Wednesday, May 11, 2016

BOOK REVIEW: After I Do by Taylor Jenkins Reid

When Lauren and Ryan’s marriage reaches the breaking point, they come up with an unconventional plan. They decide to take a year off in the hopes of finding a way to fall in love again. One year apart, and only one rule: they cannot contact each other. Aside from that, anything goes. Lauren embarks on a journey of self-discovery, quickly finding that her friends and family have their own ideas about the meaning of marriage. These influences, as well as her own healing process and the challenges of living apart from Ryan, begin to change Lauren’s ideas about monogamy and marriage. She starts to question: When you can have romance without loyalty and commitment without marriage, when love and lust are no longer tied together, what do you value? What are you willing to fight for?

This was yet another thought provoking and emotional read from Taylor Jenkins Reid. I'll be honest: when I first heard about this book last year, I had zero interest in it. I am married and I did not understand why a married couple would choose to work on their problems while living apart and not speaking to each other. Honestly, I thought it would be more annoying than anything. But then I read Maybe in Another Life by this author and I had a sudden urge to read everything she has ever written. Boy am I glad I did!!

Lauren and Ryan have been married for seven years and I think they've been together about ten years. They married soon after college and through a few well placed flashbacks, we are able to see that their relationship goes from lovey dovey happiness to nothing but arguments and distance. Even after reading this book, I still have a hard time with the decision to see other people and not talk to each other for a year. Marriage is hard and it takes a lot of work. Loving someone is a choice. You wake up every day and you make the choice to love the person you have chosen to spend the rest of your life with. Granted, it doesn't feel like a choice when everything is new and fresh and you are starting out, but it is definitely a choice. Some days the choice to love my husband is ridiculously easy and some days the choice is really hard. I think that's the case for a lot of people. I don't really understand why people decide to separate in order to work on their problems. That being said, the author somehow made me understand Lauren and Ryan's choice. 

"Ryan and I are two people who used to be in love. What a beautiful thing to have been. What a sad thing to be."

And man, this book made me think of my own marriage and how easy it can be to just get complacent and stop talking. This is what happened with Lauren and Ryan and it sucked. I can't even get clearer than that: it sucked. I hated to see them go from loving each other to basically not caring about each other. The opposite of love is NOT hate. The opposite of love is actually apathy. It just hurt my heart to watch both of these people get to that point. During the year apart, Lauren tries to examine her feelings for Ryan and whether she had anything in her to fight for her marriage. The whole journey to rediscover herself and figure out what she wants was so emotional and touching. 


"Maybe it doesn't matter if you need someone during the everyday moments of your life. Maybe what matters, is that when you need someone, they are the one you need. Maybe needing someone isn't about not being able to do it without them. Maybe needing someone is about it being easier if they are by your side."

I cried several times throughout this book. I don't want to give away the ending, but I will say that the turmoil of their separation and all the feelings of depression and loneliness and doubt exhausted me as much as it did them. There is so much going on and it is impossible to take sides here. There are two sides to every story and I loved that the author refused to put the blame on just one person in the relationship. Both Lauren and Ryan did and said things that contributed to the downfall of their marriage.

I freaking adored this book. I loved it so much that I wanted to read it all over again as soon as I finished it. I couldn't stop highlighting the amazing and beautiful quotes in this book. It will stay with you long after you finish it.


Buy/Borrow/Skip: Buy this one!! 

14 comments :

  1. I'm a little scared of the outcome. I mean, I tend to get vested in relationships inside the book so depending how it all pans out, it might have a huge bearing on my enjoyment. I really should read her work!

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    1. Joy, I completely understand but I promise you will love this one! I was so satisfied with the ending. I just know you will too.

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  2. I'm so glad to see your review! I loved Maybe In Another Life, and I have an ARC of her upcoming new book. I wondered whether I'd enjoy this one, but since you speak so highly of it, I'm thinking I should check it out!

    Lisa @ Bookshelf Fantasies

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    1. Thanks Lisa! I have an ARC of her next book as well and can't wait to read it. I absolutely love her work. If you loved Maybe In Another Life, you will LOVE this one for sure.

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  3. I have this one and so need to get to it! I loved Maybe in Another Life so much so I am sure I will love this one too. Wonderful review!

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    1. Thanks Grace! I am sure you will. :)

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  4. Awww if you cried then it must be a tearful book! Great review! I might consider this one :)

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  5. This book made me so emotional too. I HATED that they had to take that separation and see other people but Taylor Jenkins Reid make it so believable. They were definitely both responsible for the downfall of their wedding and I'm glad that the author showed that and not that one party was to blame. I have two more books by her to read, but no doubt they'll be fantastic too. There's just something about her writing that's absolutely wonderful.
    Lovely review, Cynthia!

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    1. Nick, you are so right. If this book had been by any other author, I don't think I would have read it. I just didn't get how a married couple could separate and see other people and somehow decide what to do with their relationship at the same time. But Taylor Jenkins Reid did such a great job with making me understand why this couple made that choice. This marriage was so incredibly realistic and I loved the character development. At first, each person was putting 100% of the blame on the other but then they realized what their faults were. This author is becoming one of my favorites.

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  6. I've read all of her books - love them!

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    1. Mary, the only one I haven't read yet is Forever, Interrupted. I have given her books five stars so far. I love her work so much!

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  7. I freaking adored this book! It was amazing and sad and very believable...which only made it sadder. So glad you loved it too!

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    1. Thanks Nereyda! It was actually your review that persuaded me to read it! I am so glad I took the chance on it, despite the premise. I freaking adored it.

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