Synopses & Reviews
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.
“When It Happens to You is absolutely lovely, a smart, emotionally sophisticated, intricately dovetailed novel of stories. World, I'm telling you now: Molly Ringwald is the real deal.” Lauren Groff, author of Arcadia
“Molly Ringwald understands how families work and uses her considerable talents to make them come alive on the page.” Gary Shteyngart, author of Super Sad True Love Story
“These stories sizzle with rare insight about the reverberations of betrayal and of love. Ringwald wisely never judges her characters, but lets them live out their complexities on the page, flawed and endearing, recognizable and also new. When It Happens to You is an impressive fiction debut.” Robin Black, author of If I Loved You, I Would Tell You This
“When It Happens to You is an inventive and compelling portrait of love in the modern age.” J. Courtney Sullivan, author of Maine
“Molly Ringwald's eight electric stories are alive with Joycean insight-piercing, epiphanic moments of terror, humor, and transcendence. Together they offer a deeply moving portrait of modern life.” Eleanor Henderson, author of Ten Thousand Saints
“[A] graceful and deft debut.” Booklist
“With her assured and deftly wrought novel-in-stories....Ringwald plays out the all-too-familiar tragedies of adult life....[Her] stories ring with authenticity, voices so true and honest that we imagine she's been eavesdropping on our conversations. Once again she connects us.” Vanity Fair
Molly Ringwald mines the complexities of modern relationships in this gripping and nuanced collection of interlinked stories. When It Happens to You
follows a Los Angeles family and their friends and neighbors while they negotiate the hazardous terrain of everyday life.
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." 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 called Olivia. And in the devastating title story, a betrayed wife chronicles her pain and alienation, leading to an eviscerating denouement.
An unflinching yet poignant examination of the intricacies of the human heart, When It Happens to You is an auspicious literary debut.
About the Author
Molly Ringwald's work in film is characterized by what the renowned New Yorker film critic Pauline Kael called her "charismatic normality." Throughout her extensive career, she has worked with such directors as Paul Mazursky, John Hughes, Cindy Sherman, and Jean-Luc Godard. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, Parade, Esquire, and the Hartford Courant. She lives with her husband and three children in Los Angeles.