A hilarious and emotionally charged novel about a couple who embark on an open marriage-what could possibly go wrong?
Lucy and Owen, ambitious, thoroughly-therapized New Yorkers, have taken the plunge, trading in their crazy life in a cramped apartment for Beekman, a bucolic Hudson Valley exurb. They’ve got a two hundred year-old house, an autistic son obsessed with the Titanic, and 17 chickens, at last count. It’s the kind of paradise where stay-at-home moms team up to cook the school’s “hot lunch,” dads grill grass-fed burgers, and, as Lucy observes, “chopping kale has become a certain kind of American housewife’s version of chopping wood.”
When friends at a wine-soaked dinner party reveal they’ve made their marriage open, sensible Lucy balks. There’s a part of her, though-the part that worries she’s become too comfortable being invisible-that’s intrigued. Why not try a short marital experiment? Six months, clear ground rules, zero questions asked. When an affair with a man in the city begins to seem more enticing than the happily-ever-after she’s known for the past nine years, Lucy must decide what truly makes her happy-“real life,” or the “experiment?”
The Arrangement is an original and cleverly written story about Lucy and Owen who decide to have a six month “open marriage – no questions” rumspringa where they can sleep around but obviously there are rules involved. No friends, no ex’s and absolutely no falling in love!
This is a frank and often painful look at being married with some very funny observations about life, love and being parents.
Full of wonderful characters including their “spectrum-y” son Wyatt who wipes poop on the walls, Sunny Bang the best friend with an outrageous attitude, a transgender kindergarten teacher and a billionaire with a bee colony, this book kept me turning pages and laughing at their antics, but also thinking about the underlying message.
This contemporary novel made me laugh and smile and the authors skill of creating characters that were so realistic with their thoughts, feelings and concerns about marriage and sex that I was silently nodding in agreement throughout the book.
PS. Despite nodding in agreement and connecting with the characters I will not be partaking in any threesomes or swingers partying.
Coming to prominence in 1994 with her book Official Slacker Handbook, Sarah Dunn went to Hollywood, where she wrote for such series as Murphy Brown, Veronica’s Closet and Spin City.
My thanks to Netgalley and the publishers Little, Brown and Company for the advanced reader copy.