Sunday, July 5, 2009

Happens Every Day

Isabel Gillies may be best known as an actress on Law and Order, but to me she will be known for writing an exceptionally interesting, easy to read memoir of her marriage and divorce to the father of her two sons.
Because this is my book I have designated to read while on my Airdyne bike, I have actually wanted to ride bike the last few days. (This weekend I rode for an hour each day, and truly the test of whether a book is good or not is if I spend extra time working out just so I can read more). Gillies life is not like my own - she is from old money (she calls it exhausted money); her parents were friends with the Cheevers. Her family summered Maine each year. Gillies graced the cover of Seventeen magazine at the age of fourteen. Even though Gillies' life seems much more cosmopolitan than my own, her book is written as though she is having a conversation with me, and I liked her.

When Gillies met Josiah, also from old money, whose family also summered in Maine and who she has known since childhood, the two quickly fall in love and marry. The fact that Josiah was married at twenty four, had an affair and then divorced should have been a red flag, but Gillies is certain that she and Josiah are made for each other.

They embark on a new life in Ohio when Josiah is hired to teach in the English department at Oberlin College. They have what Gillies believes is the perfect life: two beautiful children, a beautiful older home they have redone, friends that are interesting and lovely, and Gillies can see years into their future unfolding.

Then Sylvia moves to town and is hired to teach in the English department at Oberlin. Gillies and Sylvia become fast friends, but she and Josiah become more than that and despite their initial denials, they truly begin acting as a couple. When Josiah decides to end his marriage, Gillies realizes that their life is over.

Confronting Sylvia with her suspicions of an affair, Sylvia, who happens to be married at the time, but who is childless, responds, "It happens every day." With that one sentence Gillies knows that her suspicions are more than just that.

Gillies eventually learns to go on and makes a new life for herself and her sons. This story shows the devastation a divorce brings with it, but also the ability for one to go on. My only regret about this book is that I read it so quickly. I would like to visit this new friend again.

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