories are slices of life, and I love when they make me think, when the characters resonate, when I can relate to the characters. The stories in "When It Happens To You" made me feel all those. 


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