By: Taylor Jenkins Reid
Published Year: 2014
Publisher: Washington Square Press
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Summary (Provided by Goodreads): 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.
I first heard about this book through a review on So Obsessed With (one of my fave book review blogs). I read the summary and immediately knew it was a book I would be interested. Add that to the rave review and I was hooked. On top of that, this cover is definitely one that I would have picked up off the shelves based on the cover alone (just an FYI that the cover recently changed and I don't like it as much as the original).
What I thought
I really enjoyed this book. I related to this book in a big way and found the writing style to everything I wanted it to be and more. I loved the characters, I loved the writing, I loved the story.
Lauren and Ryan met at 19 in college and have been together ever since. They have been married for a few years, but all of a sudden can’t stand each other. They find themselves irritated by anything and everything that the other person does. Because of this, they decide to spend a year apart. During this year, they decide to not have any communication with each other. No phone calls, no texts, no emails. They are going to live their lives separately for an entire year after 11 years apart.
Ok guys, it’s side bar time. My husband and I have been together for 8 years. We met at 19, like Lauren and Ryan, and have been together ever since. We lived together for two years and then lived apart for another year before I headed to Florida for graduate school. We stayed together the entire year and a half I was in Florida and he was in Michigan. During that time, he traveled to visit me about once a month. Even though we stayed together and loved each other, toward the end of my time in Florida, I felt very similar to Lauren. Everything that my boyfriend/now husband did was opportunity for a fight. It’s hard to explain unless you experience, but while I knew that I still loved him, I didn’t like him anymore.
Shortly after I moved back home, I decided I needed some time to myself. I was not happy and didn’t want to waste my time or his. Luckily, I realized not too long into our break that I needed my boyfriend/husband in my life and we got back together. Because of these experiences, I felt very connected to the story. I understood all of Lauren’s questions and my heart broke for both of them.
This book is a great book for anyone in a long term relationship. I think it’s also good for anyone NOT in a relationship. I think that those who are in a long term relationship will connect with this book and look back on their relationship and hopefully use what Lauren and Ryan learn throughout the book. While I think that people who are in or who have been in a long term relationship might connect to this book more, I think those who have not been in a long term (or any) relationship could learn a lot from this book.
Reid is such a great author and I’m so glad that I was introduced to her. She balances the drama with humor and makes every character likeable. There was also an air of unpredictability in her writing. I kept thinking that I knew what twists she was going to use, but I was still surprised.
By: Taylor Jenkins Reid