Book Review: After Happily Ever After

This funny, engaging, and well-paced book features Maggie, an upper middle class Connecticut woman mired in a full-blown mid-life crisis. Her husband Jim is emotionally distant with problems at work, and doesn’t have enough energy or attention to give her, or their marriage. Her 17-year-old daughter Gia (who thinks she knows everything), is snarky, and doesn’t want or appreciate any advice from her parents—yet is herself undergoing huge changes. Maggie’s Mother is ageing, and her father is deteriorating in assisted living. At the same time, Maggie is drawing keen interest from a single man, and trying to decide what to do about it. Maggie is witty, her observations are enjoyable, and her behavior is believable.

Two things keep this from being a 5-star rating: first off, there is a logical problem with the chapters written from the perspective of the father (‘Dad’), who can’t remember Maggie’s name, nor where he is, but who still narrates a coherent story, replete with details like his nurse’s name, the people who are visiting him, and how he is feeling…if he doesn’t know where he is, how can he tell a coherent story? Secondly, the narrator of the audio book, Tiffany Phillips, doesn’t significantly change her inflection for male voices. As I was listening to the book, I was confused several times, thinking I was hearing Maggie’s character, when in fact, the chapter had changed to Jim. Overall, the story bogs down when anyone other than Maggie is narrating—and because those chapters don’t significantly advance the plot, the book would have been better, the story tighter, and more consistent if Maggie was the only narrator. It might work better as an e-read. Overall, I really enjoyed After Happily Ever After, and I feel that it is a worthwhile, fun, witty read with insight into a very difficult, transitional time of life for many adults. Thank
you to NetGalley and blackstone publishing for the DRC!

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