Book Review – After I Do by Taylor Jenkins Reid

by Maryse on July 16, 2014 · 44 comments

in My Book Reviews

After I Do: A Novel
<—- WOW!!!!! What a wonderful book!!!! EASILY one of the best books I’ve read this year. Easily a 5 star read (plus?), in my opinion. And EASILY one of my all-time favorites. I will never forget this one, and what it did to my heart. It put me through the ringer, but perfectly so. Nothing contrived, nothing over-the-top, nothing eye-rolling. Just… good (and bad) emotional perfection.

This book was RICH!!!! Rich in realism, rich in intensity, rich in emotion, rich in angst, rich in growth, rich in it’s pacing, rich in it’s eloquent words… Just. Plain. RICH.

Mind you, yessssss…. this one is not just “rich” in the quality sense. It’s actually quite pricey. Not a bargain book by any standard. But I one-clicked it on that blurb alone, and chose it as my “next” when a few from our reading group chimed in saying it was awesome…

Sadie: Would like to second (or third or fourth by now) After I Do by Taylor Jenkins Reid. It was so good! It came highly recommended and didn’t disappoint. Pricier than indies and not lendable (got mine from the library) but very good.

Britton: It was fabulous

Sadie: if you are married, it’s a must read! I’ve been on a high all week!

Billie: I went on a Goodreads quote liking spree because I can’t stop thinking about this book! Anyone who is married can totally relate to this book and these characters. Easy 5-stars for this one!!

Maryse: This will be my next!

…and I don’t regret paying that price one bit. Worth every penny, and is exactly what I look for when I want to be consumed by a book.

Maryse’s Book Blog: I chose my next book (from my latest TBR LIST), and I’m LOVING it!! “After I Do” by Taylor Jenkins Reid. So far, wonderfully written and explored and it’s totally breaking my heart. Sooooo real. Powerful. Visceral. Definitely not a bargain book, but I’m glad I one-clicked this one. My heart, though, not so much.

Maryse’s Book Blog: Holy moly this one’s good. :( <— sad

Kristi: Maryse, Erin read this and was RAVING about it. She loved it so, so much!

Erin: Yay!! Maryse, I LOVED this one. Ugh…I went through so many feelings with them.

Maryse’s Book Blog: This one… Ooooof!! Okay u can be my support.

Erin: I am here!! Great story. Totally real! I was in a major funk after this one. What % are you? 1

Maryse’s Book Blog: 30%

Jules: Lover this one too!

Susan: I was debating about getting this one but after reading the awesome posts, think I may be one-clicking!!!

Summer: I want it so bad but it would take most of my monthly book ” allowance”
12 hours ago · Like

Stephanie: Worth every cent!! I absolutely loved this book. So emotional…the kind that you feel deep down in your bones because it’s soooo relatable! This one has been with me all week!

Maryse’s Book Blog: Ugh!!! Oooohhhhhhhhhhhh! ROAR!! evil Sorry… Having a “moment”. Still loving.

Maryse’s Book Blog: Oh. neutral hehe.

Stephanie: This book requires some hand holding for sure!

Sadie: Still thinking about it! One of my faves of 2014 for sure. The emails….

Maryse’s Book Blog : Half way point and I’m not even close to being sleepy. This one may be an all-night for me. It’s been awhile. Love it!2

Maryse’s Book Blog: Yessssssses eek the emails. My heart. And then…

Sadie: That one line!

Diane: I cried my eyes out with this one, it is pricey but it was at my library

Maryse’s Book Blog: Okay you know what!??? OMG I LOVED IT!!!!!!! LOVED!!! 5 stars ohhhh yes! I ended up falling asleep, but with the lights on, and then I woke up, and finished it. Pretty much a straight-shot read for me (unputtdownable except for the part when I finally conked out). But WOW. So happy I read this one!!

Sadie: Yay! “Wow” was actually my review in goodreads LOL. Several of us can’t stop talking about it since last week. Loved the line about “what a beautiful thing to have been…what a sad thing to be.

Maryse’s Book Blog: OH MY GOD YESSSS!!!! I highlighted that with a “WOW!!!” LOL!!!! My gooooodness where did this book come from?!!! I am just blown away by it’s intensity and it’s emotion, and it’s REALISM, and it’s angst but not over-the-top-angst but still… ANGST. And the growth, and the realizations, and it just… it all made so much sense and I FELT it so deep.

