In her best-selling memoir, Happens Every Day, Isabel Gillies discovered that her husband had left her for another woman. Devastated, she strove mightily to understand his actions when a friend told her cavalierly that such things happen every day.
In the dazzling sequel, A Year and Six Seconds, Gillies, best known for her role as Detective Stabler’s wife on “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” charmingly chronicles the jagged ways that people fall out of relationships and the unexpected, and often exhilarating, ways that they fall back into love.
Following her breakup, Gillies grabs her two sons and leaves the idyllic rural life of Lorain, Ohio, and her teaching position at Oberlin College, where her husband teaches English, for her parents’ apartment in New York City, where she herself grew up. Through a series of hilarious and poignant vignettes, Gillies shares with us her mighty struggles to cope with the loss of a relationship that she thought would last forever, the attempts to balance the needs of her two young sons with her own need for love and support, and the feelings of failure and insecurity that arise when she faces her parents. She writes, “It felt like nobody wanted us, and we needed everybody.”
At the height of her struggle to make her new life, Gillies flies back to Ohio to finalize her divorce from her husband, Josiah. Her heart aches, for even though she is familiar with the abstract idea of getting divorced, the very act of getting divorced is emotionally violent. Yet when Gillies returns to New York later that day, the sun is shining, and Central Park West is full of promises and people. At this moment, of course, she starts her new life.
Shortly after her divorce, Gillies meets Peter, a single father, and falls in love in six seconds; one year after they meet, Peter proposes, and soon she embarks on the road to happiness and love. Through her struggles, Gillies admits that “everything that happens in your life, no matter if it is positive or negative, eventually makes sense. Many things are not perfect, but they are good enough, and good enough is all you really need.” Gillies’ moving memoir is sure to inspire others in their struggles to overcome adversity and find new hope through love.