After the Party

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After the Party By Lisa Jewell, book reviewLisa Jewell is one of my favourite authors and I always love reading new books from her. I was particularly looking forward to reading After the Party as I realised that she was picking up the lives of characters that she created in her first book – Ralph’s Party – back in 1999. I had really loved this book and it was great that she was picking up on the story eleven years later even though I have to admit to being a bit hazy about the original storyline as I read Ralph’s Party quite a while ago. It didn’t matter though. And it won’t really matter if you have not read the first book either. Although events from before are alluded to, it does stand as a story in its own right, and any necessary references to the past are explained.

In ‘Ralph’s Party‘, Ralph and Jem were in their twenties, carefree and ending up crazy for each other. Life was fun and they had it all to look forward to. Eleven years on they now have two children, a mortgage and not much time for each other. Jem’s time and energy is all taken up looking after their small baby and three year old daughter and Ralph can’t help but feel a little marginalised. It doesn’t help that he never really wanted a second child and is having difficulty bonding with his small son. Their relationship is at crisis point and they both have to decide whether it is worth saving. That’s the basis of the novel as it covers one very traumatic year in both their lives. The question is whether they will still be together by the end of it?

I don’t want to say anymore about the story but it was totally absorbing. Lisa Jewell really expresses what it is like having had children and trying to hold on to a relationship and I’m sure that most mums would identify with Jem to a lesser or greater extent. Many dads would likely identify with Ralph too, who really is a lost soul, knowing what he wants but not knowing how to keep it. The story is spot on in the way that it depicts a crumbling relationship that doesn’t want to fail. It is most poignant to read about the way they feel about each other and themselves because it really rings true.

I always have huge expectations of Lisa Jewell’s books so I was slightly disappointed when I was not hooked from the very start. However, it did not take long for me to become totally caught up in the lives of Jem and Ralph, and from that point on I did not want to put it down. The main characters seemed so real that I really did start to care what happened to them both and their fragile relationship. They are both extremely likeable which is why, as a reader, I could see things from both their points of view, and therefore I sided with neither.

I really do recommend ‘After the Party‘ as I do all the Lisa Jewell novels I have read. However, in order to get the most out of the story, it is probably worth reading Ralph’s Party first even though it is not strictly necessary.


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After the Party
by Lisa Jewell

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Written by kingfisher
kingfisher

My name is Jo and I have been married to Simon for nine years. We have two beautiful daughters – Rachel who is six and Natalie who is almost five and starting school in January. I also have two step children aged twenty one and seventeen so family life is never dull. I also manage to work three days for a local education authority where I support the teaching of literacy in primary schools. I love my job and it’s ideal for a book lover like me. In my spare time I run, dance and occasionally tread the boards with my local amateur dramatics group. My first love is reading though and you will never find me without a book on the go. My husband is also an avid reader and we are hoping to pass on our love of reading to our daughters. They certainly love their bedtime stories every night. Although I have and English degree and I am familiar with most of the classics, I generally read much lighter stuff these days. It’s mainly ‘chic lit’ but I also enjoy a good thriller or courtroom drama. I have so many favourite authors and this list tends to change regularly depending on what I am reading.

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