A visit to my local library found me staring at this book thinking it looked like "fun". So I was wrong about that. Instead, it was a somewhat painful look at a woman's choice to live an open marriage for a year in order to explore her sexuality after her husband gets a vasectomy, thus firmly shutting the door on having a child at 44. Robin's husband agrees that they can have an open marriage for a year. Robin rents an apartment during the week, meeting men through a dating site and having a three date limit (with sex) for each man. Weekends she spent with her husband at home. A few ground rules: no one who was in their circle of friends, use protection, and no discussion at home about who each of them were sleeping with during the week.
Robin and her husband had been together for 17 years and were still very much in love, but as anyone knows, any relationship has bumps in the road. Robin felt that since she was not going to have a child (and she only wanted one with her husband, and not any other way) and had a total of 4 lovers in her life, that she needed to live a bit more wildly in order to have some satisfaction in her life. Most of us take up a hobby, but not Robin. And in doing this one year experiment, she took a chance that her marriage wouldn't survive it, that she wouldn't be satisfied, and come out the other side still unhappy and feeling empty. Can a year of new lovers and new sexual experiences take the place of having a child?
My thoughts while reading this memoir were pretty clear: it was hard to connect with Robin's choice and her sex-capades. I would sooner get a divorce than spend a year sleeping with other men (and women), all the while knowing my husband was also sleeping with other women. The pain of doing that to someone I loved would preclude any feelings I may have of wanting to connect with myself as a woman--and as a powerful, confident woman at that. Owning up to a marriage that wasn't working any longer; a marriage that I had outgrown--no matter how painful that would have been to admit, the pain would have been less destructive that canoodling with others while still married. It just doesn't seem very respectful to the other person in the marriage.
Some women may read Rinaldi's memoir and find it empowering, and I have nothing against that; after all, we must all find our own path to enlightenment and happiness. It's always interesting to read non-fiction that presents a view of a situation that is different than my own; this is how I can see other sides of complex issues. I guess I'm someone who doesn't believe quantity of lovers is necessary; it's the quality of lovers that matter. Monogamy is such a hot button issue nowadays; for some like me, it's a non-issue. To each her own, but I'll stick with one man, and a loving, caring relationship that isn't perfect, but suits me just fine.
Rating: 5/10 for a memoir that explores a woman's year of lovers and the surprising results. There are frank sexual scenes and discussions, so if you're not comfortable with that, you've been warned! Not a book to my taste, but you may find it a perfect summer read.
Available in hardcover and ebook