The Arrangement
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?"

The Arrangement Details

TitleThe Arrangement
Author
FormatHardcover
ReleaseMar 21st, 2017
PublisherLittle, Brown and Company
ISBN0316013595
ISBN-139780316013598
Number of pages368 pages
Rating
GenreAdult, Contemporary, Fiction, Humor

The Arrangement Review

  • Cassandra
    March 3, 2017
    Couldn't put it down... a surprising look inside marriages... I was horrified and amused at the same time.
  • Sharon May
    March 3, 2017
    Thanks to NetGalley, the publisher and author for the opportunity to read this book - I loved it!While at first glance, a book about open marriages wouldn't be at the top of my reading list but this one is not to be missed. The writing about marriage, parenthood, real life is spot on - you'll laugh, sometimes loudly!, you'll commiserate, you'll love these characters.Owen and Lucy have moved from NYC to scenic Beekman, where life is more storybook and a great place to raise their on-the-spectrum Thanks to NetGalley, the publisher and author for the opportunity to read this book - I loved it!While at first glance, a book about open marriages wouldn't be at the top of my reading list but this one is not to be missed. The writing about marriage, parenthood, real life is spot on - you'll laugh, sometimes loudly!, you'll commiserate, you'll love these characters.Owen and Lucy have moved from NYC to scenic Beekman, where life is more storybook and a great place to raise their on-the-spectrum son, Wyatt. After a night with friends and too much alcohol, the idea of an open marriage - albeit one with a written list of rules and a time period - transforms from an idea to a reality. What could possibly go wrong?Really a fun read with a great ending - kudos to the author!
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  • Amy
    February 27, 2017
    3.5 stars. First to share this was a Giveaway book that I won, and I am privileged that the process is meant to create interest and a buzz for the author. Sarah Dunn, I believe has two novels out previously, and this one is being published in just a few weeks. I choose to enter giveaways because something of the plot intrigues me, but I confess, when I went to read this, I wondered why I had entered. Admittedly, I did not expect to like it. I even thought to myself to prepare scenarios, for who 3.5 stars. First to share this was a Giveaway book that I won, and I am privileged that the process is meant to create interest and a buzz for the author. Sarah Dunn, I believe has two novels out previously, and this one is being published in just a few weeks. I choose to enter giveaways because something of the plot intrigues me, but I confess, when I went to read this, I wondered why I had entered. Admittedly, I did not expect to like it. I even thought to myself to prepare scenarios, for who one writes to an author who has given their lifeblood to a project, and say something "meh." I needn't have worried. This book surprised me, and I surprised myself. Just goes to show you, you can't always tell a book by its cover, or the side or back flap. The plot - initially disconcerting, developed just beautifully. A normal happy couple with an extremely challenging child, decides in the early pages, to try an open marriage. As a lark, or to enervate, or simply to re-find the juice. It ends up being about how the relationship unfolds, but more than that, it becomes a portrait of at least seven or eight marriages, all grappling with the questions of "where did the juice go? What if? Could this work? Is there more to me, or us? Initially I thought critically, certainly from the back flap I thought this was not for me. But what the immediate hook was, was learning on page one about how difficult Lucy and Owen have it with their extremely challenging child. All of a sudden it was a gamechanger. I could understand immediately wanting to escape your life - even with someone you love. This book incorporated themes that were more than just about marriage, there's a transgender marriage in there, issues of money, illness, accidents, children, affairs, mental illness, and at least erratic behavior. All of a sudden, it rang true for me. Who doesn't wonder even briefly about how to escape or recapture youth, when life gets difficult.But what rang even truer, is how these relationships unfolded and how they were dealt with. I see in my practice, and I certainly have witnessed this with folks that I know personally, how actually common it is for a person to stray from a happy marriage. And how difficult it is to manage the conflict of that predicament of dual love. The lying, the guilt, the desire for both worlds, desperation for "experience, life" what have you.... It felt very true in its anguish and passion and commitment. Sarah Dunn did a great job. A Giveaway reader's job is to help promote the book if it merits it, and to create some interest and buzz. I hope I have done just that.A note for Sarah - I couldn't find a way to get a note to you privately, I just wanted to share where the book traveled to next... I find myself tickled and fascinated by this, perhaps you will find it interesting, perhaps not. Its a little in the style of "flat Stanley." I recently traveled to Puerto Vallarta Mexico, and stayed at the Grand Luxxe. There, everybody reads, very few kindles, actual books, and its really fun to swim and walk around, and see whose reading what. Books allow me to strike up a conversation with all kinds of people. At the Activities Desk, there is a carousel for books, and people just drop off and pick up books every hour of the day. I left yours at the Activities Carousel, somewhere around 12-3 on Tuesday February 21st. When I left by 4 or 5, it was still there. But by noon the next day it was missing, and I never saw anyone reading it. People at this resort sometimes come for just a week, but the majority of the folks stay for weeks, even months. My fantasy is that it ends up back at the carousel, again and again, and this helps it create interest and buzz. My mother told me Wednesday that she had seen this book called the Arrangement, but by the time she went to pick it up, it had disappeared. I didn't see a sign of it again before I left on Sunday, but my other Giveaway book disappeared even as quickly, as well as a sighting of Lillian Boxfish takes a walk, and the new Andy Cohen book Superficial, that my husband left behind and unintentionally lost. Before I had a chance to ask him if it was his, that disappeared too. Along with countless others, and a child's story my 6 year old outgrown. I wish I could tell you more about its travels, but it lives now, in a place where people read by the pool, and enjoy their stories, and often pass them on. Hopefully, that helps to know. I enjoyed your read. Best, Amy
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  • Naomi
    February 27, 2017
    Disclosure: I received this for free through a Goodreads' giveaway.I usually don't like romances and similar types of books, however, I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed this one. It's a fun read, full of deeply flawed characters making poor decision after poor decision, but it's coupled with humor, which makes it okay. There were points in the story where the plot became so ridiculous it was almost annoying, but if you just roll your eyes and keep reading, it'll get better. I only Disclosure: I received this for free through a Goodreads' giveaway.I usually don't like romances and similar types of books, however, I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed this one. It's a fun read, full of deeply flawed characters making poor decision after poor decision, but it's coupled with humor, which makes it okay. There were points in the story where the plot became so ridiculous it was almost annoying, but if you just roll your eyes and keep reading, it'll get better. I only gave this 3 stars, because it's not one I'll read again, and it isn't my favorite in terms of writing style. However, I didn't want to give it less, as I did enjoy it.If you do enjoy romances, etc., then this will be a good read for you. If you want an easy vacation or beach read, then this is perfect. And even if you don't usually read this type of novel, then this one is still a good choice if you get the hankering to give it a try.
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  • Eva
    February 26, 2017
    I received this book from Goodreads. "The Arrangement" is about a married couple agreeing to have an "Open Marriage" for 6 months. I appreciated the fact that the scenes were not graphic and the point behind it all was not the physical part of the book but the psychological part. The characters are strong and it's basically about a town...and everyone is intertwined. Many characters and it felt like watching a series on tv...which it could very well become. The couple who had the "arrangement" I received this book from Goodreads. "The Arrangement" is about a married couple agreeing to have an "Open Marriage" for 6 months. I appreciated the fact that the scenes were not graphic and the point behind it all was not the physical part of the book but the psychological part. The characters are strong and it's basically about a town...and everyone is intertwined. Many characters and it felt like watching a series on tv...which it could very well become. The couple who had the "arrangement" were very human and likeable... Enjoyable read.
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  • Liz
    February 25, 2017
    This is a super good book. It deals with the real issue of the tedium/routine that seeps into marriages after awhile. There is a very real message here wrapped up in an exceptionally enjoyable read. It also has quite a bit of humor (the blessing of the animals, for example) and lots of really interesting characters (Wyatt and Izzy are two of my favorites). A well-done book that was lots of fun!
