Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Book Review: When It Happens To You

Anyone feeling guilty over being behind on book reviews?  This may make you feel better.  I just added up all the reviews I need to write and could come up with a full month's worth of reviews (and that is assuming I post 4 a week) without reading another book.  There are books from February that I haven't reviewed yet.  Kind of a bummer, but I'm determined to catch up, starting with reviews of the three final books I read for the Sony Reader Club.

Ok, so the first thing you should know about this book is that it IS by the same Molly Ringwald of 80's movie fame.  When I saw she had written a book, I was a bit disappointed that it wasn't going to be her memoir, as I would LOVE a behind-the-scenes look at The Breakfast Club, one of my all time favorites.  However, I also love short stories and when the book was announced as a Sony Reader VIP choice, I was excited to see how Ringwald measures up in terms of writing.  And the good news is that she is brilliant.  These short stories are all connected (revolving around a Los Angelean family and their neighbors).

Writing
I was seriously impressed.  I get twitchy when I see that a celebrity plans to write anything other than a memoir.  I just feel like..sigh.  It's most likely to be a ghost-written YA novel or some other kind of foolishness (James Franco).  But in this case, I was more than pleasantly surprised.  Ringwald really blew me away with her thoughtful stories.  And not just thoughtful, but also smart, witty, and just flat-out well written.   Her characters are interesting and all of the stories had that moment where it all comes together and you just get what she's trying to say.  Exactly what I want in a short story.

Entertainment Value
I read the whole thing in one sitting on a Saturday morning.  It's not that it's a suspenseful book, but one where I kept telling myself "Just one more story."  And before I knew it, I had finished it.  And, I feel like I should note, I was pleased to see Ringwald address contemporary issues without being moralistic or telling the reader how to feel.  I noted this particularly in the story "My Olivia", which I expected to be a "lesson" for parents on letting your child explore his or her gender identity.  Instead, I found it to fit in perfectly with the other stories and revolve around the characters, not a PSA.

Overall
Another excellent short story collection I've read this year.  I highly recommend it and I will definitely pick up anything Ringwald writes in the future (unless it's a YA novel about models with superpowers).

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