Monday, August 7, 2017

Book Review: The Arrangement

By Melissa Amster

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?"
(Synopsis courtesy of Amazon.)

I had been hearing a lot of buzz about The Arrangement, and finally decided to give it a whirl after Nicole Waggoner (author of Center Ring and The Act) told me I just had to read it.

I went into this novel not really knowing what to expect, and it continuously surprised me. It was funny in a dry humor kind of way. There were some really amusing moments, as well. Sarah Dunn's writing is tight and the story flows nicely without ever getting stale. She explores an interesting and thought provoking concept. Not something I would personally try, but it was fun to be a vicarious onlooker. While there are some bedroom action scenes, marriage, relationships, and parenting are truly at the core of this novel.

The one thing that didn't really work for me was giving Gordon and Kelly a side story. (Or even Rowan and Susan for that matter.) There was only one part where something Gordon did had an effect on Lucy and Owen's lives. It seemed random to have their story in there otherwise, especially when Gordon wasn't so likable to begin with. However, their drama eventually grew on me and I did want to see how it would unfold.

Overall, it was an entertaining read and I'm glad Nicole (and everyone else) recommended it. If you're looking for something fresh and different, pick this one up!

Dream movie cast:
Owen: Reid Scott
Lucy: Lake Bell
Ben: Peter Hermann
Gordon: Tim Matheson
Kelly: Alice Eve
Sunny: Jae Suh Park
Izzy: Kaitlin Olson

More by Sarah Dunn:

6 comments:

Janine said...

Great review. I definitely want to read this book. It sounds really good but also it's based not far from here I used to live in New York. I would love to be able to go back one day.

Nicole Waggoner said...

I love your casting! This would make an excellent film!

susieqlaw said...

Interesting casting!

The Book Sage said...

This looks good, Melissa. Nice review.

rithkhmer said...

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ronaldo said...

nice