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Review: Life After Yes by Aidan Donnelley Rowley

02 Sep

Life After Yes: A NovelMy rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

I was fascinated by this hard-working, hard-drinking young woman, who was far more obsessed with looking good on her wedding day than she was with her groom.

From the publisher’s website:

This is the story of Quinn—born Prudence Quinn O’Malley—a confused young Manhattan attorney who loses her father on that tragic September morning that changed everything. Now, at an existential crossroads in her life, Quinn must confront impossible questions about commitment and career, love and loss. Her idealistic beau desperately wants a wedding, and whisks her away to Paris just to propose. But then Quinn has a dream featuring judges and handcuffs and Nietzsche and Britney . . . and far too many grooms. Suddenly, her future isn’t so clear. Quinn’s world has become a minefield of men—some living, some gone, and traversing it safely is going to take a lot more than numerous glasses of pinot grigio.

When I watched the Sex and the City movie a few years back, I realized that I wasn’t even sure these people were from the same planet as I am.  I can see more relationship with my world and that of The Hunger Games than that of Sex and the City.  The same is true of this book.

Now this isn’t intrinsically a bad thing– I like books that help me relate to people different from me., and situations different than mine.  It really helps to have some sort of hook where I can relate to them, though.  I never really found that in Life After Yes, so I kept watching from afar.

Quinn’s groom was a sweet mama’s boy, but the book wasn’t really about him. I had trouble keeping Quinn’s friends straight, but the book wasn’t about them either. All the supporting characters (her family, her coworkers, her personal trainer/therapist) were fun and worked well enough.

The book was about Quinn.  I almost find it paradoxical that in spite of how well I got to know her– and she’s an interesting and complex character– I never made a connection with her.  She’s smart and likes her technology, and that should have been enough.

More than that, she’s honestly trying to figure out her life (at least when she’s not drinking).  She’s got a lot going on internally, and that should make for an engaging book.

Maybe I was just too put off by her drinking, her concern with her weight, and her relationships with men.   Maybe it’s just that she wasn’t all that nice.  Interesting, but not nice.

The odd thing about this book was that I kept thinking that a happy ending would consist of Quinn and Sage realizing that neither of them was ready to get married– they both needed to grow up a little. You’d think that I’d hope that they’d do that growing up, because it seems like they could make a good couple down the road, but that wasn’t what I was thinking while reading it.

This isn’t the only book I’ve read recently where I’ve had trouble connecting with the characters.  I’m not sure if it is the books I’m selecting or where my head is right now.  It’s certainly not true of all, or even the majority of my recent selections, but I think it’s a higher than usual ratio.

For other reviews, check out Linus’s Blanket, S Krishna’s Books, Write Meg! and Crazy for Books.  After reading their reviews, I think it’s possible I’m too much of an old fuddy-duddy for Life After Yes,  (or maybe I read it in the wrong frame of mind– I missed some of the literary aspects that others enjoyed).  They all loved the book, instead of just liking it as I did.

I received this book for review from Little Bird Publicity. Thank you for this opportunity!

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9 Comments

Posted by on September 2, 2010 in books, reviews

 

Tags: , , ,

9 responses to “Review: Life After Yes by Aidan Donnelley Rowley

  1. Marce

    September 2, 2010 at 6:51 am

    I added this one to my Wishlist after reading SKrishna’s review, but it is nice to read different reviews on it.

     
  2. Meg

    September 2, 2010 at 7:17 am

    Oh, I was so in love with Life After Yes — it tapped into so much of what I’m feeling as a twenty-something on the brink of making a lot of huge life decisions. I can definitely see your point about Quinn’s “not niceness” and drinking, though; that did get a little taxing to read about. Overall, though, this is one of my favorite reads of 2010! Thanks for linking to me!

     
    • Laura

      September 2, 2010 at 11:44 am

      My twenties were fairly angst-free, and I didn’t have any significant trouble with those life decisions, including career and marriage. Now I’m facing another round, and having a much harder time, but forty-something suburban struggles are quite different than anything Quinn encounters!

       
  3. Ronnica

    September 2, 2010 at 11:45 am

    I too couldn’t relate to Quinn and her world. SO foreign to the life I live. I still don’t “get” the mind of someone who cheats.

     
  4. Bookjourney

    September 2, 2010 at 3:19 pm

    Hi Laura, I havent heard of this one before. Interesting.

     
  5. Amanda

    September 3, 2010 at 5:05 am

    I received this one for review and I tried, really tried, to read it, but nearly halfway through I finally gave up. The comments you make about it being another planet – that’s exactly how I felt. For the record, I’ve never seen Sex and the City…

     
  6. Jenny

    September 3, 2010 at 2:40 pm

    Hmmmm, very interesting insight. I am really excited to read this one, but I also LOVE Sex and the City LOL! Definitely a fair review though!

     
  7. Lisa

    September 4, 2010 at 11:08 am

    It is frustrating, isn’t it, when there’s every reason you should be able to connect to a character but you just can’t make it happen. It sounds like Quinn was the kind of person that I would just roll my eyes at if I met her and then forget.

     

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