HAPPENS EVERY DAY by Isabel Gillies


An All-Too-True Story
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The author’s debut memoir chronicles how her storybook marriage went belly up.

Best known for her recurring role on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Gillies displays her flair for drama in print. She brings to life the town of Oberlin, Ohio, complete with organic market, eccentric academics and insanely quaint coffee shops. The author also manages to squeeze multiple cliffhangers out of one central incident: her husband Josiah, a poetry professor at Oberlin College, leaving her for a colleague named Sylvia. The title is drawn from a conversation in which Gillies asked Sylvia how her husband could leave their two children. “Happens every day,” the Other Woman replied. Although readers know from the beginning that Josiah eventually moved in with Sylvia, it’s unclear at the time of this exchange if anything had happened between the two. It’s also unclear whether the author was trying to provoke Sylvia into an admission with this naïve remark or was just plain clueless. It doesn’t help Gillies’ credibility that she’s prone to sentences like, “I hate to say that, and it’s only a theory, but I think it’s true.” As to whether or not she actually had a perfect marriage whose only problem was the woman who broke it up, readers will draw their own conclusions. Excruciating scenes—such as the one in which Josiah forces Gillies to apologize for yelling at Sylvia—suggest that there was more going on here than the author cares to tell—or perhaps ever realized.

Untidy but readable—a made-for-TV movie ready for casting.

Pub Date: March 1st, 2009
ISBN: 978-1-4391-1007-2
Page count: 224pp
Publisher: Scribner
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1st, 2009


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