Wednesday, June 25, 2014

After I Do, by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Atria Books/Washington Square Press, ISBN 9781476712840. July 2014

Lauren Spencer meets Ryan Cooper when they are nineteen and in college. They are soon deeply in love, and their relationship strengthens and deepens over the years.

But eleven years later, when they have been married six years, somehow that deep connection has vanished. They are fighting constantly, avoiding saying what they want from each other to avoid more fighting, and have grown desperately unhappy.

After a terrible confrontation, they agree on a plan: They will separate for one year, have no contact during that time, and then see if they can put their marriage back together.

We see that year mainly through Lauren's eyes, as she gradually discovers what she really wants, what she wasn't getting in her marriage, what she wasn't giving, and starts to hear, listen to, and learn from, other people's ideas of marriage--her best friend, her sister, her brother, her mother, her grandmother.

This is a novel of character and self-examination, and it's extremely well done. In many ways, it's not my kind of novel, taking place so much inside Lauren's head, and yet I couldn't put it down. I like Lauren, her friends, and her family. It is in the end a novel of growth and attachment, not just for Lauren but for those around her, and it's very, very satisfying.

Recommended.

I received a free electronic galley from the publisher via NetGalley.