Talking with '80s Sweetheart and New Author Molly Ringwald About Her Debut Novel

This summer, a friend and I were watching Sixteen Candles in Dolores Park where a group of girls on the blanket next to us would not shut their faces. People were shooting them contemptuous looks the same way Molly Ringwald's character Samantha would shoot looks at her oblivious family, or at Ted, the freshman dweeb crushing on her. We children of the '80s may have emulated Molly's ultra-emotive facial expressions for life.

Molly Ringwald's debut novel-in-stories introspectively reveals discontented human interactions. Each story in When It Happens to You pivots on betrayal, from Greta's husband Phillip's affair with their daughter Charlotte's violin teacher in “Harvest Moon” to transgender Olivia's mother Marina throwing away Olivia's dresses and “Anything pink, purple, sparkling.” On betrayal, Ringwald says, “There's not one person you can meet who hasn't been on one side or the other, and very often both. I didn't want to just write about one kind of betrayal.”

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