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  • Kristy
    February 21, 2017
    Lucy and Owen fled Brooklyn for the suburbs not long after their son, Wyatt, came along. In the perfect little town of Beekman, they have a beautiful old house, a yard full of chickens, and interact with a cast full of eclectic characters. Lucy also has her hands full with Wyatt, a challenging kid with autism. One evening, when some friends come over and the drinks flow freely, they mention their open marriage. At first, Lucy and Own are a bit shocked. But as the exhausted duo look around at the Lucy and Owen fled Brooklyn for the suburbs not long after their son, Wyatt, came along. In the perfect little town of Beekman, they have a beautiful old house, a yard full of chickens, and interact with a cast full of eclectic characters. Lucy also has her hands full with Wyatt, a challenging kid with autism. One evening, when some friends come over and the drinks flow freely, they mention their open marriage. At first, Lucy and Own are a bit shocked. But as the exhausted duo look around at their life, they begin to consider "the arrangement." Owen grabs a pad and a pen and they eke out some rules. It still seems like a joke, until Lucy says she wants to give the arrangement--a six-month experience where they each have an ongoing, no questions asked free pass in their marriage--a go. Surely nothing will go wrong, right? This novel is a different, oddly intriguing read, offering an extremely realistic portrayal of marriage and raising children. Warm and fuzzy it is not, yet it's still engaging and features relatable characters. Lucy and Owen's exhaustion is palatable, as is Lucy's frustration and love for Wyatt, who is an intelligent, fun, and extremely challenging special needs kid. (You will grow to love him, even as you completely empathize with why poor Lucy might need a break--one of the definite strengths of the book.) For a good early portion of the novel, I found myself thinking I would be reading a quite grim look at parenthood and marriage. And it is, in many ways. After all, why are Lucy and Owen so willing to embark on the arrangement, you wonder? Are they bored with their life, with each other? Are they simply tired parents? What causes them to choose this? As the arrangement begins, their reactions to its ongoing presence in their lives is surprising, and Dunn does a good job at capturing some nuance in their character that you might not expect. These are real married people, with real issues.Still, there are definitely some odd bits and pieces stuck into the story. It seems disjointed at times, and some of the characters and their stories seem to pop up at weird times, forcing you to remind yourself how they fit into Lucy and Owen's life and the town of Beekman (for we don't hear just from our main couple, but several others who live in town). The novel meanders at times, and I wouldn't call the ending closure, per se, though it falls in line with the realism of the novel.Where Dunn shines is her humor, which slips through even some of the darker moments. Moments with Wyatt are perfectly captured. Lucy's friend, Sunny Bang, is one of the best things about this book, and you'll love every second featuring her. There's a scene at the town church with many of the local kids (and their pets) that is solely worth purchasing the entire book. Seriously, Dunn writes with a sharp wit, and it's one of the main reasons my rating upped to 3.5 stars. The book is often smartly funny and feminist, even if it has its depressing, wandering moments. It's a fascinating look at marriage, for sure, and I was certainly intrigued to see how the arrangement would play out. It was also a welcome break from all the thrillers I'd been reading lately, so thanks! If you like sharp and witty characters coupled with a psychological inside look at modern-day marriage, you'll find this one quite compelling. 3.5 stars. I received a copy of this novel from the publisher and Netgalley (thank you) in return for an unbiased review. It is available everywhere as of 03/21/2017. Blog ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Google+
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  • Lianna
    February 17, 2017
    RATING: 3.5 stars Would have been 4 stars for sure if not for my own personal discomfort with the topic. However, the writing is wonderful and the novel super entertaining!
  • Jessica Howard
    February 11, 2017
    Super fun! Full review coming for Shelf Awareness.
  • Joyce
    February 2, 2017
    What a surprise. Started reading and thought that this is not a book for me. A really interesting read especially for those women who think their marriage is lacking "something". The characters all have issues and the reader gets to see them muddle through their issues to very surprising endings. Cleverly written, good character development, and very interesting stories within the novel.