Sadie: Yes!!! It made me cry. So honest and relatable. It’s no coincidence that I’ve been extra nice to my hubby since last week PS – loved the grandma and brother too.

Diane: Her other one looks great too (Forever, Interrupted: A Novel)

Kodi: Im on page 136, and I have to put it down now. I feel tummy troubles coming on. You might find me in the bathroom for a big portion of the day. With my book!

Maryse’s Book Blog: LOL!!!!!! I felt those tummy aches reading this one, too. Oh yes. And butterflies! And more aches. And more butterflies.

Pure reading entertainment for those of us that love a good love story, but that enjoy working for it, every step of the way. And I don’t mean that in an arduous or hard read kind of way. Working for this love story isn’t going to exhaust you. It will exhilarate you. Adrenalize you. Excite you and devastate you, and back again (and not necessarily in that order). It is laden in realistic moments. Moments that you can feeeeeel deep inside your heart, and your stomach, along with the characters.

That initial crush. That “first kiss”, and the subsequent, hour-long kisses after. That first time.

I really didn’t think there was a too soon or too late. I was so confident about Ryan, so confident in myself, that something about it seemed foolproof. As if I could already tell that we were so good together we couldn’t mess it up if we tried.

And that brought me both an intense thrill and a deep calm.

That first I love you.

But then he said, “This is good, isn’t it?”

I turned toward him. “Yeah,” I said. “It is.”

“No,” he said to me. “This is, like, perfect, what we have. We could get married some day.”

*dreamy sigh*

The eventual newlywed bliss. The plans for the future. And then… the married-life issues. Big soul-deep love and turmoil.

We don’t say anything. I think of how much I want to scream at him. I think of how I wanted to scream at him last night, too. I think of how much I’ll probably want to scream at him tomorrow. I can only imagine he’s thinking much of the same. And yet the air between us is perfectly still, uninterrupted by any of our thoughts.

The stupid stuff. The important stuff.

“I’m sorry,” he says.

“No, me, too,” I say. But I don’t really know what I’m even sorry for. I feel as if I’ve been sorry for months now without a reason. What am I really doing wrong here? What is happening to us?

The resentments. The ultimatums. The rituals. The sweet things that you look forward to each year. The monotonous things that you dread, each day. The giving in. The letting go. The not letting go. And then the letting go… almost completely.

All I know is that this might, in fact, be the end of my marriage. It might be the end of something I thought had no ending.

And this is where the story really gets going (and let me tell you, I was already IN from page one), so you can imagine…

Yep. Once that “part” in the blurb kicked in, I thought I’d be ready for it:

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.

But instead, my heart was BREAKING. That is the kind of emotion that this author injects into her characters. They can go from bored and wishing for anything else but this (you’ll feel it, exactly so), to acceptance and even a certain secret thrill at the new changes they are about to embark upon (you’ll feel that too), to utter devastation, and complete sense of loss in the blink of just a few words. Or just a few moments alone. <— and this will just about break you.

Ryan starts laughing. He actually manages to laugh. “I don’t know why I’m laughing,” he says, as he gains his composure. “This is the saddest moment of my life.”

And then his voice breaks and the tears fall from his eyes, and he truly look at me for maybe the first time in a year. He repeats himself, slowly and deliberately. “This is the saddest moment of my life.”

*oooooofffff* Did you feel that? Punch to the gut, right there. Oh yes. I was crying. So many intense moments like that, my friends (in good and bad emotional ways), but so intense. SO REAL.

You must read this!!!!

So that’s all I’m going to say about this one. I won’t tell you how it ends, or the realizations the characters have as they attempt a go at new lives (new futures), but I will tell you it’s pretty much unputtdownable. The sense of family and friends provides comedy amongst the deep moments of pain and desolation. A sense of comedic relief and hope through the moments of alone.

My heart is truly broken. And I know that even if it mends, it will look different, feel different, beat differently.

From the varying bits of advice (and each one valid in it’s varying truths), to analyzing their own childhoods, to seeing their families with a whole new eye, it seems as if every facet of adult life is tested (and awesomely so). From the bittersweet flashbacks, to the new experiences. The mistakes (past AND present). The truths. The cognizance.

