Pretty in Prose: Molly Ringwald at the Nashville Public Library Tonight

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Salon@615 Presents Molly Ringwald
When: 6:15 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 18
Where: Nashville Public Library
The event is free and open to the public.

Molly Ringwald — whom Michael Agger, writing in New York magazine in 2005 called "the girl in everyone's yearbook, the actress we think about when we think about our youth" — has many strings to her bow. Long before director John Hughes cast the then-16-year-old Ringwald as the star of Sixteen Candles, she was a singer with a jazz album (I Wanna Be Loved By You, recorded with her father's band when she was 6) under her belt. Now Ringwald, 44, has written When It Happens to You, a novel composed of eight linked stories that The Guardian called "a deft exploration of the human capacity to rediscover oneself when faced with betrayal."

Readers who came of age when Ringwald's star blazed brightly will search in vain for personal revelation: Though the stories unfold in a milieu that glancingly resembles facets of Ringwald's own life (the setting is Southern California, where Ringwald currently lives; one subplot involves an actor), When It Happens To You is a feat of imagination. It's not even memoir dressed up as fiction. "The Harvest Moon," the first story in the collection, is written from the point of view of a married woman roughly Ringwald's age, but the following story ("Redbud") is narrated by the first character's mother. Two stories later, the protagonist is a man. Sometimes the change in perspective is unsettling; just as you're getting absorbed in a narrative, Ringwald abandons that particular thread. By the end of the novel, though, it's the unresolved story lines that continue to haunt, managing both to satisfy and leave the reader wanting more.

Ringwald recently answered questions via email. Read the interview here.

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