STARRED REVIEW
April 2017

The unexpected effects of an open marriage

By Suzanne Forster
Review by

To revive their marriage, to let it aerate a little, Lucy and Owen agree to sleep with other people for a six-month period. The ground rules are no falling in love, snooping or leaving. (So much for that.)

Share this Article:

It only requires a few pages of Sarah Dunn’s sad, funny novel to spark a line of thought: “Are there still people like this? People who drink Ridge Zinfandel and slice their grass-fed wagyu beef with Laguiole steak knives? Don’t they know that Donald Trump is the President?” More on him later, by the way.

The bobo protagonists of Dunn’s story are Lucy and her husband, Owen. Their marriage has gone a bit stale, due not in small part to their son, Wyatt, a ghastly child for whom Lucy has put aside her career to care for full time. It’s one of the many ironies of the book that this little beast is more biddable in the care of his harried dad. At least Wyatt doesn’t spit in Owen’s face and scream, “I hate you!” all the time.

To revive their marriage, to let it aerate a little, Lucy and Owen agree to sleep with other people for a six-month period. The ground rules are no falling in love, snooping or leaving. (So much for that.)

Dunn, a television writer for “Spin City” and creator of “American Housewife,” draws the reader into Owen and Lucy’s situation while painting a lively picture of their neighbors. They live in a tidy, Starbucks-free burb called Beekman, accessible to Manhattan via Metro North. Neighbors include Sunny Bang, a busybody as kind as she is up in everyone’s grill; and Mrs. Lowell, the transgender school teacher who arouses the transphobic wrath of town billionaire Gordon Allen. You know who he’s based on because he’s on his third wife, doesn’t pay taxes, and Alec Baldwin harangues him for being a climate change denier.

The book charms with the author’s compassion for all her foolish, bumbling characters. All everyone wants, she says, is a little tenderness, from the horrible Wyatt to the horrible Gordon. The Arrangement will make you smile.

 

This article was originally published in the April 2017 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

Trending Reviews

Get the Book

The Arrangement

The Arrangement

By Suzanne Forster
Mira
ISBN 9780778324263

Sign Up

Stay on top of new releases: Sign up for our enewsletters to receive reading recommendations in your favorite genres every Tuesday.