Wednesday, June 18, 2014

We Were On A Break

"Just because you can live without someone
doesn't mean you want to."*
--Taylor Jenkins Reid

Genre: Adult Contemporary
Publisher: Washington Square Press
Pages: 352
Publication Date: July 1st, 2014
Source: e-ARC provided by publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review
Previous Books By This Author: Forever, Interrupted
Goodreads Description

From the author of Forever, Interrupted—hailed by Sarah Jio as "moving, gorgeous, and at times heart-wrenching"—comes a breathtaking new novel about modern marriage, the depth of family ties, and the year that one remarkable heroine spends exploring both.

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.
The Writing I cannot even begin to do this book justice by trying to find a way to accurately describe the writing but I shall try. I think the best way to describe it is effortless. Taylor Jenkins Reid's talent is that she writes in a way that feels so fluid and natural that you feel like you're just sitting down to have coffee with your best friend. Does that make sense? I just mean while I was reading After I Do, and her previous book Forever, Interrupted, it just feels so easy to sit down and read and read and read...and read. It really feels like I was hanging out with a friend and she's telling me this really great story that I can't wait to find out the end. That's exactly what this book was. The writing sucks you in, invests your heart in these characters, and you don't want to stop until you know how it all ends. Brilliant.

The Story I am not married. I cannot even pretend to try and comprehend what marriage is like other than knowing what my parent's and grandparent's marriages are like. Even with that said, I felt like I could relate to the story. Being a single woman I felt like it gave me secret insight into the realities of marriage and now I have a leg up on what problems can arise if you don't realize the value of honesty. I absolutely loved how honest and raw this relationship felt. Every marriage and relationship is different but this situation felt like it could happen to anyone. The brutal honest these characters give themselves and each other was beautiful as it was heart-breaking. I cannot even find the words to describe Lauren and Ryan because you just have to read it yourself!

The Love While the story is centered around Lauren and her marriage, the main event was what Lauren was doing in her year off. Her relationships with her sister, brother, mother, and friends were amazing. The cultivation of these relationships while she was away from Ryan was so great to read about because it brought such understanding of herself to the table. She remembers what it is to be an individual person and how others live their lives.I loved that she was able to step back and really appreciate her family members and what they were to her and what she was to them. It's hard to explain! Gah, but my bottom line of this section and what I am trying to convey is that the world is made up of all different kinds of love and at the end of the day that's all that really matters. Love in any way, shape, or form.

The Message A theme in this book, or what I took from it, is that life is hardly ever what you expect it to be and you have to come to terms with the life you have rather than what you once imagined. That is a hard pill to swallow sometimes. I love and believe in this message which is why it isn't a negative, but I'll put it under this section for argument's sake because some people may not appreciate that dose of reality. I do but I needed something here.

The Break Ok, I get what the message is and the purpose of their separation. Obviously, it drives the whole book and they both know the experiment is kinda crazy. That didn't bother me. What bothered me was what happened when they were apart. I know that it serves the purpose of them realizing what, if anything, they still have together but certain aspects *really* bothered me. It felt totally unnecessary and it really kept me from fully loving this book. It is a taint on the story and it  might not bother some people at all, it really stings me and it's not something I can ignore.

Reserved Seating
This story is beautifully written, the characters are relatable, the story is un-put-downable (yes, I made that word up, sue me) and will have you turning the pages frantically to see the outcome of these two characters.

*Quote from e-galley, may not be in final print of book*


  1. Great review, Kelly! I really want to read this.

  2. Still haven't gotten to this (did you read Forever Interrupted, I can't remember?) but I love what you say in "The Beast" about living the life you have and not the one you imagined. Do I have problems with that sometimes. It IS a tough pill to swallow and something I have to talk myself out of all the time. I am happy, and sure things could be better, but I have to appreciate and show gratitude for the things in my life that make me happy.

    Thanks for sharing this, Kelly! (Also happy to hear the themes of marriage in the book didn't alienate you. I get nervous about that sometimes... even as just a married person with single friends. I swear I'm still me and normal! haha. Are you going to be reading Landline?)


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