Customer Reviews for

After the Party

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  • Posted August 22, 2011

    Join the Party!

    Because I did not read Ralph' Party first, which is the prequel to this book, I did not know the characters as well as those who did read the first book. While this book can definitely be a stand-alone book, reading the first book may have helped me understand the dynamics of the relationship better. Nonetheless, Lisa Jewelldeveloped the characters very well and gave me an opportunity to read the book through Ralph and Jem's point of view.

    Ralph and Jem have been married for 12 years and have two small children, after having miscarriages and fertility issues. While Jem loves being a mom to her children, Ralph is still struggling with having to share his wife with two little children and find a balance between being husband, artist, and father. Ralph and Jem's marriage truly lacks every bit of communication, causing them to both misread each other's intentions and actions. Jem views Ralph not wanting children because he is selfish and Ralph views Jem wanting children as being selfish because she is wanting children before he feels ready to be a father. While both of them have reservations about each other, neither of them attend couple's counseling or some form of therapy. Of course, these are fictional characters and therapy most certainly would have changed the course of this story!

    During a trip to California, Ralph meets Rosey, who becomes a close friend after introducing him to "church". This church is not a typical Christian church, rather it is more of a prayer/meditative group. Being scared to tell Jem (who is atheist) about his spiritual quest, he begins to go for early runs to meet up with his prayer group without Jem knowing. It is through his spiritual journey that Ralph decides to embrace fatherhood to its fullest and be the husband he knows he needs to be and Jem desires. However, the emotional disconnect and lack of intimacy in their relationship proves to be much more difficult that just making a personal commitment to himself.

    Jem on the other hand reaches out to a single father and in some ways, begins to have a mid-life crisis. It is obvious they are both reacting to their marital problems differently, both wanting the same outcome-to save their marriage, yet never being able to fully communicate that to one another.
    While this is not a Christian book, there are elements of spirituality. Lisa Jewell is able to capture this relationship in a way that made me feel connected to the characters and feel sympathetic to them. Why is this such a big deal? Well, these characters aren't always likable, they don't always do the best thing for their relationship, and both seem to be going in circles trying to accomplish the same thing without ever letting the other know.
    I enjoyed reading this book and while some of Ralph and Jem's decisions are questionable at times, it made the storyline that much more richer and complex. I do recommend this book to those who like chick-lit and romance novels (without the cheesy sex scenes). I also recommend those who do want to read this book to also read Ralph's Party. While this book can stand on it's own, reading the prequel will give you a better understanding to the characters. And.why not? We all love reading sequels, so this gives you an opportunity to read two books about characters that you most certainly will root for in the end!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 25, 2014

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