After I Do: A Novel

After I Do: A Novel

by Taylor Jenkins Reid


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781476712840
Publisher: Washington Square Press
Publication date: 07/01/2014
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 94,741
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Taylor Jenkins Reid lives in Los Angeles and is the acclaimed author of The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, One True Loves, Maybe in Another Life, After I Do, and Forever, Interrupted. To learn more, visit

Read an Excerpt

After I Do

We are in the parking lot of Dodger Stadium, and once again, Ryan has forgotten where we left the car. I keep telling him that it’s in Lot C, but he doesn’t believe me.

“No,” he says, for the tenth time. “I specifically remember turning right when we got here, not left.”

It’s incredibly dark, the path in front of us lit only by lampposts featuring oversized baseballs. I looked at the sign when we parked.

“You remember wrong,” I say, my tone clipped and pissed-off. We’ve already been here too long, and I hate the chaos of Dodger Stadium. It’s a warm summer night, so I have that to be thankful for, but it’s ten P.M., and the rest of the fans are pouring out of the stands, the two of us fighting through a sea of blue and white jerseys. We’ve been at this for about twenty minutes.

“I don’t remember wrong,” he says, walking ahead and not even bothering to look back at me as he speaks. “You’re the one with the bad memory.”

“Oh, I see,” I say, mocking him. “Just because I lost my keys this morning, suddenly, I’m an idiot?”

He turns and looks at me; I use the moment to try to catch up to him. The parking lot is hilly and steep. I’m slow.

“Yeah, Lauren, that’s exactly what I said. I said you were an idiot.”

“I mean, you basically did. You said that you know what you’re talking about, like I don’t.”

“Just help me find the goddamn car so we can go home.”

I don’t respond. I simply follow him as he moves farther and farther away from Lot C. Why he wants to go home is a mystery to me. None of this will be any better at home. It hasn’t been for months.

He walks around in a long, wide circle, going up and down the hills of the Dodger Stadium parking lot. I follow close behind, waiting with him at the crosswalks, crossing at his pace. We don’t say anything. I think of how much I want to scream at him. I think of how I wanted to scream at him last night, too. I think of how much I’ll probably want to scream at him tomorrow. I can only imagine he’s thinking much of the same. And yet the air between us is perfectly still, uninterrupted by any of our thoughts. So often lately, our nights and weekends are full of tension, a tension that is only relieved by saying good-bye or good night.

After the initial rush of people leaving the parking lot, it becomes a lot easier to see where we are and where we parked.

“There it is,” Ryan says, not bothering to point for further edification. I turn my head to follow his gaze. There it is. Our small black Honda.

Right in Lot C.

I smile at him. It’s not a kind smile.

He smiles back. His isn’t kind, either.

Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for After I Do includes discussion questions and ideas for enhancing your book club. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.

Topics & Questions for Discussion

1. Read through Lauren’s flashbacks of her and Ryan’s relationship, leading up to the night of the Dodgers game. At what point did you notice a shift in their dynamic? Discuss with the group.

2. Early in the novel, Lauren playfully says of Ryan–“He always loved making me say the things he wanted to say.” In what ways does this become a loaded assessment of their relationship?

3. Turn to page 135, when Lauren and her mother are discussing marriage. Lauren says that she doesn’t want to fail at her marriage, which her mother dismisses: “If you stay married for a number of years and you have a happy time together and then you decide you don’t want to be married anymore and you choose to go be happy with someone else or doing something else, that’s not a failure.” Do you agree with her?

4. Even though the underlying question of the narrative is whether Lauren and Ryan’s marriage will survive, Ryan himself is not an active character for the majority of the novel, and we spend much of our time with other people in Lauren’s life. How does observing Lauren in these dynamics enhance our understanding of her? And did you have a favorite supporting character?

5. What do you think Lauren gets out of her relationship with David? Is the fact that he is separated from his wife integral to their dynamic?

6. Did Rachel’s revelation on page 241 surprise you? Do you have any relationships like hers and Lauren’s in your life–where the similarities are so clear that the differences can be ignored, sometimes to a fault?

7. Discuss the theme of communication within the novel. To what degree do these characters struggle to express themselves, and how do they find alternative ways of doing so when straight dialogue doesn’t suffice?

