Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Blog Tour: After I Do by Taylor Jenkins Reid

After I Do by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Series: Standalone
Published: July 1st, 2014
Publisher: Washington Square Press
352 pages (eARC)
Genre: Women’s fiction
Acquired this book: From the publisher in exchange for an honest review
Warning: May contain spoilers
{GoodReads || Buy this book: Amazon || Book Depository || Chapters/Indigo}

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.

Last year I read and loved Taylor Jenkins Reid’s debut, Forever, Interrupted. I knew she was a talent to watch out for, so I was excited when I learned about her second book, After I Do. One of the things I loved most about Forever, Interrupted was how brutally honest it was. Reid wasn’t afraid to tell it like it really is, and I loved that. I was pleased to discover After I Do was told with that same candor and wit.

After I Do was a different kind of love story. We go into it immediately seeing the cracks in Lauren and Ryan’s marriage. Most stories are about how a couple comes to be, not how they fall apart and deal with the aftermath. I appreciated the original perspective of this story. Despite being the same age as Lauren, I didn’t think I’d be able to relate to her, since I’m single and have never been married. I was surprised when I found myself nodding along to a lot of the things she said/thought. I felt like I got Lauren, and considering how little we actually have in common, I’d say that’s a pretty great accomplishment on the author’s part.

Lauren had a strong voice. One of the things I loved about her (and this was one of the main things I loved about Forever, Interrupted as well) was how she said things that most people probably think but are too afraid to say out loud. Some of these things were shocking, hilarious, and embarrassing, but they were all so true, which made me connect with her even more. Despite the serious subject matter, there were moments of humour and levity that were perfectly timed. Even though there were a lot of great messages packed  into the pages, I felt like the book didn't take itself too seriously, if that makes sense. 

Lauren’s journey of self-discovery wasn’t easy. There weren’t any lightning-bolt moments or major overnight revelations, it was slow and painful and messy and complicated and beautiful. In other words, it was realistic. Lauren's family was incredible; they were definitely one of my favourite aspects of the book. There aren’t enough books with healthy portrayals of family, but Reid nailed the dynamics between Lauren and her siblings and mother.

After I Do is a story about the fragile, complicated, and often-chaotic nature of love, life, and family. I felt like I went on Lauren’s journey with her; I felt her heartache, her uncertainties, and her triumphs. I laughed and cried and came away feeling like I’d learned a few valuable lessons about life. Taylor Jenkins Reid has a magical way with words. I can't wait to see what she comes up with next. 


{Read my review of Forever, Interrupted}

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. 

Find Taylor Online: {Website || Facebook || Twitter || GoodReads}

Have you read After I Do? What did you think? If you haven't read it, is it on your TBR list? Do you enjoy books that explore themes of self-discovery? How about books with a strong emphasis on family?

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