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Divorce memoir with your low-fat latte? Starbucks' new book pick

February 24, 2009 |  2:10 pm

Gillies_cover_0224Starbucks, which has wisely concluded that books and coffee go together, has selected a new book pick. OK, so let me clarify — the coffee chain has decided that a book and coffee go well together, featuring a single book in more than 7,000 stores. Beginning in March, that book will be "Happens Every Day" by Isabel Gillies.

Gillies has written a memoir about the collapse of her first marriage. A thirtysomething mother with bone structure to die for, Gillies is best known as an actress — she plays the wife of Det. Stabler on "Law & Order: SVU" and appeared in the film "Metropolitan."

In the first pages of her book — I'm using Amazon's look-inside feature, because I don't have an advance copy — she writes about her grandparents living down the street from John Cheever, her father running for New York City Council (he didn't win), her grandmother looking like Katharine Hepburn. She writes that her husband "looks like Adonis."

This all adds up, I think, to a fairly unusual life. But Susan Moldow, executive vice president and publisher of Scribner, says, "You cannot read 'Happens Every Day' without feeling a sense of identification, even if you have never been in Isabel’s exact situation." Probably for the best, for how many of us have?

There is one person who was close — her ex-husband. In the book he's called Josiah, but he has another name, according to the Weddings section of the New York Times, which covered their marriage. The Adonis-like DeSales Harrison is an English professor. But he does poetry, not nonfiction, so he probably won't be adding "Happens Every Day" to his syllabus.

The gossipy, student-review website Rate My Professor.com thinks he's dreamy, if difficult — he gets a 9 for "hotness" and a 2.7 for "easiness." The big question is, come March, where will he be getting his coffee?

— Carolyn Kellogg

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