It’s stunning, really, what I can do to myself with only a misunderstanding.

The growth.

This story is simply stunning in it’s exploration.

The pain and the joy are locked together, tightly bound.

It went there. It took risks. It did (and said) things that I wondered if they could recover from. And it did so because it was exploring real issues. Real love. Real life.

5 stars PLUS!

I HIGHLY recommend this! If you’re in a book slump? READ THIS!! It’ll get you out of it. If you’re on an awesome book roll? Read this! You’ll continue it! :D

P.S. This book is one of THOSE. One that has the most (and the best) most relevant, touching, believable, realistic thoughts and quotes, EVER!!!!

P.P.S. Here are my notes, just to give you an idea (and that was when I had enough of me available to actually write a note). Most of the time I was just too busy sighing, roaring, or crying to stop and note it. ;) :

Whoa! SO crazy to hear THAT.



ROAR!!! What an a$$!!!!!


Wow… from emails of *spoilers*… to this.

WOW!!! My heart. How exquisitely, poignantly, viscerally worded.



Hahahahahahahhahahah!!!!! Funny!!!!!


Wow. Just WOW!!!!!!


P.P.P.S. I have SO many favorite quotes in this, each one equal to me in it’s poignancy but here’s just one more that I couldn’t help but post. No worries, it’s not a spoiler… just so beautifully painful. Such a real thought, and I had to highlight it.

That man who stood on the steps of Vernal Fall and told me he couldn’t live without me… I wonder what he’s doing right now, living without me.


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{ 44 comments… read them below or add one }

Sara July 16, 2014 at 1:47 PM

Holy crap. Wow. That last quote you gave just made my eyes pop out.

Maryse July 16, 2014 at 2:04 PM

I know, right?! The WHOLE book is like that. Ahhhhhhh I just… can’t get over this one.

Screaming it from the rooftops!!! I’m starting her other standalone book tonight. YAY ME!! :D

MichelleS July 16, 2014 at 2:20 PM

Thank you baby Jesus (and Maryse)…. a five star recommendation – finally! I need “un-put-down-able”, because I keep putting my Kindle down. Nothing is grabbing me. I was seriously considering jumping to e new genre or something. I am going for it. :-)

MichelleS July 16, 2014 at 2:22 PM

WHOA! 10.38? Wow… okay, I’m doing it, but it better be worth it. Sounds like it is…. “screaming from the rooftops” is some serious business…

Heather July 16, 2014 at 2:35 PM

I have been saving all of my one-clicks for a 16 hour plane ride I am taking this weekend.. I have a few good options so far but really want to read After I Do. Do you think it will be a good plane read??

Amy July 16, 2014 at 2:53 PM

I don’t care how much a book costs, if it elicits that kind of reaction then it is worth it. :D

But…Maryyyyyyyyyse! I’m ascared of this one! Me! Ascared! WTH?!? My tummy and chest are clenching just reading the above! Here, sounds like we both need it… *snuggle from me and my manatee*

Maryse July 16, 2014 at 3:07 PM

Heather, an excellent plane read! Great choice. Beware of public tears though. If you’re okay with that, you’re golden!

Maryse July 16, 2014 at 3:08 PM

*nestles into the fluffy manatee*

Thank you Amy. You should see the blurb for the book I’m gonna read tonight (this author, again). *eeeeeep!* I’m gonna need constant snuggling. ;)

Maryse July 16, 2014 at 3:11 PM

And you should be ascared. ;) although soooo worth it!

bev July 16, 2014 at 3:54 PM

I’m glad it turned out to be such a great read. From the blurbs I can see why they caught your attention. From all these reactions I’m going to have to see if my library has them. You must be a fast reader.