8. Turn to page 251 and re-read the conversation that Rachel and Lauren have with their mother about romance and long-term relationships. Do you understand Ms. Spencer’s perspective that, “I don’t need a life partner…I want love and romance.” Can romance be kept alive by forestalling a greater commitment, or is it “the nature of love” as Lauren suggests, for relationships to “become more about partnership and less about romance”?

9. Discuss the role that sex plays in Lauren and Ryan’s relationship, and how it relates to the feelings of resentment that she describes on page 288. If romance is, in fact, destined to evolve into more of a partnership, what happens to sex in that equation? Is romance required for a mutually fulfilling sexual relationship?

10. Even though Lauren and Ryan don't have children, the potential demise of their relationship still has collateral damage. Turn to page 272, and the conversation that Lauren has with her brother about inviting Ryan to his wedding. Do you think Lauren has a right to an opinion here? Do you agree with her statement that, “I made him a part of this family…and he’s a part of this family on my terms”?

11. Thinking about Ryan, Lauren says: “We have spent enough years together to know how to work in sync, even when we don’t want to.” To what extent is a long-term relationship defined by whether the other person is someone that you know how to endure the tough moments of life with? Find examples within the novel to support your opinion.

12. Lauren gets relationship advice from a variety of people throughout the novel. Did any of it in particular resonate with you? Pick a favorite line and share why you connected to it with the group.

13. Speaking of advice: the Ask Allie column plays a large role throughout the book. Was Lauren able to take any wisdom from Allie’s old columns that perhaps a closer friend or family member couldn’t have said to her directly? What did you think of her final letter to Lauren?

14. Consider the romantic partnerships that Lauren has to look to as models: her mother and Bill, Charlie and Natalie, Mila and Christina, even her grandmother and deceased grandfather. What does she take away from each of them?

15. Discuss the portrayal of compromise in the novel, and compare how it is depicted in romantic relationships versus within family dynamics. Do you think of compromise differently when it comes to family members, as opposed to romantic partners? Why or why not?

Enhance Your Book Club

1. Read Taylor Jenkins Reid’s debut novel, Forever, Interrupted as a group. How are these love stories different? Having now read two of Reid’s novels, what can you identify as distinct qualities of her writing style?

2. The emails that Ryan and Lauren write each other but never send prove to be very cathartic to both of them. If you could write to someone you’ve been romantically involved with (in the past or currently), knowing that they might read it but that they couldn’t confront you about it, what would you say?

3. The book makes the point that “marriage” is a word that has many different definitions. Whether you are married or unmarried, what does marriage mean to you?

4. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given, about marriage and family?

