Part two of Gillies’ (Happens Every Day, 2009) chatty, bittersweet chronicle of loss and renewal.
“I had to get my shit together,” writes the disillusioned author, who, in this memoir sequel, plods onward and incrementally upward after separating from her husband in Ohio, taking her two sons and moving in with her parents in New York City. Separation agreement official and wedding band removed (the area replaced with an angry rash), Gillies ruefully struggled with modern city life after picking up the pieces of a shattered life once her husband Josiah left her to marry another woman. Her situation alternately cheerless and “exciting” (the dating scene!), Gillies interviewed schools and babysitters, revived a recurring role on Law & Order and uncomfortably shared split vacations and custody with Josiah for the sake of the boys. Romantically determined to rediscover that coveted “deep purple, electrifying, all-consuming and painful love,” she blind dated via e-mail and tested an old friend’s capacity for love. With the same self-effacing prose found in her debut, Gillies describes her journey from the pain of lost love to the land of the living with humor and compassion. Too often, however, the self-described “drama queen” waxes melodramatically, like she was the first and only survivor of a heart-wrenching divorce. Readers who enjoyed the author’s earlier memoir—and books like it—will find her saga engrossing and heartfelt, though the writing remains scruffy and rambling. Gillies still wants love at first sight (again), but one year later, will it still only take six seconds to happen? Readers will cheer along with the author, whose heart overflows in the conclusion of this enduring story of life after love.
The writing is uneven, and the author strains for material in the final chapters, but there’s plenty of love, humor and hope to spare.