Named one of the 9 Most Addictive Books of 2017 by Huffington Post, a Happily Ever After read by USA Today, and one of Entertainment Weekly's Best New Books.
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?"
Dunn (The Big Love) again plumbs the messiness and fallibility of romantic relationships in her latest novel. This time, the couple at its center, inspired by rumors of how well such arrangements have worked for acquaintances, embark on an experiment in open marriage, with hilarious results. Lucy, exhausted by caring for the couple's young autistic son, proposes the test run, and Owen, equally burned out by his uninspiring career, eagerly agrees to abide by the ground rules, which include a strict six-month time limit. Complications naturally ensue, especially when one member of the couple breaks rule number two: "No falling in love." Owen and Lucy's misadventures are interspersed with quotes from a fictional self-help guru (and decided monogamy skeptic), as well as with glimpses into the equally imperfect love lives of Lucy and Owen's friends and neighbors in their idyllic Hudson Valley village. At times these minor characters' foibles border on the cartoonish, but they nevertheless contribute to an overall levity of tone that helps buoy what could otherwise have become a veritable catalogue of failing relationships.
Enjoyable quick read, because I couldn't stop for too long. Absolutely not the best book of the year, but it kept my interest and I was hoping the best for the two main characters.
I couldn't put it down. I could relate to so much of this story. But it is not funny. I don't know where people get that. Yes there are some humorous things that happen, but mostly it's bittersweet and another sad testament to where we've gotten as a society.
Laughed out loud several times. Well done and uplifting.