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When it Happens to You [Hardcover]

Molly Ringwald
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
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Book Description

9 Aug 2012
Tales of love, loss, and betrayal are at the heart of When It Happens to You, the debut novel in stories 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. Ringwald brings the compelling candour she displayed in her film roles to the unforgettable characters she has created in this series of intertwined and linked stories about the particular challenges, joys and disappointments of adult relationships. Her characters grapple with infertility and infidelity, fame and familial discord in a magnificent debut that will resonate broadly, particularly with fans of Melissa Banks, Meg Wolitzer and Lorrie Moore.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (9 Aug 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1471113485
  • ISBN-13: 978-1471113482
  • Product Dimensions: 21.8 x 13.8 x 2.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 386,569 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


'[A] graceful and deft debut.'-- --Booklist

WHEN IT HAPPENS TO YOU unfurls like a ripped-up tapestry of lost souls, a puzzle-like pictorial to be woven together by the reader as the denizens of the eight separate stories collapse in and out of each other's lives --Observer

Ringwald s writing is tight and funny, cut through with everyday sadness ... [Our] comparisons would be to Miranda July and Jennifer Egan ... This is a collection that revels in the ordinary and the feelings that are common to all of us ... an intelligent and thoughtfully written book --Emerald Street

'Ringwald writes movingly about loss, eloquently delineating the problems that all people face in a novel which, though fragmented, maintains real pace. This is a slim volume with a long reach.' --Express

'Ringwald writes with the deceptively simple understanding of a kind, worldly-wise older sibling; something that lends a strange intimacy to the stories... At her best, [she] exposes the ordinary by chipping off its varnish. Which is, in the end, what makes it sparkle.' --Times

'This one time Hollywood A-lister can't just act, she can also write. This is an engaging, surprisingly competent and convincing collection of linked short stories exploring life and love.' --Daily Mirror

'A deft exploration of the human capacity to rediscover oneself when faced with betrayal'

'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 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

'Actress Molly Ringwald displays true literary talent in this collections of linked stories exploring infertility, infidelity, estrangement and divorce ... [Her] craft and keen insights make her debut shine.'--PEOPLE

'Most people who buy Ringwald s fiction debut will probably do so because they grew up watching her movies, but if they actually read the book they should forget she wrote it on the first page ... [a] collection of empathetic, closely observed tales' -- BOSTON GLOBE

'One of 2012 s most dazzling debut novels ... [her] stories echo Raymond Carver, Amy Hempel and Lorrie Moore' -- A. M. HOMES, AUTHOR OF THIS BOOK WILL SAVE YOUR LIFE, SALON

'Ringwald weaves an emotional narrative that avoids getting bogged down in melodrama. With an economy of language, she keeps the story moving, taking readers inside characters heads without leaving them there too long. Ringwald s storytelling succeeds as much on the page as her acting has done on screen. I look forward to her next literary performance' --WASHINGTON POST


The one time Hollywood A-lister can t just act, she can also write. This is an engaging, surprisingly competent and convincing collection of linked short stories, exploring life and love --Daily Mirror

'A deft exploration of the human capacity to rediscover oneself when faced with betrayal' --Express

About the Author

Molly Ringwald lives and works in New York City and Los Angeles. This is her first work of fiction. Find out more at https://www.facebook.com/IamMollyRingwald or follow her on twitter @mollyringwald

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Moments of brilliance 20 Aug 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
I'd be lying if I didn't admit I primarily picked this book up to see what had become of my favourite brat-packer but was pleasantly surprised by the content.

Thoughful, touching prose renders beautiful the trials and tragedies which punctuate everyday life. The much trodden ground of divorcing parents is delivered feeling somewhat refreshed while the parent/child relationship is approached from various angles, all of which are both heart-felt and covincing. My only real quibble is the choice to conclude my favourite story, The Little One, indirectly through a different narrator. While no doubt a matter of personal taste, I felt most strongly for the lonely Betty and was disappointed that she slipped away so quietly while I was still getting to know her prodigal daughter.