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  • Lola Reviewer
    January 29, 2017
    Even though the idea of an open marriage – so being able to sleep with other people – pounded the alarm in my mind, I was quite curious to know how it would affect Lucy and Owen’s relationship.See, they’re a normal couple. There’s nothing unconventional about their relationship. Sure, it could be better, but it isn’t a bad one. It’s fine. Not great, but fine. They do, after all, love each other.But since they’ve heard from their friends that ‘‘the Arrangement’’ truly works, they (but mostly Lucy Even though the idea of an open marriage – so being able to sleep with other people – pounded the alarm in my mind, I was quite curious to know how it would affect Lucy and Owen’s relationship.See, they’re a normal couple. There’s nothing unconventional about their relationship. Sure, it could be better, but it isn’t a bad one. It’s fine. Not great, but fine. They do, after all, love each other.But since they’ve heard from their friends that ‘‘the Arrangement’’ truly works, they (but mostly Lucy) decide to give it a shot. Why not? It can’t hurt.Right? Well, yeah, of course it can hurt. This whole story is like a social experiment. How does an open marriage affect the marriage itself? I had a bad feeling from the start, which only intensified as the story progressed. I’m sure you’ll have it also. I liked how the author wanted to focus on other couples aside from Lucy and Owen. When you analyse those couples and compare them to Lucy and Owen, it does feel as if the latter were meant to be. As you know, the opposite of love is disinterest. That’s what Lucy and Owen feel: a sort of disinterest about one another. But they do keep admitting they love each other, and still, they go along with the Arrangement. Is there a difference between ‘‘loving’’ and ‘‘being in love’’?I was just fascinated the whole time. It made me sad to see so many couples having problems, because I do want to believe in true love as well as everlasting love, but that made it all the more realistic in a way.The narration is pretty bad, since we feel, as we’re reading the book, too much of the third person; too much like somebody else is telling the story. I, for one, have trouble losing myself in a story that keeps reminding me that it’s only a story being told by someone. The third person is not the problem; the narration style is.I dislike how this book is filled with cheating, and I’m not even talking about the Arrangement itself, which I wouldn’t consider cheating exactly. THE ARRANGEMENT very much feels like a first novel, so I don’t believe it will revolutionize anything, but it’s a page-turner if, like me, you really do wonder if an open marriage can work or not. Blog | Youtube | Twitter | Instagram | Google+ | Bloglovin’
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  • Jen
    January 29, 2017
    I received this ARC through NetGalley. This book surprised me. I didn't really know what to expect other than a lot of sex (that's not the reason I picked it up). There is actually very little sex and more about what it means to be human. The basic premise is that a couple decides to see if they can improve their marriage by making it an open one. Crazy, right? Well, it's an interesting read. Very funny, somewhat honest, and a little crazy. If you enjoy Liane Moriarty, you'd probably enjoy this I received this ARC through NetGalley. This book surprised me. I didn't really know what to expect other than a lot of sex (that's not the reason I picked it up). There is actually very little sex and more about what it means to be human. The basic premise is that a couple decides to see if they can improve their marriage by making it an open one. Crazy, right? Well, it's an interesting read. Very funny, somewhat honest, and a little crazy. If you enjoy Liane Moriarty, you'd probably enjoy this one.
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  • Mary Urban
    January 18, 2017
    Can a novel be hilarious and terrifying at the same time? The hilarity: Dunn's spot-on satire of motherhood, marriage, and suburban life. The chicken/church/Doberman scene is one of the funniest I've ever read. Maria Semple levels of the absurd. Wyatt was a delight.The terrifying: Dunn's spot-on observations about the tiny tragedies and sacrifices of modern family life and marriage. Owen and Lucy's relationship felt real, and how easily it kept crumbling and mashing back together felt (too) real Can a novel be hilarious and terrifying at the same time? The hilarity: Dunn's spot-on satire of motherhood, marriage, and suburban life. The chicken/church/Doberman scene is one of the funniest I've ever read. Maria Semple levels of the absurd. Wyatt was a delight.The terrifying: Dunn's spot-on observations about the tiny tragedies and sacrifices of modern family life and marriage. Owen and Lucy's relationship felt real, and how easily it kept crumbling and mashing back together felt (too) real too.
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  • Jamie Brenner
    January 11, 2017
    I loved, loved, loved this book! Smart, funny, and fun. Some of these scenes are just indelible. Lots of surprises.
  • Rachel Reeves
    November 30, 2016
    Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing a digital ARC in exchange for an honest review.I was so pleasantly surprised by this book. It's certainly not for every reader, as many will be immediately turned off by the plot, but the description of "hilarious and emotionally charged" caught me and made me want to check it out. The book definitely has both in spades. It is highly emotional, running the gamut, but it's also so very funny. The relationships that Lucy and Owen end up in are Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing a digital ARC in exchange for an honest review.I was so pleasantly surprised by this book. It's certainly not for every reader, as many will be immediately turned off by the plot, but the description of "hilarious and emotionally charged" caught me and made me want to check it out. The book definitely has both in spades. It is highly emotional, running the gamut, but it's also so very funny. The relationships that Lucy and Owen end up in are just so very them from what you learn of their personalities and all, and you can't help but laugh especially at Owen's storyline. Parents of children on the spectrum will also appreciate Lucy's struggles with their autistic son. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this one and hope even those who are initially turned off by the plot will give it a chance. I think readers will find they really like it if they leave any preconceived notions at the door. Also, the author is the creator of the new TV show American Housewife, which I have heard some good reviews for, so readership may found in the fans of that work of hers. I, too, think that most moms will find something that they will relate to in this book, as many of the smaller storylines made me think of pieces of my own life, the lives of mom friends, and the lives of people I roll my eyes at a bit as well, as many of the families in the community where Lucy and Owen live are the types who are a bit much. I give this one very high recommendations and really hope that others will give it a chance.