Amy July 16, 2014 at 4:14 PM

Aaaaaaahhhhh, crap!!! As if I’m not all emotional already…VIP has been just an okay read up until it blindsided me a few pages ago, and now my tummy is a wreck. Alright. One-clicking After I Do now. And Forever, Interrupted. *sigh* I’m screwed. You’re gonna hear about it when I freak the freak out. *eyeballs Maryse* ;) *resumes snuggling*

Jill July 16, 2014 at 5:08 PM

Hmmmm… this sounds sooooo depressing!!! :( I read to escape – not read about real life issues. Now granted I don’t know anyone who made this type of proposition with their spouse, but I’ve seen too many relationships start happy and end, well, in both being heartbroken. Clearly I don’t know how it ends, but to get to that point? Not sure the devastation throughout would be worth it. Love heartache in my books but as you said this is REAL…

Amy July 16, 2014 at 5:49 PM

Jill, I completely get where you are coming from. ;) But for me, I can describe it best as this: Reading books like this gives me an outlet for the emotions that stressors bring. I can’t handle books like this *all* of the time, but they are perfect when I need them. Then, I can come here and unleash what the book stirred up and *bam* – expended! Most of the time. :P Soooooo thankful for Maryse’s tolerance of my ramblings! Like today. *giggle*

Louise July 16, 2014 at 6:41 PM

Oh my Maryse….I won’t pay over $3.99 (unless I LOVE the author!) for an e-book but you seriously have me questioning my budget. This sounds like a heartbreaking intriguing read…..decisions decisions……………Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh I don’t know this author at all……

Maryse July 16, 2014 at 6:50 PM

I get it. Price-wise and “realistic emotion-wise”, this one is big. But, I’m so glad I didn’t limit myself, for this.. ;) I loved this book from start to finish.

Louise July 16, 2014 at 6:51 PM

But then again, Maryse—you have never ever steered me wrong! So…..may bite the bullet on this one………..

Cheryl July 16, 2014 at 8:39 PM

Okaay I’m one-clicking this pricey book. Man I feel emotional from just the review…have a feeling this book is going to kick my a**.

Just read the blurb for her other book Forever, Interrupted- now that one I’m ascared of big time!! You’re crazy!!! Don’t think Amy’s manatee can even help with that one. :(

Jill July 16, 2014 at 9:15 PM

Okay, Leah, I will consider it and download the sample. I guess if enough people continue to go crazy about it I’ll give in… peer pressure when it comes to books is a b!tch! ;)

Jill July 16, 2014 at 9:17 PM

OMG!!! That is supposed to say AMY!! I was listening to my daughter talk about her friend Leah and I wrote her name instead. Sorry! :) ;)

Isadora July 16, 2014 at 9:27 PM

I just bought it. I haven’t read a book in a month! I can’t find time to do it… But I always check your blog and your reviews Maryse, and my TBR list just keeps getting bigger.
A 5 star plus book I need to get to right away!!!! My husband and I are celebrating our 9 year anniversary today, I might have to squeeze a little reading time later lol.
I’m so excited to read it!

Maryse July 16, 2014 at 9:35 PM

Isadora, what a book to read on your wedding anniversary! Ooooooof! But I think it will have an even greater impact. :)

Isadora July 16, 2014 at 9:38 PM

Hahaha I’m going for it!!!! Should I get the tissues?

Michelle M July 16, 2014 at 10:37 PM

WOW! With a review like that, how can I pass this up? “This is the saddest moment of my life.” Gaaahhhh, that had me tearing up already and I don’t even know these characters yet! My man and I have been together 26 years, and we finally got married last year and are coming up on our one year anniversary on Monday. We have been through so many crazy times. It’s fun to read the outrageous FSOG kind of stories and escape for a while. But it’s also meaningful and affirming to read a book that feels a little more real with characters or situations I can relate to. Thank you for this review Maryse. I think After I Do just moved to #1 on my TBR list (after I finish Born Of Fury tonight).

Amy July 17, 2014 at 12:10 AM

Lol, Jill! Peer pressure is a *very* good thing around here! ;)

And happy anniversary to Isadora!! :D Woo-hoo, someone’s getting sexy time! *giggle* Um, yeah…so…okay, I’m just gonna go now… :P

Fabi July 17, 2014 at 1:27 AM

I am way too chicken to read this one. At least for right now, it has to go on my TBR list. I read too many back to back major heartbreak books a week or so ago and I need a break from the crying. But I’ll never pass up one of your 5 stars.

