Friday, July 18, 2014

After I Do, by Taylor Jenkins Reid - #SRC2014

I received review copies from BookSparks in order to write my book review posts for the 2014 Summer Reading Challenge. All opinions are my own. This post may contain affiliate links.

You may have noticed that I haven't posted many books lately here, but I am slowly getting back into my Summer reading after a few crazy weeks. I think I should point out that you can join in with the Book Sparks Summer Reading Challenge at any time. There are still fun prizes to be won on the Facebook page and many great books to discover! #SRC2014

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 Opinion
Emotionally raw, insightful and beautiful all at the same time. After I Do really made me appreciate the love I have and the ongoing relationship I have worked so hard for. As the cover states, falling in love was much easier.

I wasn't really sure what to think when I picked up After I Do. Having been married for 13 years the premise was a little odd to me. I am not sure I would ever choose to live apart from my spouse if we were having trouble. But, I can't say I have ever had the breakdown of communication as Lauren and Ryan did in the book

I love how author Taylor Jenkins Reid set up the story. The reader is shown short but significant snapshots of a relationship changing and then dying. When the whole suggestion of living apart comes up, it makes sense for the characters. A few of the scenes, like the big fight and the morning after, were gut wrenching. It was brutal honesty that I rarely see written.

And though the family of characters may not start out making sense, through how they all deal with the "breakup" and how life moves on, I started to fall in love with all them - even the irresponsible younger brother and quirky Mom. In the end it was a whole family who endured this "breakup" and had to discover a way to heal and appreciate each other all over again.

There were a few times I was brought to tears. There were so many strong emotions tied to how their actions affected the other, even when they didn't realize it. There is a bond of marriage and being connected so deeply to someone that just doesn't go away. I thought the author did an amazing job leading me along that emotional rollercoaster and I really had a hard time leaving the world in the book to come up for air.

This is a book you MUST add to your Summer reading list. Just make sure you arm youself with a box of tissues from the start.

Taylor Jenkins Reid is an author and essayist from Acton, Massachusetts. She graduated from Emerson College with a degree in Media Studies. Her first novel, Forever, Interrupted, was named one of the “11 Debuts We Love” by Kirkus Reviews. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, Alex, and her dog, Rabbit. Her forthcoming novel, After I Do, will be published July 1, 2014.

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