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

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Overview

When Jennifer Gilbert was twenty-two years old, someone tried to cut her life short in the most violent way. Not wanting this traumatic encounter to define her life, she buried it within and bravely launched a fabulous career in New York as an event planner. Always the calm in the storm—from fixing a ripped dress to relocating a lavish party on two days' notice—she was convinced she'd never again feel joy herself. Yet these weddings, anniversaries, and holiday parties slowly brought her back to life. No one's ...

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

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Overview

When Jennifer Gilbert was twenty-two years old, someone tried to cut her life short in the most violent way. Not wanting this traumatic encounter to define her life, she buried it within and bravely launched a fabulous career in New York as an event planner. Always the calm in the storm—from fixing a ripped dress to relocating a lavish party on two days' notice—she was convinced she'd never again feel joy herself. Yet these weddings, anniversaries, and holiday parties slowly brought her back to life. No one's entitled to an easy road, Gilbert learned, but instead of anticipating our present in a goodie bag, it's our presence that 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.”
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.”
(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."
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: 9780062076007
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 4/30/2013
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 385,980
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Jennifer Gilbert

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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Customer Reviews

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