Book Review | After I Do by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Authour:afterido
Taylor Jenkins Reid

Format:
Advance Reader Copy, 334 pages
Publication date:
July 1st 2014
Publisher:
Washington Square Press
Source:
Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review:
There are scores of stories that just end when a couple gets married, leaving the reader to guess what happens after. However, After I Do takes, the less common approach of telling the story of a married couple, Lauren and Ryan, whose marriage is falling apart. Their marriage get so unbearable that the pair decides to separate as they no longer find that they love each other anymore.

And while there may be some books that have similar stories what I like about this book is how it opens up with the couple having a heated argument before jumping to how they met 11 years ago, followed by their wedding and the months that follow up until the present time with a few time skips in between. Fortunately this indicates the start of each chapter so the reader doesn’t get too confused. As a result, we get to witness Lauren and Ryan meeting and falling in love and then falling in love as both start to neglect their relationship once they get married. I found this a clever storytelling tool, and it works well for the type of story the authour is trying to tell.

What I liked about After I Do is that there is no magic solution to their marital problems; the couple is left to their own devices to try and figure things out on their own. Everything they do has consequences, and even their separation affects just more than the couple. There is an excellent scene in the book where Lauren’s brother who has always been close to Ryan ever since Ryan came into Lauren life tells her that she doesn’t own Ryan even though they split up. This was realistic in that it examines the question of what happens to the other relationships when a marriage breaks up, it’s too simplistic to say you’d take the side of your blood family no questions asked. I believe in real life relationships are more complicated and messy and at times family members may end up cherishing those relationships that resulted because of the marriage just as much as their relationship with their own family and it is just as painful if not almost impossible to give those relationships up.

Taylor Jenkins Reid writes family relationships extremely well in After I Do, and her writing also flows nicely. In particular, I like the relationship Lauren has with her family, especially the one she has with her sister, Rachel which made me envious of their closeness. Rachel was also such a refreshing character as you rarely see characters that don’t put much stock in whether or not they end up married and with a family in women fiction. As this is how I also feel about the subject, I loved that I was able to relate to the character of Rachel in that way. Overall, the whole family dynamic in Lauren’s family was so amazing and it was easy to love them, especially her grandmother who was the perfect blend of sweetness, harshness, and hilarity.

After I Do is a book that even if you’re not married you could probably enjoy just as well, as it reminds us the importance of appreciating the people we love and to cherish all the time we have with them.

If you like this book, you’ll love: Landline by Rainbow Rowell

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

Blog Tour | Mating For Life by Marissa Stapley Book Review

Authour:matelife
Marissa Stapley
Format:
Advance Reader Copy, 312 pages
Publication date:
June 24 2014
Publisher:
Washington Square Press
Source:
Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review:
Marissa Stapley’s debut novel, Mating for Life is both an interesting and a touching story about the relationships women have with each other in addition to being about family and love. Though the book started off slow for me, and some parts were a bit too wordy for my liking, I thought Mating for Life was overall a nice read.

What I enjoyed about Mating for Life is that it follows only the women in the book with the men acting as more secondary characters. Throughout the book we get to know Helen Sear, the mother of three grown up daughters and a woman who has always prided herself on not needing men. As well, we also obtain an opportunity to get acquainted with her daughters, Liane, Fiona and Ilsa, who are all unique though fairly believable characters. And even though I could not relate much to them with the exception of Liane’s tendency to idealize strangers; they still felt extremely real to me since the issues and questions the characters have are quite common today.

With many characters, it was a bit tough to get used to all the bouncing between different characters’ point of views which often happens in a single chapter, perhaps it would have been better if each character had their own chapter so that the flow was not disrupted as much. However even within the chapters, the transitions between different characters were handled better compared to other books I’ve read previously.

Overall, Stapley’s greatest strength in Mating for Life lies in capturing the complexities of female relationships as well as describing the little and on occasion dramatic moments such as the bridge scene between Fiona and her husband, Tim as well as the epilogue with Helen. The first scene made me tear up a bit, which made me look even weirder than usual as I was reading it while on the bus. Meanwhile the latter just filled me up with so much hope and joy.

Mating for Life is a book that I believe would make for a fine cottage read given its main setting. And I love how Stapley plays with the title of her book by including a brief description of the mating and/or breeding behaviour of a different animal at the start of each chapter. This adds to the book, as not only do you find an interesting story, but you also learn a thing or too.

If you like this book, you’ll love: My Ghosts by Mary Swan

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.