Hot Best Seller

Open: An Uncensored Memoir of Love, Liberation, and Non-Monogamy

Availability: Ready to download

An award-winning journalist delves into the growing trend toward relationships--including her own--that push love beyond the familiar borders of monogamy. When Rachel Krantz met and fell for Adam, he told her that he was looking for a committed partnership--just one that did not include exclusivity. Excited and a little trepidatious, Rachel set out to see whether love and a An award-winning journalist delves into the growing trend toward relationships--including her own--that push love beyond the familiar borders of monogamy. When Rachel Krantz met and fell for Adam, he told her that he was looking for a committed partnership--just one that did not include exclusivity. Excited and a little trepidatious, Rachel set out to see whether love and a serious partnership with Adam could coexist alongside the freedom to explore relationships with other people. Their relationship was designed to strike an exquisite balance between intimacy and independence, calibrated to fan desire for the long haul. Armed with her instincts from her career as a journalist, Rachel not only put her own heart on the line, she also kept detailed journals, interviewed experts and therapists, immersed herself in the polyamory community, and relentlessly interrogated her own emotions. Now, in her debut memoir, she chronicles her dive into non-monogamy--from debilitating anxiety spirals to heart-opening connections with the men and women she dates--with an unflinching eye, fly-on-the-wall detail, and extraordinary perceptiveness. Through page-turning storytelling, she takes us inside the Brooklyn parties where Rachel first dips her toes in the water of non-monogamy; into the wider swinger and polyamory community where they search for a relationship style that suits them; and into her private moments with Adam and their other lovers. As she and Adam attempt to write a new plot for their love story, she also runs up against miscommunications, ancient power dynamics, and seeming betrayals that threaten the foundation of their love. Rachel breaks new ground in confronting the unique ways coercion and gaslighting manifest in open relationships, and finds herself wondering what liberation really looks like. Casting new light on universal experiences like jealousy, restlessness, and love, Open explores the seemingly endless range of relationships couples have created to answer their desires, and ultimately probes the questions: Can we have both freedom and love? How can we reconcile comfort and lust? Is a relationship ever equal? And is the pleasure worth the pain?


Compare

An award-winning journalist delves into the growing trend toward relationships--including her own--that push love beyond the familiar borders of monogamy. When Rachel Krantz met and fell for Adam, he told her that he was looking for a committed partnership--just one that did not include exclusivity. Excited and a little trepidatious, Rachel set out to see whether love and a An award-winning journalist delves into the growing trend toward relationships--including her own--that push love beyond the familiar borders of monogamy. When Rachel Krantz met and fell for Adam, he told her that he was looking for a committed partnership--just one that did not include exclusivity. Excited and a little trepidatious, Rachel set out to see whether love and a serious partnership with Adam could coexist alongside the freedom to explore relationships with other people. Their relationship was designed to strike an exquisite balance between intimacy and independence, calibrated to fan desire for the long haul. Armed with her instincts from her career as a journalist, Rachel not only put her own heart on the line, she also kept detailed journals, interviewed experts and therapists, immersed herself in the polyamory community, and relentlessly interrogated her own emotions. Now, in her debut memoir, she chronicles her dive into non-monogamy--from debilitating anxiety spirals to heart-opening connections with the men and women she dates--with an unflinching eye, fly-on-the-wall detail, and extraordinary perceptiveness. Through page-turning storytelling, she takes us inside the Brooklyn parties where Rachel first dips her toes in the water of non-monogamy; into the wider swinger and polyamory community where they search for a relationship style that suits them; and into her private moments with Adam and their other lovers. As she and Adam attempt to write a new plot for their love story, she also runs up against miscommunications, ancient power dynamics, and seeming betrayals that threaten the foundation of their love. Rachel breaks new ground in confronting the unique ways coercion and gaslighting manifest in open relationships, and finds herself wondering what liberation really looks like. Casting new light on universal experiences like jealousy, restlessness, and love, Open explores the seemingly endless range of relationships couples have created to answer their desires, and ultimately probes the questions: Can we have both freedom and love? How can we reconcile comfort and lust? Is a relationship ever equal? And is the pleasure worth the pain?

