Reviewer: Lori Graham
Title: After the Rice
Author: Wendy French
Publisher: Tor Books
Release Date: March 2006
Genre/Sub-genre: Contemporary Romance/General Fiction
Overall rating: 4.6
Sexual content rating: Subtle
Language (profanity) rating: Mild
Wendy's Website: www.wendy-french.com/
Megan Ismore is starting to believe her life is going down the totally wrong path. Well, so maybe she is past starting to believe it and moving right towards the flush of the drain she is feeling. She has only been married ten months and she and Matt have no desire to have children. Matt is trying to get himself settled into a career and she is still taking classes towards a career. Plus she recognizes she has absolutely no gift for children, no biological clock ticking, and no maternal instinct. She doesnít understand it but none the less it is true.
Now, Meganís own life is chaotic enough until Mattís Uncle Tony gets thrown out of his home and he moves into their basement Ė just camping out mind you. Uncle Tony isnít exactly a model houseguest. Megan accepts him moving in and moves towards solving her own dilemma. Nope, put that on hold. Her "perfect" older sister calls with an emergency babysitting request for her infant (affectionately referred to as The Pink Tyrant) and while Megan is babysitting, her sister has an accident while driving under the influence and Megan now has house guest number two. The eating machine (Uncle Tony) and the screaming machine (Jillienn, The Pink Tyrant) Ė her life canít get any more complicated can it?
Oh, but wait, her youngest sister, Andrea, loses her apartment and needs a couch to sleep on. Where else could she go but to stay with her dear older sister? At this point, Megan is seriously thinking of running away but wait, she still doesnít know, is she or isnít she pregnant and whichever way the answer goes, what will Matt say?
After the Rice is wonderfully poignant and yet full of hilarity at the same time. The character of Megan is incredibly rich Ė full of strength she didnít know she had and the wonderful ability to move through life. Wendy French has dealt beautifully with a subject that often causes dissent but handles it in a way that puts the reader in the driverís seat with Megan and feeling her pain and confusion.
This chronicle is a raw, moving story of real life with families of today. Taking in family when you would rather not; dealing with a pregnancy that isnít something you planned; and coping with the trials of life while keeping your head above water. After the Rice could have a couple of different endings and while it might not have ended exactly the way I would have written it the ending was true to the story and left the reader satisfied.
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