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Life After Yes: A Novel Paperback – May 18 2010

3.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; 1 edition (May 18 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061894478
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061894473
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 2.1 x 20.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 272 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,927,275 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


Aidan Donnelley Rowley’s compelling debut novel Life After Yes is funny, and a wickedly accurate picture of the life of a particular breed of Manhattanites – and it’s also thought-provoking and deeply moving. (Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project)

“A must-read modern love story for any woman wondering which man, and which direction, is the right one.” (Tatiana Boncompagni)

A resounding yes! to Life After Yes—a novel that explores, with charm and humor, life after loss. Readers will root for its endearing narrator, Quinn, as she confronts the road not taken and navigates the conflicting and complicated intersections of head and heart. (Mameve Medwed)

Rowley skillfully dissects the myth of having it all in this unputdownable late coming of age story set in rarefied Manhattan. Her flawed and complex characters will stick with you long after Life After Yes’s final pages since they are all too human as they struggle with love and loss. (Julie Buxbaum)

From the Back Cover

"Music plays. Dad appears. I walk with him, eyes fastened to the floor. When I look up, something is very wrong. There are three grooms."

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.

Life After Yes is a blisteringly honest, thoroughly modern tale of life and love in chaos, marking the arrival of a truly exciting new voice in contemporary fiction.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Life After Yes is a smart read about love, family, grief and understanding that was well written, poignant and amusing at times. I appreciated some of the laugh out loud moments amidst the uncertainty and grief Quinn was dealing with and thought her father's death in the 9/11 attacks was handled well and wasn't overly depressing. This novel held many insights into love and imperfect relationships, but unfortunately I just didn't find myself connecting with Quinn as much I would have liked to.

I found Quinn was too preoccupied with the gym and partying, coming across insecure and whiny at times. Maybe my age is starting to show or I'm just looking for a happier read at the moment and the fact that she wasn't sure about the man she'd just agreed to marry didn't go over well for me. I did love that she explored her concerns and questions instead of simply ignoring them as so many make the mistake and do.

I got immersed in this novel from the first few pages, enjoying the voice and story, but some flashbacks threw me. When it moved forward again after a sequence of them, I wasn't as attached or as interested as before they began and I can't quite put my finger on whether it was the flashbacks themselves, what they contained, or that I just didn't love her character when returning to the story.

The supporting cast was well developed, however I did occasionally have a hard time telling the difference between her two closest friends. I thought the character of Quinn's future mother in law, was portrayed so vividly I could picture and understand her as well as her fiance, whose changes towards the end I found interesting.

In the end, I wasn't as enthralled by this novel as I would have liked, but I'll definitely check out another by Donnelley Rowley! I did a little digging and found others were much more taken by Life After Yes than I was.
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Format: Paperback
I wanted to love this one, I really did but I couldn't enjoy the characters. Quinn, the heroin of the novel is recently engaged and very undecided. Having lost her father in the 9/11 attacks, she's uncovered many secrets, secrets that have left her confused and angry with her father. At the same time Quinn is not sure she's over her first love, leaving her reluctant to walk up the aisle. In fact, the 9/11 attacks have left her questioning everything she thought she had figured out in life. She becomes a very unhappy and indecisive woman.

My main issue with the novel is that I really couldn't relate to Quinn in anyway. I thought she was self-centered and annoying. I expected much more from this novel, and it may have been that I read this book at the wrong time in my life. I'm completely opposite of this character, and wasn't sure what to make of her. I've read some very mixed reviews, and I kept putting off this review because I wasn't sure what to say. If this one sounds like your type of novel, give it a try.

I've seen this one categorized as Chick-lit and I think that's very wrong. I'm going to categorize this one as contemporary fiction.

I do have to say one thing, the cover...BEAUTIFUL!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0xa309f5d0) out of 5 stars 44 reviews
11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa30c62a0) out of 5 stars Kind of gloomy for chick lit April 11 2011
By A reader - Published on
First of all, I got the book because I was kind of excited for a book about post-marriage. But this is all pre-marriage. Probably my fault for not reading the back of the cover carefully. Yeah, I pretty much bought the book because of the pretty picture on the front and the fact it's chick lit.

It was not a happy book, though. I was reading it and wondering if the author had someone killed in the 9/11 attacks. It was the traditional sappy love story chick lit but then there were these gloomy references to 9/11 in there and how the main character's father was killed in the attacks. (Ironically, despite this, the main character thinks it's absolutely horrible that another family keeps the memory of someone killed tragically alive). Maybe the 9/11 references were there to add gravitas but it just didn't work. This is not the type of book one reads for profound meaning.

Another thing that didn't work for me was the fact that the main character turned out to be...well, a pretty horrible person after all, a hypocrite, among other vices. I was kind of liking her for a while, but then realized she was selfish and inconsiderate and not someone I should've been rooting for. I had to finish the book to realize how few redeeming qualities she had.

Charming princes? Check. A worthy heroine? Fail. A funny book? Fail. A profound book? Fail.

