The Arrangement by Sarah Dunn

The Arrangement

By Sarah Dunn

PBR Book Review:

A young suburban couple decides their marriage needs a boost. There is nothing alarmingly wrong with their relationship - it just feels like it's dipping into the doldrums - getting a bit stagnant. It doesn't need a major overhaul, just a tune-up. Their friends have talked up the "Arrangement," an agreement between them, to have an open marriage for six months, no questions asked. Lucy and Owen decide it sounds appealing, why not give it a try. And so the story begins. This delightful book explores open marriages in an authentic way. You'll love the characters and find yourself shaking your head in disbelief one minute and smiling the next. Recommend.

Book Club Talking Points:

Aside from the main topic of 'is monogamy best in a marriage', which will be a hot topic, this book also explores the issues of transgender shaming, dealing with an autistic child, and relationships. It also touches on the meaning of love and examines the concept 'is the grass always greener on the other side'?
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Author's Website

*Discussion Questions

1. If you are married, or in a long-term relationship, have you ever thought about an open marriage? Or been tempted? Or maybe even had one? Why or why not?

2. Talk about the reasons Lucy and Owen decide to experiment with an open marriage? How is it supposed to make them stronger?

3. What are the cracks in any long-term relationship that propel people to wander out of bounds, either openly or (more often) secretly? Is the idea of "love" delusional? Must "new" love inevitably yield to "stale" love?

4. Talk about the couple's divergent experiences: Owen finding no real fulfillment, only more irritation; and Lucy falling inconveniently in love. What is it about Ben that makes Lucy fall for him? In what way is Owen also in over his head?

5. What do you think of Izzy. Crazy? Likable? In what way would you say Izzy remains true to her character?

6. What are the joys-or not-of a committed, monogamous relationship?

7. Talk about the rules that Lucy and Owen come up with. Do they make sense to you? If you were to do something similar, what rules would you insist on?

8. What does the book suggest about the differences between men and women?

9. Dunn's secondary characters are wonderfully drawn. Talk about some of them.

10. Numerous reviewers mention the book's humor. What made you laugh?

11. What is your take-away from The Arrangement?

12. If you've read the Autho Bio (above), you'll know that Sarah Dunn has written for television sitcoms. Can you detect notes of sit-com dialogue in The Arrangement?

(Discussion Questions by LitLovers )

Book Summary
Named one of the 9 Most Addictive Books of 2017 (So Far) by Kirkus, a Happily Ever After read by USA Today, one of Entertainment Weekly's Best New Books, one of Refinery29's Best Books of the year so far.

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?"

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