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Happens Every Day: An All-Too-True Story (Paperback)
April 2009 Indie Next List
“Isabel Gillies has written a compulsively readable memoir about the dissolution of her marriage. She does a admirable job of not only portraying her own mistakes but also of presenting her husband reasonably. Gillies has a wonderfully transparent voice, and I enjoyed reading her story.”
— Carla Cohen, Politics & Prose Books &, Washington, DC
Isabel Gillies had a wonderful life—a handsome, intelligent, loving husband who was a professor; two glorious toddlers; a beautiful house in their Midwestern college town; the time and place to express all her ebullience and affection and optimism. Suddenly, the life Isabel had made crumbled. Her husband, Josiah, announced that he was leaving her and their two young sons. "Happens every day," said a friend.
Far from a self-pitying diatribe, Happens Every Day reads like an intimate conversation between friends. It is a dizzyingly can-did, 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.
"Isabel Gillies has written a heartbreaking memoir about the wild unpredictability of the human heart. She is stunningly candid and reminds every reader that, yes, lives fall apart, husbands leave wives, people start over -- Happens Every Day. Gillies is moving, funny, authentic, and never a victim. Her voice is instantly compelling." -- Elisabeth Robinson, author of The True and Outstanding Adventures of the Hunt Sisters
"Isabel Gillies tells the story of the breakup of her 'perfect' marriage with astonishing honesty, sharp humor, and not a shred of self-pity. This is a memoir that reads like a gripping mystery and a moving coming-of-age tale." -- David Auburn, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Proof
"What a strange and wonderful surprise: a gorgeous, funny, exuberant book about the disastrous end of a marriage. A loss like Gillies's might happen all the time, but it's rarely met with the passion, compassion, energy, and warmth that suffuse every page. With charming candor, she lays bare her sorrow and her joys, and finds a true -- and instructive -- talent for transformation and happiness." -- Maile Meloy, author of Both Ways Is the Only Way I Want It and A Family Daughter
"A memoir so raw you feel like it's your best friend telling you her story." -- Glamour, ("Must-Read" pick)
"By turns enlightening, funny, gut-wrenching... Happens Every Day is the nonfiction equivalent of Nora Ephron's Heartburn... Highly recommended." -- Library Journal, starred review
"I couldn't put the book down and ... my husband ... couldn't put it down either... Compulsive and, frankly, chilling late-night reading." -- Maureen Corrigan, Fresh Air on National Public Radio
"Gillies movingly evokes the salt-on-wound sadness of loving a spouse turned stranger." -- People (three stars)
"A smart, rueful memoir of love, betrayal and survival." -- O, the Oprah magazine
"I couldn't help but admire her bravery... Good-humored, self-effacing...You feel nothing but deepest sympathy." -- Ruth David Konigsberg, Elle
"Emotionally involving... There's a redemptive grace in [Gillies'] struggle." -- Entertainment Weekly