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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

#SRC2014 Review: After I Do by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Title: After I Do
Author: Taylor Jenkins Reid
Format: Paperback
Publisher: July 1, 2014
Publish Date: Washington Square Press
Source: BookSparks Summer Reading Challenge

What's the Story?:

From "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 is a love story about what happens when the love fades. It’s about staying in love, seizing love, forsaking love, and committing to love with everything you’ve got. And above all, After I Do is the story of a couple caught up in an old game—and searching for a new road to happily ever after."

My Two Cents:

In "After I Do," Lauren and Ryan have been married several years. They have known each other since they were 19 years old. Their relationship feels very much "old hat" to them. Things start going downhill when they start getting angry at each other for reasons that they feel that they should not have to even tell each other. The other person should just know, but, of course, it doesn't work like that. Communication is of the utmost importance in any relationship, romantic or not. This book is really about being able to be upfront with what you need from a relationship and learning to stand on your own while being a part of a good partnership. I was enchanted with this story and all of the characters and thoroughly enjoyed this book.

Lauren and Ryan realize that they need to learn to be apart and to learn to be more independent so that they can have a better relationship so they decide to separate, a hard decision for any couple. Their friends and family try to be understanding but they are sure that the separation is the first step towards divorce. I applaud the characters for being so brave. I think choosing to separate in order to come together stronger would be an incredibly hard decision. The book starts out with the beginnings of Lauren and Ryan's relationship and how it shapes and shifts as their relationship matures. Both characters get sort of lazy about the upkeep of their relationship and it ends up biting them in the rear.

The majority of the book is focused on the year that they spend apart. I really thought this part of the book was interesting. Ryan and Lauren commit to not having contact with each other. They both are a little at sea at first but slowly they realize that each of their individual happiness is under their control whether they are with each other or not.

I absolutely loved the characters in the book. Lauren's family is fantastic. Her grandmother is amazing. Her mom is goofy. Her sister, Rachel, is a great cheerleader. Her brother, Charlie, was fascinating to me. He is going through his own trials and tribulations and he sort of shows Lauren that there is no straightforward path to happiness, a lesson that she desperately needs to learn.

This is one of those books that I know is going to be on my mind for a long time. Reid definitely captures the relationship in the book in a really realistic way that will make anyone that is or has been a part of a relationship reflect a little bit!



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