“I’d never thought about myself unless it was in relation to how a man felt about me, too…
It was time for me to learn to love myself, and let that love be enough.” (p 298)
Book Description: Amber Bryant and Tyler Hicks have been best friends since they were teenagers—trusting and depending on each other through some of the darkest periods of their young lives. And while Amber has always felt that their relationship is strictly platonic, Tyler has long harbored the secret desire that they might one day become more than friends. Returning home for the summer after her college graduation, Amber begins spending more time with Tyler than she has in years. Despite the fact that Amber is engaged to her college sweetheart, a flirtation begins to grow between them. One night, fueled by alcohol and concerns about whether she’s getting married too young, Amber kisses Tyler.
What happens next will change them forever.
My Two Cents: The scariest thing about this book is the title – the fact that it really does happen all the time… The author’s note in the very beginning was essential to pulling me into the story. Knowing that this wasn’t just based on fact, but this was the author Amy Hatvany’s personal journey made it that much more real.
“It Happens All The Time” details the events leading up to and after main character Amber is raped by her best friend Tyler. The novel switches back and forth between each of their perspectives (which is very impressive considering how close the author is to this story). Nevertheless, she did a great job of making both characters flawed and sympathetic. I expected Tyler to be cast as more of a monster, but Amy stayed true to her characters and really developed the thoughtful, understanding friendship beneath the surface.
Tyler clearly grew up with very unhealthy views of women and sex. Despite not wanting to turn out like his father, sometimes you don’t even realize how much that kind of upbringing actually sinks into your subconscious. While Tyler was adamant that he was in love with Amber, I think it was more obsessive than love-based. His inability to connect with others made him see Amber as “the one” without really understanding how a healthy relationship should function.
On the flip side, Amber was engaged to another guy (Daniel) and still acting inappropriately flirtatious. She cheated on her fiancée by kissing Tyler before everything spun out of control. We’ve all done inappropriate or wrong things – especially when alcohol is involved, and even more so when alcohol is involved after an argument like Amber had had with Daniel right before going out. Her actions made Amber’s character more tangible. In the moment, Amber felt like she was in control and wasn’t thinking about how easy it is for the tables to turn. It’s such a fine line.
This novel was terrifyingly accurate and demonstrated how naturally and straightforwardly rape can happen. I felt for Tyler and understand that he got carried away with his emotions, but it doesn’t change the reality of the situation and how it never should have happened.
I am fortunate enough to never have had an experience as horrifying as this, but when I’m out having fun and drinking, I have definitely noticed how easy it is to get into this type of situation without even realizing what’s happening until it’s too late. It worries me that it actually happens to so many who never speak up or get justice.
It is incredibly amazing that Amy Hatvany was brave enough to share her story. This is something that needs to be discussed. We can’t just let these incidents and these women get swept under the rug out of fear or taboo. Amy’s story definitely had an impact on me, and I hope she is able to spur the kind of discussion and action that is so clearly needed in our society today.
ABOUT AMY HATVANY:
Amy Hatvany was born in Seattle, WA in 1972, the youngest of three children. She graduated from Western Washington University in 1994 with a degree in Sociology only to discover most sociologists are unemployed. Soon followed a variety of jobs – some of which she loved, like decorating wedding cakes; others which she merely tolerated, like receptionist. In 1998, Amy finally decided to sell her car, quit her job, and take a chance on writing books.
The literary gods took kindly to her aspirations and THE KIND OF LOVE THAT SAVES YOU was published in 2000 by Bantam Doubleday. THE LANGUAGE OF SISTERS was picked up by NAL in 2002. (Both titles published under “Yurk.”)
Amy spends most of her time today with her second and final husband, Stephan. (Seriously, if this one doesn’t work out, she’s done.) She stays busy with her two children, Scarlett and Miles, and her “bonus child,” Anna. Their blended family also includes two four-legged hairy children, commonly known as Black Lab mutts, Kenda and Dolcé. When Amy’s not with friends or family, she is most likely reading, cooking or zoning out on certain reality television shows. Top Chef is a current favorite. She eagerly awaits auditions for the cast of “Top Author.” (“Quick Edit” instead of “Quick Fire” Challenge? C’mon, producers! That’s gripping television!)