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  • Arja Salafranca
    November 20, 2016
    The Arrangement is a wise, warm, funny, intelligent novel about what happens when two people decide to open their marriage. The idea sounds sordid to many, and when Lucy and Owen are entertaining their friends from New York, their friends reveal that’s just what they have done. Lucy is appalled by the idea. But the thought doesn’t go away. Lucy and Owen are a happily married couple, together nine years, now ensconced the suburban enclave of Beekman. They have an autistic son, Wyatt, and Lucy sta The Arrangement is a wise, warm, funny, intelligent novel about what happens when two people decide to open their marriage. The idea sounds sordid to many, and when Lucy and Owen are entertaining their friends from New York, their friends reveal that’s just what they have done. Lucy is appalled by the idea. But the thought doesn’t go away. Lucy and Owen are a happily married couple, together nine years, now ensconced the suburban enclave of Beekman. They have an autistic son, Wyatt, and Lucy stays home to be with him. Surrounded by suburban conventions, opening their marriage is the last ting they’d be expected to do. And yet… they decide to open their marriage up for six months of experimentation: they will tell each other if they are seeing anyone else and will not discuss it. At the end of six months, that’s it, experiment closed. And this is what happens when two people step out of the traditional strictures of monogamy, and surprise, there’s nothing sordid at all in this delightful, charming read. Instead, Dunn throws a strong light on marriage and its shortfalls, in the process locating both its strengths and weaknesses through this charming story. The warmth of intimacy has its downsides, as Lucy ponders in this passage: “Marriage changes the kissing, Lucy found herself thinking later. Why is that? The kissing had almost stopped. And when it did happen, it felt different than it used to. It felt— well, weird wasn’t quite the right word, but it was the closest one Lucy could come up with. Kissing without all the fireworks that used to be there; it was a strange activity. Marriage doesn’t hurt the cuddling or even change the sex all that much, but it does do something very bad to kissing, Lucy thought. It does. And it’s a shame.”It’s a shame – and when they step out of that, something happens to both Lucy and Owen, changing them both. This delightful, fun and yet thought-provoking novel is also filled with a range of characters of those who also inhabit the suburbs, and add to the spice of this story. To reveal what happens would be a spoiler indeed – but Dunn weaves a story of possibilities while showing that marriage and commitment is something you have to work hard at, it doesn’t come with any guarantees. I loved reading of this couple’s adventures – Lucy and Owen are likeable and ordinary people, and the empathy felt towards them is one of the many strengths of this novel. Very highly recommended.
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  • Claudia
    October 28, 2016
    This book was a surprise, a very good one. The arrangement between a couple: Lucy and Owen, after a night with friends, decided to “embark” on an open marriage. They thought they could try for 6 months and just stop the arrangement, nothing could go wrong right? Well I won’t spoil, but a lot of things went wrong and the “experiment” was way more complicated. I would recommend this book to everybody, except, people that takes everything too seriously. This is fiction and there’s cheating and sex, This book was a surprise, a very good one. The arrangement between a couple: Lucy and Owen, after a night with friends, decided to “embark” on an open marriage. They thought they could try for 6 months and just stop the arrangement, nothing could go wrong right? Well I won’t spoil, but a lot of things went wrong and the “experiment” was way more complicated. I would recommend this book to everybody, except, people that takes everything too seriously. This is fiction and there’s cheating and sex, so if you don’t mind reading about a couple that made the wrong decision and then...well you’ll need to read it to find out.
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  • lp
    August 25, 2016
    TOO MUCH FUN TO READ! One Q: What would Dan Savage have to say about why this "arrangement" (view spoiler)[didn't work out? (hide spoiler)]
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