"Hygge can be as simple as a cup of tea and a good book. Basically, hygge is a way to lean into shorter, colder days by enjoying being indoors. If you’re wrapped up in a blanket with a cup of tea and some candles burning, whatever you’re reading may be considered a hygge book." -bookriot.com
I've finally joined an online book club, and I hope you'll join, too!
It's the Peanut Blossom Book Club for Recovering Readers. Homeschooling moms, you'll probably understand the title. There was so much more time for reading when we were single and childless.
It's like some of us gave up reading for motherhood the way others give things up for Lent. I never did, reading greedily late at night, so what I gave up, instead, was sleep.
In the book club, Tiffany urges us to recover our love of reading, but this time with a tribe of moms reading right along with us.
The next discussion is tomorrow. You can read our book by tomorrow, right? And the book is The Arrangement. You in?
You can purchase the book using my Amazon affiliate link, by clicking on the book cover picture. Below, I'll share my thoughts about the book, which may have spoilers, so don't scroll unless you're ready. :)
"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." ~ book description
(below) and see if you agree with me...
"If this is my biggest problem..."
This section's title is a quote from one of the book's characters and it explains her reaction to finding out that her husband is transgender. It's a motto she has lived by, apparently, and it stands her in good stead when she turns around and sees her husband dressed to the nines and wearing fake eyelashes.
But the main character is Lucy, the one who is part of the couple deciding to go ahead with "the arrangement."
Early in reading the book, I thought that she must be missing excitement, and wanting to add that back. Or wanting to find something to offset the motherhood stresses in her life.
The book confirms it soon afterward, when she says that her life is good in many ways but it isn't "juicy," and that's what she wants. Later in the book, she also realizes that part of the draw for this arrangement she is now living out, is that she misses the self she used to be when she was younger.
And she's beginning to step back into that version of herself, and she likes feeling more like herself again. When did she change, she wonders.
"One of the results of turning yourself invisible was that the moment somebody actually paid attention to you, the minute somebody actually looked into your eyes for 3 seconds too long ... you thought you were in love. It was like she had turned her dimmer switch way down, and now it was up, and she was herself again for the first time in a very long time."
Have you ever felt invisible?
I agree that that kind of attention can be intoxicating when you haven't had it. What can couples do to continue to give each other that kind of attention, I wonder.
And can we meet that need, in any way, with friendships? What do you think?
"Growing up meant saying 'no' to some things."
I think this is where I land with the arrangement idea. Just say no! What about you?
Do you think it was a mistake for them to make the deal they made? Some people might say that since they both agreed to it, it should have been alright to go through with it.
But I think maybe they had a kind of innocence that protected them from knowing what a mess they were about to create. They learned from experience, but I do wonder why they didn't anticipate from the very beginning that they were going to regret it.
My Answers to the Book Guide Questions
(1) They came up with rules that were designed to protect them from the mess that ensued. But where they went wrong was believing that the rules would keep them in check, believing that they could control their feelings once they got involved.
(2) I don't believe that the setting, that is, where they lived, made much difference. They were playing a fool's game, no matter where they were. But I understand where they were coming from, and it's easy to criticize when you're not in that situation.
(3) I don't really understand either of Owen's choices of partner. To be honest, I'm not sure it matches who I understood him to be. Except for the confusion.
(4) I love Arlen's philosophy - "if this is my biggest problem..." - but I didn't really compare her relationship with her husband to Owen's relationship with Lucy.
(5) I wasn't sure, either, whether or not Izzy was telling the truth. I was glad she was, but I had a little doubt at first, too.
(6) Once again, I don't understand Owen. How could he not know that something was happening? It was Lucy's idea, after all! I think he must have been in denial.
(7) I think you can't make generalizations about gender. But based on these characters, I get the impression that the author believes that women can't do casual relationships.
One last comment: this book was funny!! And not only did I laugh out loud a lot, I couldn't put it down.
Let me know in the comments what your thoughts are about the book.
And I'll see you for another fun discussion next month!
Hi, I'm Jeanine