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Month in review

Reviews
The Amazing World of Gumball: After School Special by Ben Boquelet
Anna's Corn by Barbara Santucci
The Arrangement by Sarah Dunn
Boy Dumplings by Ying Chang Compestine
Brownies and Broomsticks by Bailey Cates
Camera and Lens by Ansel Adams
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Over the Moon by Frank Cottrell Boyce
Cleopatra in Space: The Thief and the Sword by Mike Maihack
Draw! by Raúl Colón
Goodnight June by Sarah Jio
Half a Chance by Cynthia Lord
I Love Him to Pieces by Evonne Tsang
Jem and the Holograms, Volume 2: Viral by Kelly Thompson
Pachinko by Min Jin Lee
Scarecrow Magic by Ed Masessa
The 78-Storey Treehouse by Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton
Shopaholic Ties the Knot by Sophie Kinsella
Six Impossible Things by Fiona Wood
The Stone Heart by Faith Erin Hicks
The Summer Prince by Alaya Dawn Johnson
Tagged by Diane C. Mullen
This Land I Love: Waterloo County by Carl Hiebert
Waiting is Not Easy! by Mo Willems
Witches' Bane by Susan Wittig Albert
XO, OX: A Love Story by Adam Rex

Miscellaneous
April 2017 Inclusive Reading Report
It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (May 01)
It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (May 08)
It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (May 15)
It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (May 22)
Mapping the roads of the American nightmare
Read Our Own Books - April 2017

Previous month

Rating System

5 stars: Completely enjoyable or compelling
4 stars: Good but flawed
3 stars: Average
2 stars: OK
1 star: Did not finish

Reading Challenges

My Kind of Mystery Reading Challenge 2017 February - January 2017-8



The Arrangement: 05/01/17

The Arrangement by Sarah Dunn

The Arrangement by Sarah Dunn is set in a small Hudson Valley town — a place filled with middle class white twats — and one billionaire who likes to hit golf balls into the Hudson.

During a dinner party the subject of open marriages is brought up. Hosts Lucy and Owen balk at the idea but later in bed they decide to give it a try. The come up with rules: it will only last six months, there will be no talking about their encounters, there will be no sleeping with anyone in Beekman, there will be no leaving, and no falling in love.

The book from the very beginning sets up Owen and Lucy as NORMAL: meaning they are white, middle class, cis-gendered, straight, and monogamous. The one thing that makes the abnormal (to their frustration) is Wyatt, their autistic son.

What could have been an interesting exploration of open marriages ends up being nothing but loosely connected vignettes based around hackneyed stereotypes.

Take for instance the introduction of open marriage in the first chapter. The one gay couple in the town is the one with the open marriage. Despite the fact that they have adopted two daughters, their "sex can be just sex." (p. 9). There it is: heterosexual marriage is always about procreation and the delineation of "normal" gender roles.

The so-called open marriage that this two set up is anything but. Open marriages work through communication. While they do mention using condoms for every encounter, there's still the risk that one could infect the other without communication. They might as well be having affairs if they're not talking about it.

Meanwhile, at Wyatt's school, his kindergarten teacher has come out as transgender. This turn in the plot is announced by Wyatt, "'Mr. Lowell is now Mrs. Lowell.'" (p.55). This announcement is repeated for the next two pages, thus driving home two concepts: transitioning is weird and and autism is also weird. Maybe putting the two together will be funny! Or witty. It's neither.

Throughout all of this mess there is the repeated theme that white middle class heterosexual marriage is normal. Open Marriages — or polyamory (a term not used in the book) is abnormal. This type of marriage is also doomed to tragedy — unhappiness, unfulfilling lives. But it's what normal people do.

For all this waving of the normality flag, I found nothing normal about either of them. Nor did I find anything about their "normalcy" desirable. I found the entire experience an exasperating waste of time.

One star

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Comment #1: Wednesday, May 03, 2017 at 14:01:52

Dragonfly @ Our Familiarium

Ugh I hate stereotypes! too bad! Open marriages would have indeed been a great topic to explore.



Comment #2: Wednesday, May 03, 2017 at 18:23:00

Pussreboots

It was such a missed opportunity.