what I’m reading: maybe in another life by taylor jenkins reid.

You know that Gwyneth Paltrow movie Sliding Doors? The one where she is racing to make the train and the movie veers off into two different storylines – one storyline if she makes the train and one storyline if she doesn’t? Well this book is just like that movie.

Hannah Martin has just moved back to Los Angeles and is staying with her best friend Gabby and her husband. On her first night back she goes out for a welcome home party and at the end of the night, her old boyfriend offers to give her a ride home. What happens if she leaves with him? What happens if she leaves with Gabby? This book examines the two possibilities that could happen depending on which choice Hannah makes.

I thought this was a cute book. The two storylines are told alternatively, with each chapter switching off between the two realities. There’s a lot going on in this book but each storyline was easy to follow.

Maybe in Another Life is basically a “What if?” book. It made me think about how our lives are shaped by our choices and how one simple decision can change everything. It also deals with fate and the question of whether a person can have more than one soul mate.

I’m not sure which outcome I liked best. I did like that there were constants through each storyline, such as Gabby and the storyline concerning Hannah’s parents. However I felt that both endings were too perfect. I suppose the endings were appropriate but I guess I was left wanting something more.

The other thing that bothered me about this book was all the repetition of Hannah’s quirks. I get it, Hannah loves cinnamon rolls and talks about them constantly. She also always wears her hair in a high bun. I felt like I was told at least once in every chapter that Hannah likes cinnamon rolls and she’s got to get her hair in a high bun. It was a little bit of overkill. (Although truth – I totally went and got a cinnamon roll from the donut shop when I was done reading this book.)


what I’m reading: after I do by taylor jenkins reid.

After I DoWhat happens after “happily ever after”?

After I Do tells the story of Lauren and Ryan, a couple who have been together for 11 years and married for 6. They fell in love in college, got engaged and married, and even have a dog. However, as the years went by Lauren and Ryan drifted apart until one day, they realize their love has disappeared. In an effort to save their marriage, Lauren and Ryan agree to spend one year apart, no talking, no contact, and at the end of the year they will decide if they want to continue to stay married.

This book has all the feelings. I’m not married, but some parts in this book broke my heart. It was tough to read about a couple who used to be so in love and how they just drifted apart until there was no love left. I thought the story was real and the characters were human who made mistakes just like the rest of us.

Both Lauren and Ryan are flawed characters. Lauren was extremely ignorant and just continued on in her marriage, not trying to fix anything or figure anything out what was wrong. She just seemed to think it was okay that her marriage had come to a stand-still and seemed to take Ryan for granted. Ryan just wanted to please Lauren but the more ignorant she was, the angrier he became because he didn’t feel appreciated. Neither Lauren nor Ryan really talked to each other, even when they came to the decision that they weren’t in love anymore. There was a huge lack of communication between the two and, to be honest, I wasn’t sure how a year of no contact was going to solve their problems.

The book is told from Lauren’s point of view so we only get what she is thinking and we don’t really know a lot about Ryan. I wanted to know more about what Ryan was thinking and what his side of the story was. This couple had some real problems and to only hear what one person was thinking and feeling left me wondering.

Throughout the year apart, Lauren does a lot of reflection. She learns a lot about herself and I adored the relationship she had with her siblings. It was as though Lauren found her spark again. Reflection and self-evolution stories are my weaknesses so I really enjoyed this aspect of the novel.

In the end, this book was an interesting look into married life and at compromises. Everything is resolved by the end of the book, although I thought the ending was a little cliché. Note that this novel is more of women’s fiction and doesn’t have a lot of romance in it.