I Never Promised You A Goodie Bag by Jennifer Gilbert

  • Title:  I Never Promised You A Goodie Bag: A Memoir of a Life Through Events – the Ones You Plan and the Ones You Don’t
  • Author:  Jennifer Gilbert
  • Genre:  Memoir
  • Published:  May 2012 – HarperCollins
  • Source:  Publisher

My take:  I Never Promised You A Goodie Bag is a compelling memoir that begins with a young woman just starting out in life. College is behind her and she’s ready to get out in the world and make her way. But before she can even start, a horrible event changes everything.

In May of 1991 Jennifer went into Manhattan to visit a friend and got off the subway at the wrong stop. She didn’t know someone was following her as she walked to her friend’s apartment. She was followed into the apartment building and then brutally attacked.

Jennifer Gilbert tells her story of how she climbed out of the depths of despair following the attack. It’s a journey that moved back and forth in terms of progress until she finally realized she needed to get her life going again – to not let the attacker win. She interviewed for jobs and was hired by an event-planning company. She threw herself into her job and found that not only was she good at it, she loved it. Jennifer eventually started her own company Save the Date. Over the years she dealt with trust, control issues, an eating disorder – all related to the attack.

I was glad that Gilbert’s story is not a perfect plan for surviving a horrific event. It’s a very personal account of how she made it through with determination and a lot of help from loved ones and professionals. I appreciated her honesty of how she continues to deal with life’s unplanned events. I Never Promised You A Goodie Bag is a truly inspirational memoir.

20 thoughts on “I Never Promised You A Goodie Bag by Jennifer Gilbert

    • It really wasn’t a difficult book to read because the event happens early on and then the rest concentrates on how she moved forward. I recommend it, Kaye!


    • I would have thought so too, Diane, but I found it to be an inspirational memoir about so much more than the attack.


  1. I’m with Diane, I’m not sure I could read this book. My roommate was brutally attacked, I’m not sure I could relive that whole time.


  2. I tend to prefer memoirs that deal with people overcoming some sort of internal or external obstacle, so this one sounds really good to me. It’s wonderful that Jennifer didn’t let the attack overcome her, and that she was able to move forward in such a positive way. I am particularly interested in how she battled the behaviors that were a repercussion of the attack. Fantastic review today! I need to read this one!


  3. Now this sounds like a memoir that I could really get into. I like that it’s real and gritty to a certain extent. The fact that she kept on and overcame so many aftershocks from the attack is inspirational!


  4. I love this kind of memoir! It’s definitely one I want to read…there’s nothing like a story about survival, especially when that story shows the ups and downs of the journey. Thanks!


Comments are closed.