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After the Party Paperback – 15 Apr 2010
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"Emotionally charged and compelling." (Daily Mail)
"Poignant and heart-wrenching, it's a wonderful insight into what can happen when the fairytale finally ends." (Sun)
"Pretty damn good ... Jewell stands out, providing insightful character studies ... and she is so readable - you can fall into After the Party as you would a particularly soft settee. Her messages are many, but one of them is this: don't write chick-lit off just yet." (Time Out, Paperback Pick, 4 stars)
"Lisa's heartfelt writing and raw, honest storytelling makes for an emotional, funny and heartbreaking journey ... but there is a glimmer of hope. Can Jem and Ralph find their way back to happiness?" (5 stars, Heat)
"Jewell's style is light and engaging." (Daily Mirror)
The brilliant novel from the Sunday Times bestselling author of Ralph's Party and The Truth About Melody Browne.See all Product description
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The idea of a sequel fascinated me. After all, so many romantic comedies finish with a couple getting together, the rosy idealism of Happy Ever After. I was fascinated to see how Ralph & Jem would be, ten years on. I must admit, then, that I was shocked to discover Ralph and Jem in such a state of misery. Jewell's writing has got darker recently, which I think is a good evolution, but I admit that I got 2/3 of the way into this book and felt a tear welling up in my eye and thought - this is the saddest book I've read in quite a while. Perhaps this was exacerbated by the fact that R's P was such an uplifting book, that perfectly captured the dizzy joy not only of a twentysomething couple, but of being in your twenties, sparkling with promise and hopes and dreams; whilst the sequel really focuses on hopes and dreams being dashed as reality and disappointment sets in. And even while it ends on a positive note, as you sense from the start that it will, it did make me feel glum about marriage, and rather glad that I haven't settled down with kids yet!
Another quality of Jewell's maturing style is her deep psychological insight into character. She captures the minutiae of daily life with such precision and there are many wonderful moments that felt so perfectly spot=on - when Joel reveals another side to his character, or the comic details of Lucas's facebook page. I also loved Jewell's rather daring exploration of Ralph finding a spiritual dimension to his life. Normally in this type of book, anything remotely spiritual is described with irony or ridicule. It was honest, daring and rather refreshing to read about a character finding something beyond themselves, and I liked her exploration of characters puzzling over fate, coincidence and destiny, their very human desire to find meaning and shape to the chaos of life.
My only disappointment was that I had been expecting a blend of storylines - more of Karl and Cheri and Siobhan, because one of the things I loved about R's P was the rich cast of characters and zigzag of stories.
Nevertheless, this is another brilliant, pageturning read that has left me hungry for Jewell's next offering.
I "stormed" through it today to find out what happens to Jem and Ralph at the end of the story. On the way we meet some of the other characters and some new ones too, along with a lot of obstacles and challenges for them. I would really recommend to anyone who loved Ralph's Party firstly and those who like a great story with great characters, a lot of pace and a lot of style!
The characters are wonderfully similar to how they were in the first novel, they both still have a really strong voice thought the story and so from that point of view it is like returning home to old friends, however that would be boring if they were ENTIRELY the same. These characters have grown and evolved, they have had children and they are losing Ralph and Jem and simply becoming mum and dad and this is part of the problem throughout the whole of this novel-they need to find themselves again!
The things that this couple have gone through are realistic and believable and yet I simply don't know how they coped. In terms of the plot, it is beautifully mapped. They go through miscarriages, astilbe adultery, Ralph having issues with work, Jem having issues with work, questions over whether they should get married or not. It is one drama after another-it's fabulous. We hear a lot more of jems sister Miranda in this novel than in the previous one, and of course smith is back too. The big admission that I have to make, however, is that I really didn't like Ralph is this book! I LOVED him in the first novel, but in this one, really disliked him, thought he had turned into a lazy man who was letting his family life ass him by. I also really disliked Scarlet, their daughter. I thought she seemed spoilt and just took away from the enjoyment of the story a bit for me.
The fact that I had the dislike of these characters though and found the storyline so stressful was because it was so well written. Lisa Jewell really does have a way of writing drama to make it seem so real that it literally jumps off the page and pulls you in. This is not a novel to read if you are looking for a restful Sunday afternoon affair. You need to invest in this novel, but it is well worth the investment! This is Jewell at her best and if you are a fan of hers, you have got to read this one. If you haven't already read Ralph's Party then read that first because I think you have to know the characters from that novel before picking up this epic read!
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