The Arrangement by Sarah Dunn
Published: March 21, 2017
Publisher: Little Brown and Company
Format: Audio via publisher
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?"
The premise of The Arrangement is that Lucy and Owen a couple who want to try something different decide on an open marriage for six months. They come up with rules and a time frame but it soon comes to light that this was way more than they bargained for. Owen quickly finds himself attractive to and evolved with someone, it's all fun and games but soon Owen realizes that this woman he wanted to have a fun time with wants it to be more. She wants a relationship and treats him like a boyfriend which wasn’t in the rules and he soon hates this whole situation. Lucy, on the other hand, is taking her time in finding someone so her friend decides why should Owen have all the fun and takes it upon herself to find someone for Lucy. Lucy agrees to meet up with this guy and goes through with it and soon they are spending a lot of time together.
Within months Owen wants out and wants to return to his life with his family, while Lucy feels the freest she has felt in years. She and her guy soon are spending time with each other and talking and really getting to know each other and soon he tells her he is falling for her. Lucy doesn’t know what to do, she loves her husband but they haven’t connected in years and this guy is like a breath of fresh air, he makes her feel alive again. In the end, will this arrangement break or make Lucy and Owen? I won't say what happens but this really makes you realize the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. It shows you always have to continue to work at relationships and continue with the lines of communication, its always easy to let things slide but in the end, you will regret not letting your partner know what you want and to know what they thinking also.
I truly enjoyed this story it was funny and a quick read, I listened to this in almost one setting not wanting to stop, I always wanted to know what was happening next. The audio was wonderfully read by Ellen Archer who brought a fun and quirkiness to the characters that I really loved. Sarah Dunn brought a richness to this subject matter that could’ve gone a whole other way but by bringing some humor to the subject it shows us that sometimes we have to laugh at our lives and relationships but we can't let things fall to the wayside and we have to make the effort and put in the work. This is one read I’m telling everyone about, I honestly can't say enough great and amazing things about it.