My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
After the Fishing Trip is a new release in 2019 from Lisa Reynolds. I’ve read several of the Irish author’s previous novels (two series, one about a music contest and another about a gay couple who solves crimes) and was eager to read this one. It’s the longest of the ones I’ve read so far, but it also has at least ten major characters to follow. In the end, I enjoyed it very much and recommend it, especially to others who want to read about diverse people living regular lives in a modern world.
Nate and his father, Phil, go on a fishing trip. Nate’s mom had revealed a secret to Phil before she died — he isn’t Nate’s biological parent. The woman also slept with many men during that time period, so she was never sure herself. Phil, my favorite of all the characters, tells Nate, and their lives begin to fall apart. Nate’s boyfriend (Bella transitioned into Mitch) is pregnant with their twins. They’re not married, and Nate feels he can still sleep with other people while keeping it a secret from Mitch. Both men have their own group of friends. Mitch is estranged from his family. Over the course of the pregnancy, Mitch learns of the affair. Nate searches for his father. Both guys reconnect with friends they’ve grown distant from since moving in together. At the end, they have to decide what is best for their twins.
That’s all I’ll say about the plot, as there are many twists and turns regarding past relationships, transitioning from one gender to another, and who’s related to whom. Author Reynolds relies on strong dialog and plot to move this story along, which works well for my reading preferences. Characters are definitely fully developed, but in my opinion, this is less about the characters and more about the things people go through in life: pregnancy, parenthood, marriage, cheating, self-doubt, prejudice, internal conflict, etc.
Gender fluidity and identity, sexual preference, transitioning between sexes, and inner versus outward roles are essential to this story. Through the characters, Reynolds offers different points of view on how to interpret what’s occurring in our society today. In a world where LGBTQ is no longer gay / straight / bi, people are evolving to decide for themselves whether they identify male or female, binary, poly, pan, etc. While I know some about the subject matter, I learned more through this story, some of which I get / agree with, some of which I don’t necessarily support. However, what I completely loved about this story, is how Reynolds showcases the varying opinions through characters and their dialog. Some of the conversations were complex and intricate to help both other characters and readers understand emerging viewpoints.
Rachel, who was close-minded and obnoxious to me, was the worst of all even though she claimed to be open-minded. There are people like this, so it made perfect sense. Nate himself, who should’ve supported Mitch to his friends (and also not cheated), became controlling and arrogant. His pregnant partner sits home and night while Nate goes out to the bars. If he were mine, he’d have been given 1 chance to do that, then I’d have kicked him out! Couples don’t need to be on top of one another, but when 1 is pregnant, the other should be a bit more attentive and less selfish.
The fathers of several characters range from ‘not my son’ to ‘you’re all indulgent’ to ‘i love you no matter what.’ Ultimately, Reynolds presents a case for readers to decide where they fit. Personally, I don’t care who you are or what you are or what you do… just be kind, tolerate others who aren’t hurting someone else, and focus on yourself and helping the underprivileged. Some of the characters who were open-minded, were also indulgent in my opinion, constantly fighting for every little thing they wanted because they needed to be heard or had to be right. I’ve met people like that, and it showed me how truly knowledgeable the author is about all of these social aspects of life. Kudos to her for presenting it in such a vivid light.
While I loved the concept of the books, and it moves very quickly due to rapid pacing, short dialog, and minimal descriptions, there were a few areas that I struggled with understanding or connecting to. That said, for the breadth of views and approach to letting the story unfold, I give this book high ratings. The pages turn themselves, if you allow them to. It’s VERY easy to get stuck debating characters words and choices. I found myself screaming at them a few times, wanting to throw the book at the wall because of how angry Nate or Rachel made me. If a book moves you that much, it’s written well. Then again, I’m big on plot, so that’s why I had a strong connection with this one.
If you are open-minded, love challenging characters, and want to understand more about a world you might know little of, this is the perfect book to give you great perspective on a lot of social beliefs, truths, trends, lies, and ideas. Everyone has relationship issues, but when you layer in the complexities of self-identity and huge prejudices, life is even harder for some. Thanks for pushing me to think more critically and listen to other ideas with this one, Ms. Reynolds.
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For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My stand-alone novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. My new book series, Braxton Campus Mysteries, will fit those who love cozy mysteries and crime investigations but with a twist. There are five books: Academic Curveball, Broken Heart Attack, Flower Power Trip, Mistaken Identity Crisis, and Haunted House Ghost. I read, write, and blog A LOT on this site where you can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.