30 review for Open: An Uncensored Memoir of Love, Liberation, and Non-Monogamy

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jessica Woodbury

    I have not given this book a star rating because I have no idea how to rate it. It is a unique memoir, taking an unusual approach, and there was a lot about that approach that I liked or at least found interesting. Krantz is engaging and I probably could have read it in a single sitting if I'd had the time. But there is one major issue: this is not a book about nonmonogamy. Krantz thinks it is, and certainly the title and all the publicity around it say it is, but it absolutely is not. Nonmonoga I have not given this book a star rating because I have no idea how to rate it. It is a unique memoir, taking an unusual approach, and there was a lot about that approach that I liked or at least found interesting. Krantz is engaging and I probably could have read it in a single sitting if I'd had the time. But there is one major issue: this is not a book about nonmonogamy. Krantz thinks it is, and certainly the title and all the publicity around it say it is, but it absolutely is not. Nonmonogamy happens in this book, but it's not a book I would give people to learn about nonmonogamy or one I'd recommend for nonmonogamous people who want to see more representation of themselves. And that puts my review in a weird spot. This book is something but it sure isn't selling what it says you're buying. I have been thinking about how to review this book for a long time. It's difficult because to really get into the meat of my review involves making bare the whole structure of the book, which (despite the fact that this is a memoir) feels like I am giving spoilers? It's weird. But I'm going to do my best to review in such a way that I keep it to a minimum. If you follow my reviews you'll know that I primarily find one repeating critique in memoir, especially memoir written by relatively young writers: there is not enough distance between the person and the events for them to understand what the story is. This can create this very weird dynamic where as a reader, you realize that you are seeing more clearly than the memoirist. It creates a distrust and a disconnect and it's never a great experience for me. It has taken me several years to really process and understand the kind of tumult and reframing in my own life that Krantz goes through in this book, but she is turning around and sharing it with us almost right away. And, as is often the case, she kind of has it all wrong. The story Krantz says she's telling, a story of "love, liberation, and non-monogamy" starts at the end. Everything that's come before is just how she got there, and I certainly wouldn't call those events liberating. So if this isn't a book about nonmonogamy, what is it about? It is about one relationship. In that relationship, "Adam" explains that he does not want to be monogamous. And, as a good internet writer in the age of the women-tell-all internet, Krantz decides that she is going to write about this. To do so, she keeps a detailed diary and often records conversations to make sure she is as accurate as possible. For the first half of the book we follow Rachel and Adam through many ups and downs as they try to make their relationship work in this nontraditional way. The second half of the book shifts and starts to consider their relationship from more of an analytical one, bringing in therapists and experts. (There is one argument portrayed in great detail with therapist commentary that, I have to say, was truly fascinating to read. I think for a lot of people who have struggled with the particular issues involved, it will be either too horrifying to get through or very validating. Imagine having a difficult argument transcribed and then analyzed by mental health experts!) But the main issue here is not non-monogamy. This is Adam's line, and much of what Krantz writes about, that Rachel is struggling with it. But Adam cannot fool me. I have been nonmonogamous for several years. I have seen people practice it in a wide variety of forms, and I have seen people use it for positive and negative ends. And this is where we start getting into potentially spoilery territory. Because, to me, even within the first chapter the red flags were piling up and they never stopped. I even started texting one of my partners because I felt like I was losing my mind a little bit because so many things sounded absolutely bananas but on the page were treated as perfectly reasonable. (My partner, happily, confirmed that it was all absolutely bananas.) This relationship does not have a non-monogamy problem. And Rachel never really gets a chance to decide what she wants from non-monogamy, or make choices about how she wants to practice it. This relationship has a whole pile of other problems, but non-monogamy makes a convenient scapegoat to a particular kind of partner who insists that everything would be fine if you could just get past your own issues. It's also worth noting that as non-monogamy goes, their version of it is pretty weird! Some of it goes back to the red flag stuff, some of it is because Krantz is an internet writer and so can use that to get into "fun" things to write about like sex parties and swingers clubs, and I guess some of it is supposed to be presented to us as research. Swinging is where they end up much of the time, which is pretty uncommon for a millennial (it's more common with boomers), but also there are lots of homophobic and transphobic