Do's of the Month! Everything you're going to love fore the next 31 days!
Read: Happens Every Day by Isabel Gillies
had the perfect life with the man of her dreams- until she watched him fall in love with another woman in their small college
town. A Memoir so raw you feel like it's your best friend telling you her story.
Entertainment Weekly Magazine March 27, 2009
Every Day: An All-Too-True Story Isabel Gillies
heartbreakingly banal truth at the crux of Isabel Gillies' debut memoir is this: "When one person really wants to go, there
is nothing you can do about it but watch them." Happens Every Day is her unevenly written but emotionally involving
account of a marriage that seemed nearly perfect- until the day it wasn't. Gillies, an actress best known for her recurring
role as Detective Stabler's wife on Law and Order: SVU, begins her tale several years ago in her family's lovingly
restored Ohio dream house. Her foxy Ivy League husband, Josiah, has just accepted a tenured job at
a highly regarded liberal arts college, her two young sons are thriving, and the author herself, a native New Yorker, is already
taken with the bucolic charms of her adopted Midwestern town. By the first chapter's end, however, the wrecking ball has swung:
Within a month, Josiah leaves her for a pixieish fellow professor, and the life- house, children, marriage- that Gillies and
her husband spent seven years building together is demolished.
to Gillies' credit that she stays as evenhanded as she does in the story that follows- and it's a boon to her ex, since the
book will be featured prominently in 7,000 Starbucks nationwide. But as a first-time author, she really could have used a
stronger editor. Gillies often wanders off on awkward tangents, and the frequent lack of verb contractions can make what should
be passionate exchanges sound oddly stilted and robotic ("How do I know that we will be alright?" "I just think we will be
happier"). At times, it's also hard to sympathized with Gillies. Her rarefied circumstances- she's a Manhattan-bred, Maine-summering
blue blood who, as she tells us, once graced the cover of Seventeen and dated Mick Jagger- don't exactly leave her without
a safety net. Still, her collapse feels real, and in Happens Every Day there's redemptive grace in her struggle,
if not always in her prose. B
People Magazine March 30, 2009
Every Day by Isabel Gillies I * * * (out of four stars)
by Moira Bailey
Memior Not long after actress Isabel GIllies (Law and
Order) finds her poet-professor husband lovingly decorating the bathroom with family photos, her marriage is down the
toilet- flushed by an Audrey Hepburn-esque lit teacher who's harnessed "Josiah"'s heart in breakneck pentameter. The other
woman's take on dads who leave their families: "It happens every day." Gillies (now happily remarried) movingly evokes the
salt-on-wound sadness of loving a spouse turned stranger.
Photo by: David A. Land
Magazine, April 2009
growing up in New York City, I befriended Isabel Gillies- a funny, cool, quirky girl in my age group. Her model good looks landed her on the cover
of Seventeen when she was 15. In her twenties she was a strong, independent woman
who dated famous actors and starred in the Whit Stillman cult film Metropolitan
before landing a recurring role on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.
In her thirties, Gillies married a great-looking
man who was getting his PhD in poetry at Harvard. They had two beautiful sons and moved to Ohio, where he got a teaching job at
Soon afterward, her husband left her for another woman. I immediately thought, How could this happen to her?
Well, it did happen to her, and she recounts
the experience in her new and courageously dignified memoir, Happens Every Day: An
All Too True Story (Scribner). The oft-told tale sees Gillies taking the high road through an amicable separation that
many New York divorces could do well to emulate. “In trying to be polite friends, you kind of trick yourself into actually
feeling that way,” she explains. “I had to be strong for my boys.”
Heeding the words of her father- “I’d
rather light a candle than curse the darkness”, a reference to the comment originally made by Adlai Stevenson as he
eulogized Eleanor Roosevelt- Gillies forged ahead. “I was glad to be home and feeding off the exquisite energy that
New York oozes from every crack in the sidewalk,” she says. A few years later, she married a man “more suited to
She began writing the story on her BlackBerry
in between errands. Every morning after dropping her kids off at school she’d head to the New York Society Library to
continue her diurnal outpouring, a process that ended three months later in an unexpected cathartic moment. “It seemed
like something I was doing as a ‘job’, and then on the last day I wrote the last sentence, put the period on the
end of it, and went into the stairwell and sobbed my heart out,” she says. “My whole life my mother always said,
‘Don’t talk about yourself. Don’t talk about yourself.’ And suddenly I throw up this memoir. So I
was terrified.” Happen Every Day: An All Too True Story will be available this
month at bookstores citywide. –Christina Greeven Cuomo
O: The Oprah Magazine April 2009
Friends without Benefits: A smart, rueful memoir
of love, betrayal, and survival.
Robinson (not his real name) falls in love with Isabel Gillies (her real name) when he was 7. Fifteen years later, they remeet.
This time Isabel reciprocates. Josiah, a beautiful poet ("Heathcliff with an earring"), says: "I will call you at and if you aren't there I'll try every minute after until you are." Reader, she marries him. She abandons her New York
acting career and follows him to a teaching post in Ohio.
missed any signs of trouble," Isabel writes in Happens Every Day: An All-Too-True Story (Scribner). The reader won't. Isabel
throws Josiah into her new best friend Sylvia's path over and over. She makes the thing happen she is most afraid of happening.
Gillies weren't so plucky, she would break your heart. When the blow comes, it's her sons she is most devastated for. They
are blessed to have her kind of love. It's the same kind of love Isabel got growing up, mother-lode mother love.
am not a writer, but I have been told I write good e-mails," Gillies says. I bet. -Patricia Volk
Elle Magazine April 2009
are certain girls who we remember from childhood because they seemed to have such charmed, enviable lives. From afar, Isabel
Gillies, a former schoolmate of mine, appeared to be one such deity: a gorgeous preteen cover girl-turned-movie actress (in
Whit Stillman's Metropolitan) who then married well and had to beautiful children. I never knew her, but it was impossible
to not know of her. So I admit that when I cracked open Happens Every Day (Scribner), Gillies' account of
being thrown over by her husband, I anticipated a bit of schadenfreude. Instead, I couldn't help but admire her bravery in
exposing the dark side of her seemingly perfect life in such a good-humored, self-effacing way. (It must help that she does
so from the distance of a happy second marriage.)
about getting dumped is a high-wire act: If you overplay the role of victim, the reader gets suspicious. By not denouncing
her husband as a total cad even as he sneaks around with a female colleague at OberlinCollege,
where he teaches, Gillies avoids this trap. And when she gets down on her knees in the snow in front of the other woman and
says, "Please, please, I am begging you to end whatever this is," you feel nothing but the deepest sympathy for the fallen
golden girl. Her plea falls on deaf ears; the divorce papers get signed, and her ex marries his mistress. If Gillies has a
blind spot, it's a certain naivete about romantic love. "I believe," she writes, "in happy endings." On the other hand, she
indeed gets one: just not the one she thought she would. -Ruth Davis Kongsberg
If there's any reviews that I may have missed from any newspaper, magazine article that you've encountered and would
like to submit, please email me (you will be given credit)