When It Happens To You

5 October 2012 Books

When It Happens To You

MOLLY RINGWALD
“Can she write?” is the question that’s likely to run through people’s minds when they pick up Molly Ringwald’s fiction debut. In TV interviews, Ringwald has acknowledged that people will have low expectations of a popular actor writing literary fiction. Without debating whether or not this is fair, the answer is: yes, she can write – for the most part, her writing is excellent. While her teenage acting career centred on coming-of-age narratives (The Breakfast Club, Pretty in Pink), Ringwald’s writing is firmly stuck in mid-life crisis territory. Throughout these nine linked short stories, couples try to free themselves from the tangled threads of love and betrayal. The book’s pace, while slow, is well handled, helping to electrify the quiet, everyday moments of her characters: a woman stirs sugar into her coffee and contemplates her dissolving marriage; a husband takes a shower, hoping to wash away his infidelity. When It Happens to You may narrow in on the domestic, but its impact will be universal.

EMILY LAIDLAW

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