issues that come up in swinging that were really unpleasant, and surprising given Krantz's longing to build more of a queer community for herself. If I hadn't had this big overwhelming problem with the book I would spend more time nitpicking Krantz's approach. Sometimes her involvement of therapists and experts is really useful and insightful, and other times it's distracting. Sometimes her explaining can get overexplaining (a footnote to explain they/them pronouns, for example). But I did like knowing that these conversations and events were being recorded as faithfully as possible thanks to her complete dedication. This book made me really sad. I never felt like Krantz brought me over to her side, her way of seeing things. We only grew further and further apart. (view spoiler)[At the end of the book she notes that some of her readers have really hated Adam and that this makes her so sad because he is a good person who was doing his best and OH BOY DID I HATE THAT. Adam is awful. The content warnings I list below are basically all about him. He is a bad person, I never saw any redeeming qualities in this whole book, and this book is written by someone who still loves him and believes he is a good person. This only confirmed to me that Krantz has written about something she's not ready to write about. That her lingering affection towards Adam keeps her from being honest. And, since I have the spoiler tag on, the way she writes as if the relationship is great and Adam is the one for the first half of the book is honestly very very messed up. Phew. I needed to get that off my chest. (hide spoiler)] Content warnings for sexual assault on the page in detail, emotional and physical abuse. There is a lot of writing about sex here, including BDSM, I didn't find it particularly racy but I also have a very high bar for such things. Most readers will probably find it to be much more than they're used to. As mentioned there is also queerphobia and transphobia (lots and lots of gender as genitals). I would not recommend this book for readers who have been in a physically or emotionally abusive relationship unless they are fully aware and ready going in.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    The unconventional polyamorous lifestyle has always invited a high level of curiosity, pre-conceived notions, and speculation. In some states and communities, a person involved in multiple relationships can be dismissed from their job for immoral conduct. Rachel Krantz explores the subject matter of non-monogamy in her intriguing confessional debut: “Open: An Uncensored Memoir of Love, Liberation, and Non-Monogamy” (2022). Rachel Krantz studied at NYU, as a multi-award-winning journalist/editor, The unconventional polyamorous lifestyle has always invited a high level of curiosity, pre-conceived notions, and speculation. In some states and communities, a person involved in multiple relationships can be dismissed from their job for immoral conduct. Rachel Krantz explores the subject matter of non-monogamy in her intriguing confessional debut: “Open: An Uncensored Memoir of Love, Liberation, and Non-Monogamy” (2022). Rachel Krantz studied at NYU, as a multi-award-winning journalist/editor, her work has been featured on several popular programs and notable publications. As Rachel was exiting a relationship with Dan, she quickly met another man. "Adam", a serious intellectual, was a graduate level educator, had authored two novels and articles on psychological studies. On their second date, he administered the Briggs-Meyer Personality Test that verified their compatibility as a couple. Rachel was very impressed with Adam’s meticulous Brooklyn apartment and how he lavished her with his undivided attention. When she lost the lease on her own apartment, he casually suggested that she move in. From the start, this wasn’t a relationship of equals, as Adam assumed a parental like role of mentor/teacher, introducing a new lifestyle of complete freedom and non-monogamy. Attending and participating in sex clubs, swinger parties and gatherings including exclusive nudist resorts with like-minded couples and individuals was pretty exciting for Rachel. Eventually such events were compensated by a variety of sponsors as Rachel developed her writing/reporting skills and social following. Rachel interviewed psychological experts and therapists and reported the findings in her articles, and included informative interviews, research notes and studies, etc. following each chapter in the book-- adding credibility and value to her storyline. It was unclear how writing about her personal life with Adam may have affected the dynamics of their relationship as it was probed, analyzed, and subjected to a steady stream of comments by those following Rachel’s reportage. It seemed like the most successful happiest non-monogamist couples had been married for years and kept their “play time” within the boundaries of social clubs/resorts. At times, Rachel felt jealous and insecure when Adam pursued other women. Overall, the couple’s numerous revolving outside relationships seemed superficial, lacking in a true emotional connection and/or staying power-- which wasn’t surprising. “...And She Lived Openly Ever After” Is the title of the last chapter in the book, and as an Influencer, Rachel’s story continues and much of it remains to be seen. This memoir is a significant step in a literary direction and opportunity for her. **With thanks to Harmony Books via NetGalley for the DDC for the purpose of review.

