Admittedly, I got this book solely out of curiousity. I wanted to see what a book written by Molly Ringwald would be like. I think if you grew up in the 1980’s you can’t help feeling some kind of connection with Molly. Her movies were ubiquitous. Whole books could be (and have been) written on the Brat Pack. Suffice to say, you could probably debate whether or not John Hughes movies are high-quality or whether they stand the test of time but I don’t think you can debate that in many ways they influenced a generation. I think I always liked Molly Ringwald because I liked her characters. Or more, I wanted to be her characters. The slightly geeky, smart girl who doesn’t realize how beautiful she is but in the end wins the heart of the popular/rich/gorgeous guy. Don’t judge me. You wanted the same thing at 15.
So anyway, I got the book because of the author but because of the author I was skeptical that it would be a good book. Because really, how unfair would it be that a former Brat Pack actress could actually write?
Well, it’s unfair but true. Molly can write. When It Happens to You is a novel told in a series of short stories. The stories are tied together by repeating characters in the same suburban LA neighborhood and by the overarching theme of betrayal. I don’t think this is the easiest way to write a novel, it would be easy for it to be disconnected or for it to be hard to connect with the characters. However, it works here. I didn’t always agree with the worldview in these stories but I was glad that I read them.