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!!