  3. 5 out of 5

    *TUDOR^QUEEN* (on hiatus)

    3.5 Stars As a biography and reality show lover, I thought I would be intrigued by this memoir of a young woman exploring the boundaries of a non-monogamous existence. As a voyeur, I was interested in the sections depicting her actual experiences, but tuned out (for the most part) the psycho-babble references that padded the end of each chapter. I also grew weary of the psycho-babble some of the parties would say to each other, discussing their non-monogamous lifestyles, rationalizing them. I do 3.5 Stars As a biography and reality show lover, I thought I would be intrigued by this memoir of a young woman exploring the boundaries of a non-monogamous existence. As a voyeur, I was interested in the sections depicting her actual experiences, but tuned out (for the most part) the psycho-babble references that padded the end of each chapter. I also grew weary of the psycho-babble some of the parties would say to each other, discussing their non-monogamous lifestyles, rationalizing them. I do find reading about people with lifestyles very different from mine interesting, which is why I also enjoy reality TV. However, while at first I was riveted by some of Rachel's experiences with her live-in boyfriend Adam such as participating in swingers parties and nudist getaways, it ultimately turned me off and depressed me as the story crawled to an end. Different strokes for different folks, I say! Thank you to the publisher Rodale, Inc. / Harmony for providing an advance reader copy via NetGalley.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jess Owens

    DNF @ 18% I really gotta learn to read the synopsis 😂 I wanted a book more about non monogamy and polyamory and this is obviously a memoir but it focuses on one relationship she had and what they went through. The guys name is Adam and from the start he gave me 🚩. From reading some reviews I know she only speaks on this relationship and their adventures with non monogamy and everything else and then therapy and this seems rude but I’m not interested in that. Also was listening to the audio and her DNF @ 18% I really gotta learn to read the synopsis 😂 I wanted a book more about non monogamy and polyamory and this is obviously a memoir but it focuses on one relationship she had and what they went through. The guys name is Adam and from the start he gave me 🚩. From reading some reviews I know she only speaks on this relationship and their adventures with non monogamy and everything else and then therapy and this seems rude but I’m not interested in that. Also was listening to the audio and her voice (the author) was grating to me 😵‍💫 anyway, not for meeee!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Erik

    Rachel Krantz' memoir Open is a reflection on the complexities, nuances, and conflicts inherent in romantic relationships - whether with one or with many. Rachel embarked on her study of non-monogamy through a happenstance date with Adam. Adam, a scholar of love and desire, was forward about his non-monogamy and Rachel, a feminist interested in exploring her own sexuality, decides she's willing to give it a try. From this first date, springs a deeply passionate and intense relationship between Ra Rachel Krantz' memoir Open is a reflection on the complexities, nuances, and conflicts inherent in romantic relationships - whether with one or with many. Rachel embarked on her study of non-monogamy through a happenstance date with Adam. Adam, a scholar of love and desire, was forward about his non-monogamy and Rachel, a feminist interested in exploring her own sexuality, decides she's willing to give it a try. From this first date, springs a deeply passionate and intense relationship between Rachel and Adam, Rachel and Miranda, Rachel and Liam, Adam/Rachel and Leah, etc. Each of these characters serves as a point of reference for Rachel as she considers the dangers in her own relationship and the beauty in others. I came to Open expecting a lecture on the ethical and moral problems of monogamy and on moving beyond it, but what I encountered was a beautifully written and nuanced story that challenges any sort of relationship dogma that would try to instill itself as superior. Rachel has an ability to be both emotionally vulnerable and intellectually deep in a way that makes her writing insightful, interesting, and unexpected. Though at times the book gets a little too "woo woo" new age for me (and Rachel tends to over police her language a bit too much), the general premise is significant: relationships, be they monogamous or not, are built on trust, honesty, understanding, and so much more, and those things make our romantic lives beautiful and worth pursuing.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    I’m not sure what I expected going into Rachel Krantz’ memoir. I suppose I expected the story of a poly relationship that worked, almost like a sales pitch for a no monogamous lifestyle. Instead what I got was a complex exploration of Krantz’ first non monogamous partnership interwoven with a sociological and psychological exploration of her self and her lifestyle. It was fantastic. Four and a half stars.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Barbara (The Bibliophage)

