Thoughts on books, family, and life in one impressive package.

Life After Yes by Aidan Donnelley RowleyTitle: Life After Yes
Author: Aidan Donnelley Rowley
ISBN: 9780061894473
No. of Pages: 368
Genre: Fiction
Origins: Mine. All mine.
Release Date: 18 May 2010
Bottom Line: I can’t remember any details but I do know I liked it!

“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.”

Thoughts: There are some books that are important because of what they have to say. There are others that are important because of how they make one feel. While it would be easy to classify Life After Yes as a book that is meant to teach readers a bit about life and becoming an adult, the true import of it lies in its emotional pull. For, it is the type of book that is easily forgotten a day or two after finishing it but it is the emotions felt while reading it that are the only thing to linger. Readers may not be able to discuss specifics months, weeks, or even days after, but they can discuss how the book made them feel. Confusion, blissful happiness, concern, dread, anxiety, hope, love, fear, sorrow – it is all there as Quinn undergoes a massive transformation from a selfish, superficial girl into someone mature enough to move on to the next stage of adulthood.

It may be a forgettable plot, but there are some redeeming qualities to Life After Yes, not including the powerful emotional connections one feels towards Quinn. Life After Yes is remarkably well-written with a depth to it that is as welcome as it is unexpected. The philosophical discussions about becoming a grown-up are brilliant as well as eye-opening, regardless of the age of the reader. The devastation and lasting trauma from September 11th are also pitch-perfect. Quinn’s trauma will dredge up memories and the strong emotions everyone felt on that fatal day. Most importantly, Quinn is so alive. She is vibrant, massively flawed, and very real. Love her or hate her, she is a force of nature.

Life After Yes has all of the hallmarks of a cute, flippant, coming-of-age romance and does teeter on that edge several times. However, Ms. Rowley’s brilliant characterizations and stellar writing save the novel from becoming too clichéd and create something more serious and philosophical than any romance story ever is. The details behind Quinn’s journey are not as important as the impressions and emotions one gets from following her on her journey and even those are not nearly as important as the lessons one learns and can adapt for one’s own life.

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