To be fair, it wasn't a bad book. There are worse ways to spend your time. It just wasn't funny or meaningful or really that interesting. I probably would've liked it more if the the heroine wasn't so personally flawed. Or if her love interests weren't so perfect. A flawed woman needs a flawed man. As a reader, I felt cheated when I finished the book and realized I'd been rooting for a witch the whole time.
14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa30c66a8) out of 5 stars Truly Awful Oct. 25 2011
By Liz - Published on
Verified Purchase
This is a truly awful book. The writing is amateurish, worse than a lot of romantic novels. I was looking for a relaxing, but decently written read. This was just painful. Do yourself a favor and avoid it. For someone who advertises her academic credentials so blatantly, this author does not appear to have the vaguest understanding of what good writing is. She attempts to go for some sort of Kafkaesque dream sequence in the first chapter. It is just a meandering, meaningless bunch of gibberish aspiring to be something literary. Ugh.
12 of 17 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa30c6ad4) out of 5 stars YES to Life after Yes May 18 2010
By Lindsey M. Russell - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The time has come ... (I keep hearing, in my head, "the walrus said, to talk of many things...") But the time has come. It's here. Life After Yes debuts today and I whole-heartedly encourage you to order it. It's been such a pleasure and an honor to live this process a little bit, vicariously, through Aidan. I read snippets of the book as she revised it, listening to Coldplay, at Starbucks. I saw the cover before it was final. And, finally, last week I got to hold it in my hands. And read it. And revel in it.

Life After Yes is, first and foremost, an absolute pleasure to read. I gulped it down in two sittings. Aidan's characters are human and likeable, despite their real and visible flaws. The dialog is real, the descriptions of New York vivid, the particular moment in life recognizable to all who've been through it.

But Life After Yes also dares to ask some big questions. The book is, in my view, about two main things: about the ways that loss echoes through our lives, crippling and humbling us in ways we cannot anticipate, and about the various crutches and devices we use to keep ourselves from embracing life, from saying, wholeheartedly, YES.

The book's protagonist, Quinn, lives in the shadow of her father's unexpected death on 9/11. This is particularly poignant because any reader of Aidan's blog knows that she lost her father very recently. It gives me shivers to think that Aidan wrote this novel before her father was sick, as though her subconscious was prodding her to work through this particular life passage in advance of needing its wisdom. Quinn's fiance, Sage, also struggles with a deep loss. The way that Quinn and Sage and others around them (in particular, each of their mothers) reckon with the ramifications of these deaths forms the beating heart of the book.

Quinn's story is also about the myriad ways that we hide from true and honest engagement in our lives. Aidan explores thoughtfully all the various tools that people use to numb themselves, to avoid really looking at the core of who they are and what they have chosen. There is alcohol, there is empty flirtation and sex, there is betrayal, there is plain old denial. We watch Quinn realize the futility of all of these crutches, and ultimately we see the beauty and joy that is possible when we overcome the human instinct to hide from ourselves. Part of this process for Quinn is also about letting go of her need to follow the yellow brick road, the path of great adulation and achievement. I relate to this keenly, and particularly loved the passage where Quinn begins to trust her inner compass:

Something clicks. I've spent my whole life stockpiling reasons - for why I should go to law school, or become a litigator, or become a wife. Maybe some things don't need justification to be right. Maybe instinct is the best measure.

There are other themes in Life After Yes. Quinn's maturation into herself is integral to the plot, and we watch her dreams of how her life would be confront the reality of how it actually is with results that are sometimes bitter, sometimes beautiful. Life After Yes is also a love letter to New York, and Aidan's abiding love of the city she grew up in and still calls home radiates from every page. The law firm where Quinn works illustrates the alternative universe some professions inhabit, where a very different morality passes for normal and where people are so good at their facades that they can lose sight of their actual selves.

I loved Life After Yes. This book is fun to read and also full of provocative questions and lingering meaning. I can't imagine a more compelling combination. I am proud of my friend and very honored to have been able to read this book. I heartily encourage you to do so as well.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa30c6984) out of 5 stars I Absolutely Loved This Book! Jan. 20 2014
By Romancing the Book - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition
Reviewed by Angie
Book provided by the publisher for review
Review originally posted at Romancing the Book

I’ll be honest – I chose to read this book based solely on the Carrie Bradshaw-esque model wearing an absolutely exquisite wedding dress; the story was just a bonus.

All of the characters in this book are overachievers, overly well off, and overly cliched, but don’t let that deter you from this book – Ms. Rowley really knows how to suck you right in and make you stay up until all hours wondering if Quinn will ever just stop trying to rationalize life and just go with the flow!

I love how flawed Quinn was. And Kayla, the quintessential rich girl who was looking for love in all the wrong places and finds it in the least likely place.

Come to think of it, there were so many supporting characters that I wish we’d heard more from {or about}. I can only hope that in future novels that some of these characters will take center stage – especially Michael, Kayla, and Avery. Especially Avery – I want to know more about her and what happened with her fiance darn it!

But I digress. More than trying to deal with the fact that she was about to become someone’s wife, Quinn is still reeling from the death of her father who had unfortunately been in one of the Twin Towers having breakfast with his Banker when the…well, you know what happened. I enjoyed the tidbits of information about Quinn’s father, but I wanted to know more about him.

Overall, I absolutely loved this book. Flawed and imperfectly emotional to read, Ms. Rowley really nailed it on the head when she wrote this book.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa30c6b10) out of 5 stars Life After Yes is a great read and will leave you wanting more! Aug. 3 2010
By agadiee - Published on
Format: Paperback
Life After Yes is a book that I could not put down and I even found myself spending my lunch hour reading rather than doing much needed errands.

Quinn is a strong lead character and woman who managed to be both confident and self assured while also showing vulnerability and emotion. I felt as if I related to Quinn's struggles and questions about the "what ifs" that come after saying yes.

While Life After Yes was a quick read and could be labeled under the 'chick lit' tag it is not a no brainier kind of book. The writing is clever and the language choices are smart and very much a cut above your normal 'chick lit' read.

I found myself hoping very much for more work from this Freshman author.