Maryse July 17, 2014 at 1:51 AM

MichelleS (from above in the comments), just chimed in on Facebook. She just finished it and she loved it! 5 stars from her too! :D

Jean July 17, 2014 at 1:53 AM

I had tears in my eyes just from your review! I have been in a book slump so it looks like I have to splurge on this one…haven’t read anything lately that had me that emotional… and I’m a little scared now too! Great review as usual!

MichelleS July 17, 2014 at 8:26 AM

Yes, Maryse… in case someone isn’t following Facebook… 5 stars easily. I wrote my very first review on goodreads for this book too. That’s how much I liked it. No… loved it. No car chases. No kidnappings. No alpha males. Nope. Nada. Just REAL. That’s what I loved. I got completely sucked into it. Every word was so authentic and not forced. It was a very easy read. I have highlights everywhere and I made my husband swear he didn’t hate me for making him go to “I Luv Pho” for Vietnamese food!!! Well worth the price because I know this story will stay with me.

Jean July 17, 2014 at 9:42 AM

I lost sleep over this book last night and hadn’t even started it yet! Started first thing this morning and everything you’ve said so far is right on….. The feelings are intense and I can’t put this book down. Thankfully I am on vacation so I don’t have to!

Carol July 17, 2014 at 1:05 PM

It is a great book! I loved it. I really like books about marriage struggles that are portrayed realistically. Have you read Heart of the Matter by Emily Griffin? I read that one a couple years ago and I still get a lump in my throat thinking about it.

Danielle July 17, 2014 at 1:12 PM

I loved this book too. I like that the emotions and problems are real.Its not a fantasy, its real life. I am starting her other book tonight..really enjoyed this author!

Jean July 17, 2014 at 1:22 PM

65%……sigh. Afraid of how it’s all going to end!

Maryse July 17, 2014 at 2:21 PM

I’m reading her other one right now. Actually at 90% …

Keep me up to date you guys, with this one! :D

Amber B July 17, 2014 at 4:03 PM

I liked this book a lot, not loved but liked. I was reading at one point, put it down and just snuggled with my hubby. It made me so sad at times.

Jean July 17, 2014 at 9:31 PM

Wow, wow, wow! I just loved this book so much! I have been married for 17 years…. have been with my husband since I was 16, so this book was intense for me and so real and so understandable. My feelings were all over the place with this one! Thank you so much for the recommendaton! So worth the money! Great author!

Summer July 17, 2014 at 9:53 PM

I took the $10 plunge. I liked it but I did not love it. Parts I could relate to as I have been with my hubby 13 years. I liked her writing style. With all the hype I guess I just expected the wow factor and I found it lacking.

Maryse July 18, 2014 at 10:32 AM

And all I got out of it was the WOW factor. LOL!! Ah well. ;)

I’m still thinking about it today, and kind of on the hunt for more like that one. The writing was exquisite, the story-telling, the feels… the ending. All of it. I want more. :D

Cheryl July 18, 2014 at 11:08 AM

35% in…gone from feeling awww, I remember that feeling- “I’m not sure there is a feeling quite like finding out that you make the person who makes you nervous, nervous” to feeling so sad for them and wanting Lauren to do something…

Maryse July 18, 2014 at 11:29 AM

Don’t listen to “Say Something” while reading this. Just… don’t. ;)

Cheryl July 18, 2014 at 12:22 PM

I can’t listen to “Say Something” on a good day without crying. ;)
Right now I’m angry at her- she seems like a hypocrite- wanting what you don’t have, but not wanting what you have… I hope it gets better…His emails…crying….

Amy July 18, 2014 at 7:45 PM

*snort* I had to take Say Something off of my playlists after you linked the video a while back and then someone mentioned *that* scene from Arsen. Remember? “I’m afraid.” *sob* And now After I Do? #@&%$#!!!

Oh lord. PMS is kicking my a$$ today. I’m gonna go crawl in my blanket cave with a glass of wine now…

Maryse July 18, 2014 at 8:31 PM

Don’t forget your manateeeeeee!!!

Amy July 18, 2014 at 9:25 PM

Oh, believe me…he’s not going anywhere! I think I’m going to end up carrying him around with me before this weekend is over like Matt did. *hee hee* ;)

Isadora July 21, 2014 at 4:28 PM

I just finished this book!!!! I LOVED it!!! This author’s writing style is just amazing. Everything felt real.

Thanks for another recommendation Maryse!

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