Narrator: Tara Sands
Published by Dreamscape Media on Sept. 10, 2015
Genres: Fiction, General, Romance, Contemporary, Contemporary Women, Family Life
Length: 9 hrs. 11 mins.
Also by this author: Maybe in Another Life, Forever, Interrupted, One True Loves
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?
After I Do is the third book I’ve read by Taylor Jenkins Reid this year. I started backwards with her latest offering Maybe in Another Life, caught up with Forever, Interrupted and finally worked my way back to After I Do. This is probably my favorite book of the three- though all of them are addictive, heart wrenching reads.
Like you can probably guess from the burnt toast on the book cover, After I Do is a portrait of a marriage on the rocks. Lauren and Ryan were college sweethearts who slowly grew apart. They decide to put their marriage on pause for a year to evaluate whether to stay together or pull the plug on their relationship. In After I Do, the reader discovers how this couple fell in and out of love, and puts you through the wringer right along with them.
This book starts in the middle of an argument, with Lauren and Ryan bickering about where they parked at Dodger Stadium. It’s obvious these two have been struggling for some time, and through flashbacks we find out how they got there. I had mixed emotions about this couple at the beginning, but following their romantic journey made me root for them to reconcile.
Lauren and Ryan decide to take a year apart, agreeing not to write or call, only to check in halfway to share their beloved dog. We only get Lauren’s perspective in this book, but the author allows us a glimpse into Ryan’s solo life in a clever way.
Anyone who has been married will relate to the fights that Lauren and Ryan have, and if you haven’t been married this gives you a realistic look at a long-term relationship. Reading this book hurts because it feels so real. I enjoyed following Lauren’s journey of self-discovery and reflection. And I was on pins and needles dying to see how the story would resolve.
All three of Taylor Jenkins Reid’s books came out in audiobook format this year, and I listened to the audio of After I Do, read by Tara Sands. I have sung the praises of Sands before – she is my go-to narrator lately. Sands does well with emotional stories like this one and lets the story shine on its own. The story plays with flashbacks, and given the circumstances (the happy couple is in the past) the audiobook is easy to follow. Sands conveys the appropriate emotion to match the mood and does a good job with her distinct character voices. If you love heart-wrenching stories and audiobooks, look no further than After I Do (and also Forever, Interrupted.)
Taylor Jenkins Reid has become an auto-buy author for me this year and I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next. Recommended for readers of raw, gut-wrenching relationship stories. If you liked this one check out Come Away with Me and Me Before You and After You by Jojo Moyes.