Happens Every Day by Isabel Gillies

Happens Every Day is the memoir of a doomed marriage, as told by the wife who, after giving up her job as an actress to follow her academic husband to Oberlin College where he got a tenure-track job and becoming a stay-home mom for their two young sons, finds the marriage ending abruptly when the husband decides he wants out, denying not so convincingly that he is having an affair with a colleague, also married but whose husband stayed behind.

It’s hard not to feel sorry for someone in this predicament, and the description of the small college town peopled by intellectuals who yearn for the more refined things in life is excellent, but I found it difficult to abstract the author’s spoiled references to her parents’ apartment (who, she says, don’t have much money but own an apartment that gives onto Central Park in New York!) and her own house in Oberlin, down to the fashionable paint color and upholstery fabric. Surely the state of mind of her four-year old matters more than the upholstery  — and her ex-husband and she could have explained to a four-year old that mommy and daddy would not live together any more before flying him to grandma’s palatial apartment? So interesting but a little unsettling.

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