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!
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
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.”
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.
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! 😀
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.
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.
➔➔➔ Love this author? Check out more of my Taylor Jenkins Reid features and reviews on my blog!