July 24, 2017

TYRR #4: After I Do

Yes, we're both aware that it's almost the end of July. Yes, that means that this is basically three months late. But since The Year of Recommended Reads is our little project, Lindsey of Bring My Books and I are making our rules up as we go - and we're catching up on the books too. It was my turn for a recommendation in April, and I chose to have us read my favorite Taylor Jenkins Reid novel - After I Do. Don't forget to go and check out Lindsey's post as well!

Why was this book on my TBR? If we're using the term TBR to refer to books that I haven't read yet, then this technically doesn't count as part of my TBR. However, if we're just using TBR in the general sense of books that I wanted to read in 2017, then After I Do was on it because I wanted to reread it and see if it still held up as my favorite after reading all of her other work. Plus, anytime I'm asked which of her novels I recommend, this is immediately the one that comes to mind.

What is the book about? It's about Lauren and Ryan, a married couple who have reached a breaking point in their relationship and come up with their own solution: take a year off from their marriage in the hopes of resolving their own personal issues and finding a way to fall in love again. Their only rule is that they cannot contact each other at all; otherwise, they're free to do what they want. Lauren spends the year going through a cycle of emotions (anger, grief, surprise, joy, to name a few), as well as experiencing a perspective shift about herself and her relationships.

What did I think of the book? Allow me to direct y'all to my original review, every word of which I still stand by as of this latest reread. After I Do is still the same whip smart, emotionally resonant, compulsively readable novel I remember it to be. Reid takes care to portray all sorts of relationships in Lauren's life - her coworkers, her family, her romance - with a complexity that feels so real. There are highs and there are lows; there's history and there's discovery; there's complicated and there's simple. I had almost forgotten how vividly portrayed all the important secondary characters are (not just her husband), and it was pleasant to be reminded of how much I enjoyed all the other relationships in Lauren's life.

But, since After I Do focuses primarily on Lauren's marriage to Ryan, the romance does take front and center. I must remark again on how much I enjoyed the contemplation on relationships - the trivialities, the larger issues, the good and the bad. It just felt like a very raw way to portray a marriage, and I like that Reid didn't shy away from the terrible bits to only focus on the good stuff (though she has a lot of that too). 

My minor quibbles have more to do with writing technicalities, but I still loved After I Do as much as I did the first time I read it. I truly think that the way Reid chose to write Lauren's journey, as well as the perspective she shares on marriage and romantic relationships, was still quite clever and refreshing and honest. I'd highly recommend checking out After I Do (as well as many of her other works too)!

After I Do by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Publisher: Washington Square Press | Publication Date: July 1, 2014
Source: Paperback I own

Favorite character? I had actually forgotten how much I like Rachel, Lauren's sister. She's a sweetheart who absolutely loves her sister and the rest of their family. I love that she's funny, thoughtful and loyal; I also like that she had this whole side journey where she wanted to open a bakery!

Favorite scene? Oh, this is definitely a tough one! I think I'm going to go with a moment that happens early on in the book, when Lauren and Ryan go on their first date. I just like the way that things fall into place for them, because it reminds me of my first date with my husband.

Favorite quote? "I know it will be okay because everything is okay in the end. And if it's not okay, it's not the end."

For the updates every fifty pages, I had to do something a little bit different since I couldn't properly mark it on Goodreads! I ended up making my own notes on my phone, so check out my thoughts as I read below.


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