After the Party
Author: Lisa Jewell
Genre: Adult Fiction
Publication: 08.16.2011 by Atria
Cover: I think it fits the story well, except I can't imagine Ralph wearing too many suits since he's an artist and works from home.
Thoughts: Unaware that there was a first part to Ralph and Jem's story, I decided to join in on the tour when I was given the chance. It sounded like a not-so-romance novel that would interest me and I decided that I really wanted to read it. I was surprised at how quickly I got into the story and I was really glad that everything felt very realistic, and I was able to connect with the characters.
Ralph's Party starts off Jem and Ralph's story, when they become roommates and then fall in love. Of course, theirs is not a happily ever after ending...yet. After the Party picks up eleven years later, with Jem and Ralph living together in their home and they have two children. Jem is returning to work as an agent, and Ralph continues his art, but feels that he has lost something. Ralph decides to take a vacation to California and that is where the story really begins. Alternating between past and present, from Jem and Ralph's point of view, we are able to see both sides of the stories and how they got to where they are. Together, Jem and Ralph struggle to keep their marriage working, but it seems like they are not destined to be happy after all...or maybe they are?
I can't say that I liked either Ralph or Jem, but that's because they were so good at being the characters that they were. I mean, they were both so unhappy, but neither of the spoke to their spouse about it. They were good people and I wanted to see them work everything out, but they were selfish and at times, a bit immature. This made them both very real, and although I say I "didn't like" them, I think that's what the author might have been going for. I liked that I didn't like them; it made the book more real for me.
The entire book though I felt like smacking them in the head. As the story moves along, we learn a little more on how they met, how they fell in love and what they feel now. But they refuse to really communicate and when they do, they're arguing. This sounds like many couples with problems and I was glad that the author was able to write a story and situation where I felt like I knew what the characters were going through. When Jem was upset with Ralph, I got it. She had every reason to be upset with him. When Ralph was stressed out, it made sense because it seemed like his situation was difficult to deal with. I really felt like I connected with the story and was able to understand what was going on with the characters.
About the author:
Lisa Jewell is the international bestselling author of nine novels, including Ralph's Party, Thirtynothing, and One-Hit Wonder. She was born and raised in north London, where she lives with her husband and two daughters.
Aug. 17 - Forbidden Reviews
Aug. 18 - Heather @ Proud Book Nerd
Aug. 19 - Cindy @ Oodles of Books
Aug. 20 - Andrea @ A Chick Who Reads
Aug. 22 - Lisa @ Books in the Burbs
Aug. 23 - Molly @ Reviews by Molly
Aug. 24 - Rebecca @ Beck's Book Picks