Customer Reviews

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After I Do: A Novel 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 20 reviews.
pageprincess_50 More than 1 year ago
AFTER "I DO" IS "TILL DEATH DO US PART" A GOAL? *********************************************************** Category /Genre: Contemporary Romance Received from: Atria Books via NetGalley (in exchange for an honest review) Recommended for: 18+ due to sexual content Grammar/editing: A – near perfect This is a stand-alone, contemporary romance novel. Most contemporary romance novels are about the cute meet, misunderstanding, and then an HEA. In this one, there is the cute meet and an HEA, but then forever comes sooner than expected. What do you do when your marriage becomes boring? Lauren and Ryan met in college, married after, and then find themselves not just in a rut, but each irritated by everything the other does. Rather than immediately choosing divorce, they try a trial separation. For one year, they are not to contact each other. The real question becomes, “then what?” I first want to share two of my favorite quotes from the book: “If you’re looking for a change of scenery, choose beautiful scenery.” “Just because you CAN live without someone doesn’t mean you WANT to.” Let me first tell you a little about my life. I met my (ex)husband in college. We were together for three and a half years before we married. We have been married for thirty years. From the beginning, I believed he hung the moon and the stars just for me. That sounds like the beginning of a beautiful love story, right? This is the way it is when you find your true love. You can’t imagine a day without him/her, without WANTING him/her. Then, if you aren’t careful, one day you realize that you took him/her for granted for too long. Like Lauren and Ryan, we quit trying. I won’t say who quit first, doesn’t belong here, but once both quit, it was over. Lauren and Ryan refused to say quit. They make an unusual decision in an effort to return to the love they had and hope to rekindle. The week that my husband moved out, I read three romance stories that I had already scheduled for tours. As difficult as it was, I still appreciated the books. I will always be a romantic, and I love to see other people find their true love, even if they are fictional. This book was harder to read, emotionally, for me. Choosing to separate is not easy. It’s only two and half months since my husband moved out. When Ryan moved out, I lived that all over again. I understood the frustration of wanting to call, wanting to reach out, no longer having your other half to depend upon. … I also had to laugh that the first thing Lauren did was redecorate her bedroom – mine is now purple. Ms. Jenkins has produced a book that is truly a contemporary romance. In our new society, what works for one couple may not work for another. There are more choices than staying together or divorcing. This is only the second book produced by Ms. Jenkins, but it is obvious she takes pride in producing a quality product. She is now on my list of “won’t miss their book” authors.
artfullee More than 1 year ago
4.5 stars After i Do was a very personal look at a couple in crisis. Lauren and Ryan have come to a crossroads and have realised that they are just going through the motions of their life, resenting each other what their relationship has become, so they decide to take a year long break to try to sort themselves out. While this may seem unconventional for some, it was how they chose to deal with their problems and set the scene for some deep soul searching and character growth. It is told exclusively from Lauren's POV but we do get glimpses of Ryan's thoughts and I really liked the way the author wove this into the story. I like being in someone's head and find I prefer this style of writing whether dual or singular POV. It helped me see things from Ryans POV and I was right there with Lauren, feeling her immediate reaction to his words and this made my connection to the character all the more solid. This was a emotionally turbulent book for me, it was raw and laid all of Lauren's thoughts and feelings out in the open. It did take a couple of chapters to really connect with Lauren at the beginning but then it drew me in and made it easy to relate to each character, made me feel each stab of emotional pain, made me feel each moment of realisation, made me see what Lauren was seeing in herself and in her relationship. Lauren goes through so much growth from someone who has built their life around another person, forsaking their own identity, to someone who finally finds herself, understands herself, accepts responsibility for her part in where their relationship was, learning to trust in herself and not base her choices on another persons opinions. The development of Lauren's relationship with herself was really well written, very emotive and realistic. Even though we didn't hear much from Ryan's POV, the thoughts that we were given I felt right to my core. Ryan had also built his whole adult life around Lauren but they both got lost somewhere along the way and watching Ryan go through their separation from a distance was just as heartbreaking as watching Lauren. These characters really touched a chord with me and I shed copious amounts of tears as they grasp what their realtionship has become and what their separation means. The secondary characters were crucial to this story, particularly Lauren's grandmother and sister, Rachel. thought Rachel was the perfect support for Lauren, giving her love and advice, not sugar coating anything but knowing what Lauren needed and when. Their eccentric grandmother was so loveable, giving them her pearls of wisdom and loving them as only a grandmother does. This book was relateable on so many levels and if you have been married for as long as I have and haven't had some of these thoughts cross your mind once or twice then I say you are in denial or lying. It addressed the questions you ask and the thoughts you go through in relation to the evolution of a long term relationship and the choices we have made. The feelings you have about the decisions the characters make, the strong feelings you have whether agreeing or dis-agreeing with the characters actions, all make you think twice and relate it to your own experiences. I would recommend this book but be warned, have your tissues ready and get ready to wear your heart on your sleeve