    Originally published on my book blog, TheBibliophage.com. 3.5 stars rounded up The upcoming memoir from Rachel Krantz, Open: An Uncensored Memoir of Love, Liberation, and Non-Monogamy is raw and sometimes raunchy. It’s also a tale about control and gaslighting in relationships. As the memoir opens, Krantz is a twenty-something writer who doesn’t think like a monogamous woman. Her journey into the world of alternate sexual options is eye-opening and vulnerable. Krantz tells her story through several Originally published on my book blog, TheBibliophage.com. 3.5 stars rounded up The upcoming memoir from Rachel Krantz, Open: An Uncensored Memoir of Love, Liberation, and Non-Monogamy is raw and sometimes raunchy. It’s also a tale about control and gaslighting in relationships. As the memoir opens, Krantz is a twenty-something writer who doesn’t think like a monogamous woman. Her journey into the world of alternate sexual options is eye-opening and vulnerable. Krantz tells her story through several means. Sometimes she shares diary entries or transcripts of recorded conversations. Other times, she tells stories of events she experienced. Throughout it all, she intersperses research, both primary and secondary, into the mindset of various types of relationships. Her perspective is that monogamy is a patriarchal construct, subtly designed to hold women down. Ironically, the first intentionally non-monogamous relationship she enters is with Adam, a man who is both controlling and patriarchal. She actually calls him “Daddy” on occasion and he calls her “my little girl.” Still, the most compelling part of her memoir is the meandering journey she takes while determining if he’s the right man for her. She lives under Adam’s thumb for quite some time. At first, he seems caring and nurturing. But the more time she spends with him, the more she removes other friends from her life. At the same time, she struggles to live up to his “expectations.” The nature of an open, non-monogamous relationship complicates his antithetical need for control. Meanwhile, Krantz struggles with jealousy and feelings of inadequacy. Adam doesn’t do anything to make her feel more secure. And as her research and writing work offers Krantz the opportunity to see other non-monogamous relationships in action, she realizes Adam regularly gaslights her. This concept is new to her, so she explains it in detail here, which is helpful. My conclusions Yes, this memoir has plenty of openly sexual writing, description, and dialogue. But it serves an important end beyond any sense of titillation. Polyamorous or non-monogamous relationships deserve a legitimate exploration. And Krantz shares both her personal experience and her subjective research. Together these aspects blend into a compulsively readable memoir. I believe that Krantz genuinely desires a mentally and emotionally healthy life while also being non-monogamous. However, achieving that is considerably more complicated than she expected. This is the crux of what makes Open a complex memoir. Krantz draws us in early to her process. We watch her understand non-monogamy, explore a potentially long-term relationship, and mature into a fully functioning adult. Each piece of this experience needs the other to be completely realized. I picked this up because of how polyamory figures in a few of my favorite fictional series. I also know two couples who’ve explored the boundaries of non-monogamy, with varying degrees of success. Krantz delivered what I hoped for: a realistic, nonfiction exposition of the lifestyle with advantages and disadvantages. If you’re curious about the non-monogamous lifestyle, this is a valuable tool for understanding its ups and downs. Krantz is honest, self-effacing, and ultimately presents important explorations. Pair with Down Girl: The Logic of Misogyny by Kate Manne, because it explains patriarchy like nothing else. Alternately, try Living an Orgasmic Life: Heal Yourself and Awaken Your Pleasure by Xanet Pailet because it also focuses on sexual empowerment. Acknowledgments Many thanks to NetGalley, Rodale Inc. / Harmony, and the author for a digital advanced reader’s copy in exchange for this honest review. The anticipated publication date is January 25, 2022.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Yules

