After I Do by Taylor Jenkins Reid: Review

After I Do by Taylor Jenkins Reid: ReviewAfter I Do by Taylor Jenkins Reid
on July 1, 2014
Genres: Chick Lit, Contemporary Women

From the author of Forever, Interrupted—hailed by Sarah Jio as "moving, gorgeous, and at times heart-wrenching"—comes a breathtaking new novel about modern marriage, the depth of family ties, and the year that one remarkable heroine spends exploring both.

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.

Alexis says…

After I Do is a scary-accurate portrayal of what can go wrong in a marriage. It delves into the heart-heavy issue of what happens when you lose yourself, your identity, and your feelings for the person you exchanged vows with years prior. Love becomes resentment that turns into awkward exchanges that leaves a sour feeling in your heart.

Ryan and Lauren meet in college and their love affair starts almost immediately. Their first exchanges are full of butterflies, smiles, and pure adoration. But as the years go by, you can see one-by-one that the communication goes out the window and they aren’t on the same page. At all.

“Ryan and I are two people who used to be in love.

What a beautiful thing to have been.

What a sad thing to to be.”

When it all goes to hell real quick, they decide to take a “year off” from their marriage. Ryan moves out and Lauren is left with full custody of Thumper, their dog. During this year, they are to figure out how to find their way back to each other. Can they even make their way back to each other?

During their year apart, Lauren learns so much about herself. Her bond with her family becomes tighter. She becomes the better big sister, daughter, and granddaughter. She learns a lot about herself in this time away from Ryan and develops into a better version of herself.

This story, in my opinion, will hit home in at least one aspect with each and every reader. You will be able to understand the struggle that Lauren and Ryan are going through. I’ve been married for almost ten years and was around the same age that Lauren and Ryan are when I met my husband. Small things at the time can fester and eventually blow up in our face. If you don’t have that line of open communication and willingness to see the big picture a marriage can go downhill real fast.

“Make no mistake: I do love you. Just because I don’t feel the love in my heart doesn’t mean I don’t know it’s there. I know it’s there. I’m leaving because I’m going to find it. I promise you that.”

Even if you don’t agree with the “year-long separation”, there is so much to learn from this book. You will see that there is no exact formula on how to keep the love alive but if it works for you, that is perfect. That no two relationships are the same, but the result is the same…love and partnership. You have to love and want to spend the rest of your life with the person you marry.

This book is entirely Lauren’s point of view. We learn how she has changed throughout the separation. But don’t fret, we do hear Ryan’s voice as well. The way the author wove that into the story was very unique and I really, really liked it! It made you understand where he was coming from and how he was faring.

After I Do is such a powerful story that I truly believe everyone should read. Marriage is such an important part of our lives, happiness and love is so important, if you don’t have it, then you aren’t left with much. I will admit, since I’ve picked up this book, I’ve made it a point to hold my husband closer at night, grab his hand (those few times we aren’t holding hands), and just thank my lucky stars that I did find the person who makes me happy and vice-versa.

“Just because you can live without someone doesn’t mean you want to”






About Taylor Jenkins Reid

Taylor Jenkins Reid is an author and essayist from Acton, Massachusetts. 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 their dog, Rabbit.