Friday, June 16, 2017

The Arrangement by Sarah Dunn | Review

The Arrangement by Sarah Dunn
Published: March 21, 2017
Publisher: Little Brown and Company
Pages: 357
Received: from publisher for honest review
Find Online: Goodreads | Amazon

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?"

Hmm... six months of sleeping with whomever I wanted, no questions asked, no judgement? Still don't think I could agree to The Agreement. I'd be jealous as all get out. Though it is such a great story to read - it's for that person with the "grass is greener" curiosity. I'm wondering if the characters should have put a little more thought into it all before jumping right in.

This was a very quick and fun read. I loved Lucy and Owen. And was surprised that they even agreed to this deal because it didn't seem like their marriage was in any real trouble to begin with. Almost like the trouble actually starts once they agree to this six month free for all. They see like they have it all together, so I was just shocked to read that they were the couple to try this.

Lucy, the stay at home Mom, spends her days taking care of their son Wyatt. He's a lot of work because he is on the spectrum and very full of energy. She's great with him, but it takes all of her energy and she's kind of given up on things like her looks and such. Owen works a ton, at a job he's not necessarily happy with, so I think this takes a toll on how he feels in general.

The side secondary characters are what make this book funny. Izzy, Owen's girlfriend/mistress/whatever you want to call her, is bat shit crazy. She's quirky, yet terrifying at times. Sunny Bang, Lucy's best friend, is so blunt when it comes to things that she evens disciplines other peoples children if she sees fit. Ben, Lucy's love interest, is the guy you'd always want to meet - sweet, romantic and understanding. 

You also get to see other couples that are struggling through different issues in their marriages, so you get to see a lot of messed up relationships and I think that makes me wonder what Owen and Lucy thought was so terrible about theirs that they needed this little arrangement in the first place.

Filled with ups and downs, laughter and tears, this book will make you second guess ever wanting to think about "What If..." Is it really better to see what's out there? Will you fall in love with someone else? Will you realize that you don't need anyone other than your spouse?

PS I want to move to Beekman, it sounds like the perfect place to live. Kind of funny that such a wonderful sounding place is the setting for this novel, perhaps that's why it works so well.

PPS The scene involving Wyatt, the chickens, a church and a Doberman. OMG! Dying, I'm dying.

About the Author:
Sarah Dunn (born 1970) is an American author and television writer. She was educated in the University of Arizona.

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.

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