    We need more books about polyam relationships! This memoir forces readers to confront their conflicting desires about love and monogamy. Do you want a fairytale prince to come and whisk you away from everyone else? What do you intend on doing with him in your castle alone for the rest of your days? Why do so many people lie and cheat when they could just be honest about their desires with their partners? Monogamous relationships (and the adultery that they make possible) have always been amply re We need more books about polyam relationships! This memoir forces readers to confront their conflicting desires about love and monogamy. Do you want a fairytale prince to come and whisk you away from everyone else? What do you intend on doing with him in your castle alone for the rest of your days? Why do so many people lie and cheat when they could just be honest about their desires with their partners? Monogamous relationships (and the adultery that they make possible) have always been amply represented. Anna Karenina had to throw herself under a train for cheating. The Princesse de Cleves had to join a nunnery just for falling in love with a man who wasn't her husband. Even Zeus couldn't sleep around without the vengeful antics of his jealous wife. I think it's high time we also began to tell stories about relationships in which non-monogamous feelings and behaviors are part of the relational form. Krantz explores ethical non-monogamy in all of its complexity. Her story is not a fairy tale and she does dive into the dark sides of these types of relationships. They can produce romantic conflict that's confusing, exhilarating, devastating, but the point is that it is all part of a legitimate relationship structure. Full disclosure: Krantz is my friend and I've watched her navigate many of the situations she presents here. I'm so proud of her for coming out publically and writing this beautiful, brave, and important book.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Lavender Leigh

    I felt like it was an extremely difficult read, but as a life-long polya kinkster I feel it's worth it. you truly go on the journey of learning the hard lessons in kink, polyamory, life, and love in this book. it's a super raw cut memoir about the extremely fucked up way she entered the world of polyamory/nonmonogamy, and kink. It's about being gaslit by someone that you still feel fondly towards, manipulated by someone who you make excuses for. reading it felt like slowly falling off a cliff. i I felt like it was an extremely difficult read, but as a life-long polya kinkster I feel it's worth it. you truly go on the journey of learning the hard lessons in kink, polyamory, life, and love in this book. it's a super raw cut memoir about the extremely fucked up way she entered the world of polyamory/nonmonogamy, and kink. It's about being gaslit by someone that you still feel fondly towards, manipulated by someone who you make excuses for. reading it felt like slowly falling off a cliff. it was long and brutal and I probably shouldn't have read it all in one straight shot but we're here now. it did have a redeeming second half (though it didn't have the one I wanted). in it she accurately brings the reader through the IMMENSE amount of personal growth and education into nonmonogamy and self that she gathered and I thought that was well done. it's not trying to glamourize polyamory or be a textbook, though it does point to textbooks frequently in its footnotes and references. it was raw and real and idk it did manage to impress me overall. also she talks about enjoying daddy kink stuff but she doesn't feel the need to defend or over explain herself about that and I respect that.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Ericka Seidemann

    Having been happily married, monogamously, for 20+ years, I was intrigued by this memoir because the concept of “the lifestyle” is so antithetical to my desires. I’m certainly not prudish – to each their own – but I know I could never overcome my jealousy of knowing my partner was with another person romantically. How is it possible to be liberal enough, even aloof enough, to be secure in an open relationship? At the risk of sounding contradictory, I appreciated her use of external sources to sup Having been happily married, monogamously, for 20+ years, I was intrigued by this memoir because the concept of “the lifestyle” is so antithetical to my desires. I’m certainly not prudish – to each their own – but I know I could never overcome my jealousy of knowing my partner was with another person romantically. How is it possible to be liberal enough, even aloof enough, to be secure in an open relationship? At the risk of sounding contradictory, I appreciated her use of external sources to support her rationalizations, but simultaneously found the psychology at times over the top. Rachel was a broken person while she was with Adam. It was often painful to read. Rachel’s words often became self-indulgent, losing focus with glib psychoanalysis, but then she would come back to center and introduce the reader to a new idea. I found myself more than once staring wide-eyed at her words thinking, “That’s exactly how I felt with [gaslighting crazy ex] . . .” Rachel Krantz is aware of how her situation with Adam is not universally applicable. At times salacious, at times brutal, this memoir strikes at the heart of the human condition, the craving for security and desire to be cherished. People fulfill that need in different ways, and Rachel pretty much explores them all. It all boils down to self-esteem, empowerment, and self-awareness. It’s not really about sex at all. Rachel’s book is brave and candid, and she trusts her reader. I’m grateful she shared her story with me. Many thanks to Netgalley and Harmony for this advance copy.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Rachel Krantz

    I think I did the best/most earnest job I could, and I'm proud of myself. I think I did the best/most earnest job I could, and I'm proud of myself.

