Review: After the Party

Why I picked it: I bought this novel, to read while traveling for work after reading Shellyrae's review (on Book'd Out).

I love dark/twisty novels that could happen.

Synopsis: Eleven years ago, Jem and Ralph fell deeply in love. They thought it would be forever, that they’d found their happy ending. As everyone agreed, they were the perfect couple. Then two became four, and an apartment became a house. Romantic nights out became sleepless nights in. And they soon found that life wasn’t quite so simple anymore. But through it all, Jem and Ralph still loved each other. Of course they did.

Now Jem is back at work part-time as a talent agent. Ralph, a successful painter, is struggling to come up with new, hopefully groundbreaking, work for his upcoming show. But the unimaginable has happened. Two people who were so right together are starting to drift apart And in the chaos of family life, Jem feels like she’s losing herself, while Ralph, stuck on the sidelines, feels like he’s lost his muse altogether. Something has to change. As they try to find a way back to each other, back to what they once had, they both become momentarily distracted—but maybe it’s not too late to recapture happily ever after…

Type: Fiction

Quick Take: I really enjoyed this book, loved the writing style and the vocabulary was brilliant.  I haven't read Ralph's Party but didn't feel this was necessary, I do however plan to read it... I adored the author's writing and hope to read more of it with Ralph's Party.

Back to After the Party... as I read this novel it felt like I was invading Jem and Ralph personal space at times, kudos to the author for making me feel this way!  Relationships, work, children, neglect, acceptance, love... it's all in this novel.

If you read/enjoyed Little Children you will like this novel (less the creepy felon guy). I thought it might be fun to answer a few of the discussion questions from the back of the book, if you have read this one... feel free to share your opinions.

Three discussion questions from the back of the book:  

Why do you think Jem so easily agreed to Ralph's trip to California when she was already feeling overwhelmed? Jem's answer is more complicated than this but to summarize it... I felt that Jem was so exhausted (both physically and emotionally) that she didn't have the energy to say otherwise. Having Ralph leave for a week gave her time to herself... a vacation for herself (Ralph didn't help much and having him gone was a relief at times).

On the topic of infidelity, what did you think about Jem inviting Joel over for curry and beer on her last "single" evening before Ralph's return? Both Ralph and Jem have encounters while Ralph is visiting a friend but I was actually more sympathetic to Jem's situation... that doesn't mean I felt her behavior was acceptable.  They both behaved poorly, longing for acceptance and looking to fill a void.

Jem and Joel's friendship was interesting and well explored.  Joel's reactions were real, I liked how he was developed.

Jem and Ralph don't see eye to eye when Jem finds out she's pregnant. At first, Ralph tells Jem that it's her decision and he'll go with what she wants to do. Then he has a change of heart. Imagine you're a close friend of the couple. What would you advise?  Reading this question should tell you that this book covers some tough topics.  Jem is pregnant with her third child and contemplates having an abortion.  I don't want to talk about what happens just in case you want to read this book, but I will say it tugs at your heart while reading the book.

Rating: 4 stars
Source: Personal Copy (Nook)