Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Happens Every Day: A Book Review

I'm a reading machine these days. Book club coupled with a library membership coupled with loads of free time = moi happily consuming book after book after book. My best reading happens on those beach days, and when I went this past Sunday, I brought along my newest NYPL acquisition: Happens Every Day by Isabel Gillies.

Like most of my books, I found this one by flipping through a magazine (probably O). When I googled it and realized that Isabel Gillies pays Detective Stabler's wife on SVU, I was even more intrigued. This story is a sad one... but the way Gillies writes it feels so alarmingly real (and at times, even funny) that I could not put it down. It's a story about a young, happily married couple with 2 young boys... and about how one-half of that couple (the husband, of course) leaves his wife for another woman.

I'm neither married nor have I ever been involved in an affair, but this story really struck a chord with me, and I was crying and devastated when I finished it (later that same night, bien sur). It's just so... real. It does happen every day, and it's devastating in every sense of the word. You truly feel for Gillies as you see her acknowledge that her husband has checked out of the marriage, as she suspects that the beautiful new female professor in her husband's department is getting entirely too close, as you watch her plead with this woman to leave her husband alone! I think she handled everything with amazing strength and resilience. The story is sad, and it doesn't end with a fairy story ending (although her real life, I think, did), but that's because the story is real. It's truth. It's the reality that happens to women all over the world every single day.

Which brings me to my next point. When I was young, an important female in my life gave me some advice: "You must always be with a man who loves you more than you love him." And to this day, I believe it to be wise and oh so very true. Last night at our dinner party (and over 4 bottles of wine), my friends and I discussed it in greater detail, and most everyone agreed it's good advice. The fact is, it's too easy for men to leave, especially when it involves another woman. Marriage, children, none of that will stop them, whereas women may think twice or thrice about throwing lives away. I realize this is a gross generalization, but I stand behind it 90% of the time. I'm curious, what do you think? Do you think it's unfair to characterize (most) men this way? Do you know a couple in which the woman is more into the man, and the relationship works out long-term??


an old fashioned girl said...

ooooh definitely adding it to the reading list!

Micaela said...

I LOVED this book! you are so right-- she wrote with honesty and raw emotion... you cheered for her, you wanted to hug her, and you were embarrassed by her (when she kneeled down and begged? ugh, my heart hurt)

SUCH a great one.

Carolyn said...

Micaela - I TOTALLY agree. I cringed when she kept going to Sylvia!!!

The Jazzy Olive said...

Ahhhh you've heard that piece of advice too. Someone once told me that too and I have never known how I feel about it... She said "marry someone who loves you more than you love them." Just seems weird to me.. shouldn't the love be the same? Is it fair to your partner if you KNOW you love them less than they love you? It's weird to think about and I'm SO glad you aren't the only person who has heard that. It's something that has been stuck in my head for years! I think about it all the time actually.

Vanessa said...

I read about this book and was intrigued. Sounds sad, but good.
As for that piece of advice, I've heard it as well, and I'm not so sure I'm on board with that. I just think that all that strategizing and keeping score is what gets people in these messes in the first place... Love isn't about that. If someone wants to leave, then they will. Life is full of so many unforeseen circumstances, but settling for someone you don't love to your full capacity just to try to avoid be left in the future... would be torture, I think.

Analiese Marie said...

Oooh, good recommendation - thanks!

As for that piece of advice...I actually prefer another piece of advice someone once told me: "Nerds and geeks make the best husbands." The thinking behind it is that if a guy hasn't been able to rely on his looks/seductiveness/charm, maybe he's actually been forced to develop good qualities (kindness, helpfulness, honesty, etc.) in order to win a woman's affection. In my personal experience, guys who may have been teased for being "nerdy" as children or teenagers often turn out to be the kind of nice, intelligent, and kind-hearted man you'd actually want for a husband. And they don't seem to take it for granted when they land a great woman! Not that I'm calling my husband a nerd... ;-)