  12. 4 out of 5

    debbicat *made of stardust*

    full review to follow I’m so sorry. I never reviewed this. It was great and I’m glad to have read it. More coming.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Tiara Dee

    Thanks to Netgalley and Crown Publishing for this e-arc. I don't even know where to start. This book was simply brilliant! What I think this book does that no other poly book does is bring down non monogamy through the lens of power dynamics specifically focusing on race, gender, and kink. Rachel Krantz lays herself bare for us to see her and follow along on her journey. We are there for each messy, unpredictable step and though its hard to read sometimes (trigger warnings for gaslight and relatio Thanks to Netgalley and Crown Publishing for this e-arc. I don't even know where to start. This book was simply brilliant! What I think this book does that no other poly book does is bring down non monogamy through the lens of power dynamics specifically focusing on race, gender, and kink. Rachel Krantz lays herself bare for us to see her and follow along on her journey. We are there for each messy, unpredictable step and though its hard to read sometimes (trigger warnings for gaslight and relationship abuse) it is also brutally honest in a way that makes this book so engaging to read. I am delighted that this book can be added as a resource for those practicing nonmonogamy and polyamory and I am really excited to see the reception and conversations that come out about this book.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Cat

    Rachel Krantz offers a no-holds-barred view into the life of an open relationship. She and her boyfriend have agreed to see others, they attend parties for this purpose, and participate in travels with like-minded people. This isn’t written for you to judge, it’s written to give a glimpse into a world most of us don't understand. I still don’t understand it myself, but I appreciate Rachel’s openness and honesty. At times I feel a bit sorry or lonely for her, but again, I think that’s me struggli Rachel Krantz offers a no-holds-barred view into the life of an open relationship. She and her boyfriend have agreed to see others, they attend parties for this purpose, and participate in travels with like-minded people. This isn’t written for you to judge, it’s written to give a glimpse into a world most of us don't understand. I still don’t understand it myself, but I appreciate Rachel’s openness and honesty. At times I feel a bit sorry or lonely for her, but again, I think that’s me struggling to understand something that’s different. The writing style is blunt and clear, the stories are interesting, and her ability to share this private side of her life is captivating. Sincere thanks to Rodale Inc. Harmony for an ARC in exchange for my honest review. The publishing date is January 25, 2022.

  15. 5 out of 5

    CaseyTheCanadianLesbrarian

    Hmm, the audiobook narration (by the author) is not particularly well done -- I'm confused about where the paragraph / sentence / section breaks are. I'm also wary now after reading Jessica Woodbury's review. I know the feeling of reading a memoir where you feel like you see the situation more clearly than the memoirist because they're too close to it still. That's one of the critiques Jessica writes about. (And Now We Have Everything: On Motherhood Before I Was Ready by Meaghan O'Connell comes Hmm, the audiobook narration (by the author) is not particularly well done -- I'm confused about where the paragraph / sentence / section breaks are. I'm also wary now after reading Jessica Woodbury's review. I know the feeling of reading a memoir where you feel like you see the situation more clearly than the memoirist because they're too close to it still. That's one of the critiques Jessica writes about. (And Now We Have Everything: On Motherhood Before I Was Ready by Meaghan O'Connell comes to mind -- for most of the book I wanted to scream "you have postpartum depression!! Get some help and stop analyzing everything as if there is some other explanation!!".Then she remarks at the very end that she had PPD. Argh!) I don't want to have the same experience with this book. I think I'm gonna pass.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Golda LoBello

