I received a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.
Lauren and Ryan have been together for eleven years, six of them as husband and wife. They met and fell madly in love when they both were nineteen. Then one day they realize that the love was gone. In a last ditch effort to save their marriage, they decide to take a break by living apart for one year – anything goes, including dating other people. The one rule is that they’re not allowed to contact each other, under any circumstances. Lauren is devastated. She spends the beginning of the year trying to heal her broken heart and figure out what she really wants for her life. Lauren’s mother, sister and brother offer their support and she’s able to reconnect with her family in a way that wouldn’t have been possible if she were still with Ryan. Lauren has been with Ryan for so long that she’s forgotten how to be her own person. As the year comes to a close, Lauren begins to believe she may be better on her own. And where does this year lead Ryan?
Wow. It’s been a very long time since I’ve started and finished a book in one day – and I wasn’t even on vacation! Jenkins had me from the beginning and I couldn’t stop turning the pages. The story opens with a seemingly simple argument between Lauren and Ryan about where they parked their car (while at a Dodgers came), but the argument is far from simple. I could feel the tension on the pages and easily read between the lines – these two people do not like each other. After the argument, the author shares Lauren and Ryan’s love story by revealing moments of their life together over the last eleven years: how they met, their first date, the proposal, the wedding, finding their first home. I was scratching my head trying to figure out how a couple so devoted to each other could end up in this place.
What I loved about this story was that Lauren and Ryan are atypical for a modern young couple, because they don’t just give up. They honestly try to figure out a way to bring the love back, albeit in a very unconventional manner. Lauren is a well-developed character, I truly liked her. Getting to know her family gave me great insight into how she got to be Lauren. I also appreciated how each person in her life, from her grandmother to her best friend, had different opinions of what constitutes a good marriage and of the value of happiness. It was very interesting.
Jenkins’ narrative is engrossing and realistic. I’ll miss Lauren and her family. There were no bad guys in this story, just flawed people desperately trying to do the right thing. I couldn’t put the book down, because I didn’t know what was going to happen and I was vested – I really cared about how the story would end. Honestly, both possible outcomes would have been plausible and believable in this author’s hands. I know what I wanted, but…that’s all I can say. I cannot recommend this book enough!
About the author:
Taylor Jenkins Reid is an author and essayist from Acton, Massachusetts. She graduated from Emerson
College with a degree in Media Studies. Her first novel, Forever, Interrupted, was named one of the “11 Debuts We Love” by Kirkus Reviews. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, Alex, and her dog,
Rabbit. Her forthcoming novel, After I Do, will be published July 1, 2014.
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