I Never Promised You a Goodie Bag: A Memoir of a Life through Events--the Ones You Plan and the Ones You Don't

I Never Promised You a Goodie Bag: A Memoir of a Life through Events--the Ones You Plan and the Ones You Don't

4.7 24
by Jennifer Gilbert
     
 

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When Jennifer Gilbert was just a year out of college, a twenty-two-year-old fresh-faced young woman looking forward to a bright future, someone tried to cut her life short in the most violent way. But she survived, and not wanting this traumatic event to define her life, she buried it deep within and never spoke of it again.

She bravely launched a fabulous career

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Overview

When Jennifer Gilbert was just a year out of college, a twenty-two-year-old fresh-faced young woman looking forward to a bright future, someone tried to cut her life short in the most violent way. But she survived, and not wanting this traumatic event to define her life, she buried it deep within and never spoke of it again.

She bravely launched a fabulous career in New York as an event planner, designing lavish parties and fairy-tale weddings. Determined to help others celebrate and enjoy life's greatest moments, she was convinced she'd never again feel joy herself. Yet it was these weddings, anniversaries, and holiday parties, showered with all her love and attention through those silent, scary years, that slowly brought her back to life.

Always the calm in the event-planning storm—she could fix a ripped wedding dress, solve the problem of an undelivered wedding cake in the nick of time, and move a party with two days' notice when disaster struck—there was no crisis that she couldn't turn into a professional triumph. Somewhere along the way, she felt a stirring in her heart and began yearning for more than just standing on the sidelines living vicariously through other people's lives. She fell in love, had her heart broken a few times, and then one day she found true love in a place so surprising that it literally knocked her out of her chair.

As Gilbert learned over and over again, no one's entitled to an easy road, and some people's roads are bumpier than others. But survive each twist and turn she does—sometimes with tears, sometimes with laughter, and often with both.

Warm, wise, alternately painful and funny, I Never Promised You a Goodie Bag is an inspiring memoir of survival, renewal, and transformation. It's a tale about learning to let go and be happy after years of faking it, proving that while we can't always control what happens to us, we can control who we become. And instead of anticipating our present in a goodie bag at the end of an event, we realize our presence at every event is the real gift.

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Editorial Reviews

People (3 ½ stars)
“Packed with funny stories about bridezillas and demented captains of industry, this is a fascinating tale of how we regain joy in the aftermath of unspeakable horror.”
Dani Shapiro
“This is a beautiful and brave memoir, full of hard-won wisdom. I read it in one sitting. It speaks from the heart and to the heart.”
(3 1/2 stars) - People Magazine
"Packed with funny stories about bridezillas and demented captains of industry, this is a fascinating tale of how we regain joy in the aftermath of unspeakable horror."
Parade
“A savvy, often funny account of the ups and downs of building a business; a penetrating look at how [Gilbert] overcame the psychological scars of the attack; a warm and happy ending. You’ll laugh with her, you’ll learn from her, and you’ll be glad you made her acquaintance.”
People
“Packed with funny stories about bridezillas and demented captains of industry, this is a fascinating tale of how we regain joy in the aftermath of unspeakable horror.”
Gretchen Rubin
“Breathtakingly honest, funny, and surprising, I Never Promised You a Goodie Bag is the unforgettable story of how, after a traumatic encounter in her twenties, Jennifer Gilbert found her way back to happiness. I couldn’t stop reading.”
Kirkus Reviews
The story of a dynamic New York event planner who forged a new path for success in the wake of tragedy. "When everyone else was standing around gasping, I went to my fix-it place," writes debut memoirist Gilbert of her grace under pressure when handling last-minute snafus at galas and weddings. Yet for many years, this first female recipient of the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award lived a double life. On the outside, she wore power suits and bright red lipstick, presided icily over the all-female staff at her company, Save the Date (even earning the dubious distinction of making notorious Vogue editor Anna Wintour "look like a pussycat") and threw lavish parties at the best Manhattan clubs. Inside, she carried shame and fear, the dual burdens of surviving a horrific, random attack. Gilbert's recollections of that day in 1991 when she knocked on a friend's apartment door, only to look up and see a man charging toward her with rage in his eyes, are hair-raising enough to make even the most trusting person look over her shoulder when walking down the street. This scene provides a backdrop for the many changes she experienced during the next 20 years, as she mourned the loss of her optimistic younger self and embarked on a career trajectory that allowed her to enjoy life through others' celebrations until she could accept that she deserved her own joy. Of course, she eventually found true love and happiness, but with a series of Jane Austen–esque twists. What distinguishes Gilbert's memoir from the inspirational survivor pack is her willingness to share the bumps along her road to recovery. The story doesn't go predictably from devastation to bliss; she makes mistakes, suffers loss, endures heartache and punishes herself by dieting and over-exercising. A mostly likable memoir that shows we can choose to be more than the sum of those events that are beyond our control.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780062075949
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
05/15/2012
Pages:
224
Sales rank:
1,202,077
Product dimensions:
6.26(w) x 9.12(h) x 0.85(d)

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What People are saying about this

Dani Shapiro
“This is a beautiful and brave memoir, full of hard-won wisdom. I read it in one sitting. It speaks from the heart and to the heart.”

Meet the Author

Jennifer Gilbert is the Founder and Chief Visionary Officer of Save the Date®, the New York–based special-events company. She was named Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year, received Working Woman magazine's Entrepreneurial Award of Excellence, and her company was voted one of its top 500 woman-owned businesses. An in-demand speaker, she has appeared at numerous schools and industry events, and her work has been featured in People magazine, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Post, and InStyle Weddings, as well as on Fox and CNN. She lives in New York City with her husband and their three children.

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