Chrissy_W More than 1 year ago
Did I enjoy this book: I did enjoy this book. It flew and I couldn’t wait to see how it ended. Lauren and Ryan’s marriage is ending. They fight. They don’t want to spend time together. They are falling out of love. What are they going to do about it? You want to cheer for them. You want them to do their best. You want them to save their marriage. You want them to be happy. At least, I did. I was invested in Lauren and Ryan’s story. One thing that I really liked about After I Do is that it isn’t the guy wanting to split. It isn’t the guy who wants to end the marriage. It isn’t the guy who makes the excuses. That was different for me. That was different from so many books that I have read. I loved the unsent emails. I think that was my favorite part of the whole book. They had to have known on some level that the other one would read them. They had to have at least hoped that would happen. It was a great way to truly communicate how they felt without actually saying it to the other person. The pacing of the book is fast, engaging, and keeps you reading. It is funny, sad, thought provoking. Would I recommend it: Yes, I would recommend it. Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange  for an honest review.
AshleyG33 More than 1 year ago
Ive been trying so hard to fine women's fiction that captures my attention from the first page and this one is it!! All of her books are amazing and you cant help but fall in love with the characters and want to know more!
KateUnger More than 1 year ago
After I Do was a well executed, highly relatable story, but it wasn’t what I was expecting. Maybe I never actually read the book description, or maybe I just read it a long time ago when I first heard about this book. I was expecting the day to day story of a married couple. What I wasn’t expecting was an all-too-realistic portrayal of a couple who have fallen out of love and are not sure they can be married anymore. After admitting that she no longer loves him, Lauren and Ryan decide to take a break…for a year. They’re hoping that some time apart will help them remember what they love about each other and help them save their marriage. What unfolds over the year isn’t what Lauren had anticipated. With a lot of wisdom from her family and some family drama along the way, this story reminded me of the TV shows Parenthood and Brothers and Sisters. I enjoyed the close-knit relationships Lauren had with her sister, her brother, and even her mother and her grandmother. Although I didn’t entirely agree with Reid’s assessment of how marriage changes a whole family, she described it very well. Lauren’s voice was easy to read. I plowed through this book in a few sittings, but I think I was just hoping for more. I’d read so many rave reviews, and I loved Maybe In Another Life and One True Loves so much. I wanted to see a love story that continued after marriage instead of having to read about an almost failed marriage and rediscovered love. The title of this book was misleading, and while the story was very well written, it left me feeling unfulfilled.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
feather_lashes More than 1 year ago
“Ryan and I are two people who used to be in love. What a beautiful thing to have been. What a sad thing to be.” After I Do shows the delicious high of being in love. The kind of love that sparkly young eyes think will last forever as long as you just believe. Sigh. But when your partner's adorable oddities start grating on your nerves and you're feeling unappreciated and invisible and that beautiful love slowly turns to indifference, then resentment, and eventually plummets to full-out hate... what then? Taylor Jenkins Reid shows the disintegration of a marriage, which is hard, but watching her characters make a plan that does not immediately jump to divorce offered a lot of hope to me as a reader. Yes, there are relationships that need to be ended permanently but both of these characters acknowledge that not all is's just been painfully neglected over the years. I really enjoyed how Ms. Reid explored marriage in general and didn't shame any of her characters' choices. Personally, I didn't like (view spoiler). I would recommend this book to anyone who is in or ever has been in a long-term relationship. Actually, even those who haven't could benefit. Being married for a number of years myself, I could relate to so much and found this book to be surprisingly optimistic. If you don't read this one, read something by Taylor Jenkins Reid. She's amazing! My favorite quote: "I know it will be OK because everything is OK in the end. And if it’s not OK, it’s not the end."
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love this book. Love its truth. Love its pain and bliss. This book reminds you to, love, love.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I found this book by accident on the B&N website So glad I picked it This is a must read for all couples Great book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Order made in the am on itunes
Myrtlebean More than 1 year ago
Just finished After I Do and I'm taking a couple days to process this book!!! It's such a powerful story and a very very huge wake up call for me. As I was reading, I kept looking at my husband and thinking back over the years when we had the same incidents pop up. Just last night (right when Lauren and Ryan were arguing over what to have for dinner), my husband and I argued over the same thing! Thank God we agreed on Chinese but I'll never look at fussing over a meal the same way. Definitely a 5 star read for me and I recommend it to everyone-just be ready for it.
Under_The_Covers_BookBlog More than 1 year ago
