When It Happens to You

Molly Ringwald, Author
Molly Ringwald. Harper, $24.99 (256p) ISBN 978-0-06-180946-0
Ebook - 272 pages - 978-0-06-210235-5
Hardcover - 383 pages - 978-1-4711-1349-9
Downloadable Audio - 978-0-06-223995-2
Downloadable Audio - 978-0-06-223997-6
Hardcover - 256 pages - 978-1-4711-1423-6
Other - 978-0-06-221611-3
Hardcover - 256 pages - 978-1-4711-1348-2
Paperback - 240 pages - 978-0-06-180947-7
Ebook - 300 pages - 978-1-4711-1350-5
Hardcover - 272 pages - 978-1-4712-2886-5
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This “novel in stories” is set in the L.A. you see on television, the one where everyone is somehow connected to everyone else. Stories or titled chapters center on Phillip and Greta, who have a daughter, fertility issues, and a marriage going sour, but we also meet people whose lives touch Greta’s and Phillip’s in a variety of ways, like their much older neighbor; a mother at their daughter’s school; and a semi-washed up actor, his twin sister, and her French boyfriend. In many ways Ringwald (Getting the Pretty Back, a memoir) knows of what she speaks, having spent many years in the ’80s as a fixture of the Brat Pack, and she has the mechanics of writing down, but you can hear the gears grinding; the stories are often exposition heavy, the characters seem more defined by their situations than their idiosyncratic histories, and things tend to resolve a little too tidily, even when the point is the continuing messiness of relationships. As a result, this debut work of fiction, which reads well, never gets traction in your mind. It’s probably best seen as an example of one of celebrity’s mixed blessings: your name gets you in the door but your apprenticeship takes place in public. (Aug. 14)
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