Wednesday, April 22, 2015
After I Do by Taylor Jenkins Reid
My rating: 7/10 (Enjoyable)
Lauren and Ryan have been together for eleven and a half years. Over the years their relationship went from an amazing love and respect for each other to a dull and resentful marriage. The reader enters the story at it's peak of resentment and then we are taken back to the beginning of the relationship. We learn bits and pieces of how their love has evolved and came to where it is today, to the point of no return. Lauren and Ryan decide to live a year apart, with no contact. Anything goes, in one year they will revisit their marriage in the hopes of being able to find their way back to each other and save their marriage.
I have to admit when I first picked this book up I was annoyed by the premise. Being a newlywed, I can't imagine not loving my husband to the ends of the earth. But I've also been divorced so I know how a marriage can go downhill and resentful fast. I never got the feeling that Lauren and Ryan were so bad that they couldn't work it out if they wanted to they just didn't want to in my eyes. Taking a year off from your marriage where "ANYTHING" goes, just seemed absurd to me. There is no way that this could end well, and I didn't see the point. However, once Lauren got into the swing of her "single" life and being her own person I started to really enjoy the story. I enjoyed her evolution into finding herself and learning what she really wanted for herself and in a relationship. I enjoyed her bonding with her family. There were a few times when I wondering about Ryan and why we weren't getting his full experience as well but that was few and far between.
When Lauren starts reading Ryan's draft emails, I assumed that he was drafting these this in the hopes that she would read them and that it would be their way of communicating and it turns out it was. It was a clever way for the author to get us to hear Ryan's side of things. However; this brought me so many questions in the end. I wonder how this experiment would have been different if Lauren didn't read Ryan's draft email. If she didn't know he was dating or what he was feeling, would she have acted and felt differently? She had some strong reactions to some that forced her to see their relationship differently and she made decisions sometimes on those email. What if she never knew, would she have evolved differently then she had? If she didn't know he still missed her and loved her in the end, would she have realized how much she missed him? If he wrote the opposite, would she have continued down her path of moving on? It just seemed that some of her evolution was dependent upon his email... but she loved him and so why shouldn't his feelings and actions affect her?
By the end, I found myself tearing up in some spots. I thought it was a great ending.... While at first I didn't find it very believable, I ended up being completely taken by the story of Lauren and Ryan and I truly enjoyed their love story. I found myself loving Lauren's Grandmom and agreed with most of what she had to say.
I hope that my husband and I never go through anything like this, but in all honesty, I feel like I've learned something from this book that I hope I keep with me.
Anything is possible if you just try.... and give it everything you got.