4.5 Stars ~Reviewed by FRANCESCA & posted at Under the Covers Book Blog So I will admit that I was intrigued about this book for a long time.  I added it to my TBR on GoodReads when almost everyone in my friends list seemed to be reading it.  Yes, everyone raving about it for the most part.  Then, I forgot about it.  It wasn’t until a good friend recommend that I read it that I decided to finally buy it and give it a go.  To say I was skeptical at first is accurate, but when you trust someone’s recs you listen anyway.  And I’m so glad I did. AFTER I DO is not your typical romance.  In fact, there’s a lot of heartbreak in this book.  We start out with a couple at wits ends.  They’ve been together seems forever, they’ve gone through ups and downs together, and they are at that point in a long term relationship where it’s make it or break it time.  I think for anyone that’s been with their significant other for a long period of time, they will be able to relate to a lot of what they go through.  They call it the honeymoon stage for a reason right? Lauren and Ryan decide that they will spend a year apart and then decide whether they will give their marriage another go, or file for divorce.  With the understanding that the year apart is really to save their marriage because even through all the bad stuff, they still love each other. Whether you agree with their decisions in what happens next or not, you won’t be able to help getting wrapped up in their journey.  Lauren especially since she’s the one narrating this story.  This is one of those books that I start at sometime in the evening and I just have to pull an all-nighter until I’ve finish it.  Because I just couldn’t go to sleep without knowing how it would all end. Lauren’s journey of self-discovery was sweet and enlightening.  You see her growing stronger and becoming an individual in front of your own eyes.  She’s no longer Lauren and Ryan, she’s learning to be her.  What does she like, what is she like, and feeling comfortable in her own skin.  Without worrying about other people’s perceptions.  She grows stronger. I won’t spoil you the ending, because it kept me guessing too whether they would get back together or not.  It was an almost constant pull in both directions for me.  In the end, the right decision was made.  And I couldn’t help but rejoice and shed a few tears. This is definitely a book I will recommend to everyone!  It was beautifully written, it was captivating in a way I didn’t think it could get to me, and I will be seeking more from the author immediately.  I’m amazed at the fact I can be both heartbroken and happy when I finished this book.  It may not be for everyone’s tastes, but if you like Megan Hart, then you will enjoy this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
KrittersRamblings More than 1 year ago
Check out the full review at Kritters Rambings My first Taylor Jenkins Reid and after hearing all the praise, I was so excited to read this one!  With a premise that I may have shied away from due to the subject matter - I am not usually one for negative relationship storylines, but I had to give this author a try.   The set up for the book was fantastic.  The first chapter was a present day snapshot of their marriage in the middle of a speed bump and then the author takes you back in time to when they met, through their dating courtship and into the early moments of the marriage.  I loved the rewind to get the reader up to speed.  Then the real drama of the story began and I loved the honesty.  The characters felt like they were based off people in real life - I even laughed at some of the things they did and said because I could see myself doing those things.
KelseyH More than 1 year ago
Loved this book!  Made me think a lot about my own marriage and what I can do to be a better wife and partner.  Would definitely recommend! I finished it in one day!
MakeupByOne More than 1 year ago
I love the story
BeachRead245 More than 1 year ago
Thank you to Simon and Schuster and Book Sparks PR for a copy of After I Do by Taylor Jenkins Reid. This is her second novel, where she explores the marriage relationship after one has been married a few years. I have some thoughts on the topic of marriage too. Synopsis: Lauren and Ryan have the perfect relationship. They love each other to distraction. One day circumstances change and they can’t stand to be around one another anymore. So they come up with this plan to separate for a year which includes no contact with each other. How will Lauren or Ryan survive? What will Lauren learn about herself and her relationship with her husband? Is it more important spend all your time together or some apart? My Thoughts: I enjoyed After I Do by Taylor Jenkins Reid. I thought it was interesting how she had different themes in the story concerning marriage. One theme is learning how to put a marriage back together and what it takes to make it work. Her family brought other themes out such as her mother’s view of relationships. Do you have to be married to be happy or just in it for the romance? Lauren’s sister Rachel is the only single person in this story but also her best friend. For me marriage is important and something to work hard at. I hope to one day be married. I have many single friends that I have lost once they are married. They only pay attention to their spouse and exclude other relationships or activities. I have learned through the years a few points about marriage. I know that I would have looked at it like Lauren when I was in my twenties. I also would have been wrong. I have learned that as Granny said in the story that having friends and hobbies are important for a relationship. I would hope that my spouse would feel the same. I look forward to reading the next novel by Taylor Jenkins Reid! by Jencey Gortney/Writer'sCorner
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this story! Loved the characters, and loved how it made you feel. It really hit home at times. A great read. Can't wait to read the next book by this author! Read this. You'll love it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
CharlotteLynnsReviews More than 1 year ago
I started After I Do and kept putting it down.  I did not put it down because I did not want to read it, I put it down because I wanted to make it last.   The characters of Lauren and Ryan I fell in love with.   As they fought for their marriage I had to cheer them on.     I wanted them both to be happy, but I wanted them to be happy together.    As Taylor Jenkins Reid introduced the other characters, Leslie, Mila, Charlie and Natalie, and of course Rachel, I knew that this was a book that I would cherish.  I would love to have more books with these same characters featured. I felt like I was able to relate to the family dynamic and the friendships they each had.   I was invested in each characters life and happiness.  As with other books by Ms. Reid I will happily recommend this to my friends and family.   This is a story that has romance, but it is not your normal romance.   It is more of a contemporary story.