I’ve known Jennifer Gilbert a long time. Long before she was an author. Long before she was a high-powered party planner to the stars. Long before she was a mom. And long before she was a Real Housewife of NYC–the “nice” one who wasn’t trainwreck-y enough to make it past one season. Even so, I never knew that all these years, she’s harbored a huge, horrible secret.
[Don't miss more about the book after the jump - plus the chance to win one of two really amazing giveaways. REALLY amazing.]
As it turns out, Jennifer was the anonymous New York City victim of a
psychopath’s screwdriver stabbing attack in 1991 that nearly left her
dead. You couldn’t open a paper or turn on the news back then without
hearing about the hunt for the attacker. So
now, after twenty years of silence, she comes clean about those events and how they shaped her life in her debut memoir, I Never Promised You a Goodie Bag: A memoir of life through events–the ones you plan and the ones you don’t.
brutal attack is not the most upbeat way to begin one’s story, clearly.
But I assure you it gets more positive from there. In fact, her party
planning career, which revolves around helping people celebrate the most
important moments of their lives, turns out to be her own way of
finding joy again, if only vicariously. And frankly, the details of how
she arrives at such success are fascinating. (You might pick up a few
business tips, entrepreneurs.)
I Never Promised You a Goodie Bag is a clean, simply-told story about survival, resilience, and
reconciliation. It’s easy reading, even if the topic isn’t always. That said, this debut memoir does feel like a debut
memoir. It’s bloggy in style, mostly expositional and without the
literary flourishes you find from more seasoned writers. But there’s
something so honest about it, so heartfelt, that you’ll find it
hard to put down.
Beyond the obvious takeaways about perseverance and creating your own destiny, I found one less obvious but still important lesson in the book: those women who seem to have it all, rarely do. In
fact, they may have all kinds of demons that you can’t even imagine.
You just never know which teenager’s
mother decided to leave town whenever she needed her most. You never
know the price that’s paid for some people to make their fortunes.
why did Jennifer decide to come forward now? She
became a mother. A mother to a son with alopecia. The perfect reminder that we need to face our challenges head on, not sweep them under the rug, if we ever wish to move on. And, hopefully, heal.
You can find I Never Promised You a Goodie Bag by Jennifer Gilbert starting today, from our affiliate Amazon or at your local indie bookstore.
[photo credit: Peter Yang]
Congratulations to Jennie B and Sarah F! They each won an autographed copy of Jennifer Gilbert’s book and a half-hour party planning consultation session.