Nonetheless this short debut novel manages to explore complex relationships in surprising depth, with some chapters comprising some really beautiful writing. I'd recommend it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Suz 29 Aug 2012
This is a book of short stories, the like i have never known before. Instead of stories that don't have much in common, maybe a theme or a place, these stories have in common a family. A family of Greta, Phillip and their daughter Charlotte. Each story has one of the characters in and who they meet and how that person affects them, their situation and their lives. Although other stories focus on another character, the family is always in the back ground, letting us know what is happening. Personally i love the book and found it hard to put down. A refreshing change to how short stories are written.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Book Club favourite 23 Feb 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is a lovely book. Easy to read and smartly done. The stories are interesting and interweave in a lovely way. We ALL enjoyed this book and were surprised that is was so enjoyable.
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5.0 out of 5 stars When it happens to you 19 Jun 2014
By pipando
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
An easy read but enjoyable novel. Found myself looking forward to picking up the book for the next story within the novel. I liked the concept of telling the story of characters who were in the periphery of previous stories. Would recommend as a light holiday read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars When it Happens to You by Molly Ringwald 18 Jun 2014
As a fan of Molly Ringwald’s acting work in movies such as The Breakfast Club, Pretty in Pink and Sixteen Candles, when I popped into my local store and spotted When it Happens to You I was intrigued as to what her writing work would be like. I was not disappointed. When it Happens to You is an enjoyable, profound character-based narrative, exploring morals and betrayal of love and emotion.

When it Happens to You provides examples of people’s real life troubles in everyday life. It explores emotions and reactions, as well as a chance to view the situation by different perspectives which allows the reader to empathise with many of the characters. Molly Ringwald has certainly mentally placed herself in the shoes of each character, discovering their personality, flaws and reactions.

Many readers may have experienced one or more of the ordeals that the characters are experiencing themselves or will know of someone who has. It is because of this that makes it so easy to relate and connect with the characters and their story. The reader can begin to understand how an unfaithful partner, an act of betrayal, can affect their partner’s life, their child’s life and their own life, as well as the lives of their friends, families, neighbours and new acquaintances they may meet.

When it Happens to You is made up of short stories based on each of the characters and the events that are taking place in their lives and how they respond and feel about them.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly excellent 3 Sep 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Like many others I remember the likes of "The Breakfast Club" and "Pretty In Pink", and at the time I had a massive crush on Molly Ringwald :-) When I heard she'd written a book I let the news pass me by, expecting it to be weak stuff, but one day out of curiosity I bought it to take on holiday.

I'm delighted to say that the book is absolutely excellent. Don't be put off by the fact that the book is a collection of short stories because it doesn't read that way. The cover accurately describes the book as "a novel in stories" as each of the stories are linked, sharing characters and together forming a single narrative, but each chapter is self-contained.

Each of the stories is beautifully written. The overall theme is of love, loss, betrayal, and life in general - to reveal any more details would spoil things. The prose is clean and clear and the quality never dips. I devoured the book in a single sitting and eagerly await Ringwald's future writing. One of the best books I've read in 2013.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Good debut 2 Sep 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Good story and characters,I like how she writes about human interaction.quirky and very readable,makes you look at your own life
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5.0 out of 5 stars Good read 11 Aug 2013
By Helen
Format:Kindle Edition
Interesting characters you can relate to, both main and side characters alike. Believable love story with an unpredictable ending. Very enjoyable.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Because he us happens to me
Because he did happens to me. And I would love to recommend it to one of my friends. And I think some time you need to give people a second chance! That why I like this book..
Published 11 months ago by Brigitte Langworthy
5.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly good
This book is so much more than I expected from a debutant. The characters are very realistic, the stories are well written and their focus on fidelity brings out some realistic... Read more
Published 16 months ago by Morgan C.
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read. Once I started I couldn't put it down.
Tells the story of the couple really well and realistically. Loved how all the characters had their own stories too. Read more
Published 18 months ago by JaneWils
5.0 out of 5 stars Just loved it
8 short pieces that could be read independently but lightly layer up to give a great multi-angled story. Read more
Published 19 months ago by Blue Moon
5.0 out of 5 stars Easy read
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The story is interesting and I found it very easy to read. It did not take me long to finish it.
Published 19 months ago by kiran clair
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read
Excellent read, hard to imagine was written by Molly Ringwald just remember her as I grew up as the girl in Pretty in Pink!
Published 21 months ago by Mrs R A Bullen-Bell
4.0 out of 5 stars A unique interweaving of short stories that make a whole
When It Happens to You is unique. The short stories take us on an emotional journey through two main characters lives. Read more
Published 22 months ago by Shazjera
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