    Recently finished this memoir and ohhhhh my oh my, I was borderline nail biting to get through it. I wanted Rachel to find what she was seeking so badly. And I really enjoyed the footnotes. I know that sounds weird to say, but I haven’t enjoyed footnotes this much since reading Stiff. I love a good memoir, especially about a complex topic, and non-monogamy can be complex, especially in this scenario. Remember all—many relationships end happily, and many end unhappily, no matter the structure. I Recently finished this memoir and ohhhhh my oh my, I was borderline nail biting to get through it. I wanted Rachel to find what she was seeking so badly. And I really enjoyed the footnotes. I know that sounds weird to say, but I haven’t enjoyed footnotes this much since reading Stiff. I love a good memoir, especially about a complex topic, and non-monogamy can be complex, especially in this scenario. Remember all—many relationships end happily, and many end unhappily, no matter the structure. I appreciate Krantz’s open and transparent approach to the topic, and laying herself bare to explore it openly (see what I did there?). Definitely recommend (for adult audiences—there’s a TW in the forward for goodness sakes).

  17. 5 out of 5

    Lizz

    My first non-fiction book of the new year! This review will be short (with more coming!). It's been a day but I'm still proccessing the novel. I read it non-stop since I picked it up on Monday. Multiple pages are bookmarked and my inital thoughts are scribbled all over the back page. I chased my roommates around our small college house, regailing them in passages I thought were expecially relevant to them. The book is approachable, inclusive, and beautiful. The proccess of reading it is sitting d My first non-fiction book of the new year! This review will be short (with more coming!). It's been a day but I'm still proccessing the novel. I read it non-stop since I picked it up on Monday. Multiple pages are bookmarked and my inital thoughts are scribbled all over the back page. I chased my roommates around our small college house, regailing them in passages I thought were expecially relevant to them. The book is approachable, inclusive, and beautiful. The proccess of reading it is sitting down with an expert intervewer and being made to slowly pull apart all my tightly knotted thoughts and anxieties. Absolutely reccomend.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Christine (Queen of Books)

    OPEN is a memoir "of love, liberation, and non-monogamy," but it's also a memoir largely focused on Rachel and Adam. This is the first relationship in which Rachel explores polyamory, so naturally that relationship influences her thoughts, feelings, and experiences (and provides much of the content of this book). Reading often is a wholly personal experience, but I imagine reading Open to be an especially individualized experience. There were alarm bells blaring out at me that I doubt I'd have k OPEN is a memoir "of love, liberation, and non-monogamy," but it's also a memoir largely focused on Rachel and Adam. This is the first relationship in which Rachel explores polyamory, so naturally that relationship influences her thoughts, feelings, and experiences (and provides much of the content of this book). Reading often is a wholly personal experience, but I imagine reading Open to be an especially individualized experience. There were alarm bells blaring out at me that I doubt I'd have keyed in on when I was in my 20s. I almost wish the book were advertised less as an exploration of non-monogamy and more as an example of how one can find themselves gaslit and emotionally manipulated, even in the context of a relationship you find loving. Still, non-monogamy is explored, as well as Rachel's queerness. There are many footnotes referencing research and providing definitions that sometimes gave great context and sometimes interrupted my reading experience. My favorite of these were when Rachel transcribed a relationship "State of the Union" type talk and invited professionals to contextualize and provide insight. At the same time, survey results are presented without caveat, despite some of them (based on study methods) not being representative of the general population. I think this book may be a good fit for fans of Group; Three Women; and other deep dives into psychology, sex, and relationships. Thank you to the publisher for a free copy of this title for review. Please note the author lists content warnings in a letter to the reader prior to the body text of the book.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Hannah

    3.5 stars because I found Krantz’s writing style captivating and never wanted to put the book down to find out what happened next, and I also admire that she wrote this book in the effort to raise awareness... but I think the subtitle is a total misnomer. This book is not about “love, liberation and non-monogamy.” This book is about an abusive relationship and misogyny - in the context of the author exploring non-monogamy and BDSM. Krantz does acknowledge the rampant heterosexism and give a cont 3.5 stars because I found Krantz’s writing style captivating and never wanted to put the book down to find out what happened next, and I also admire that she wrote this book in the effort to raise awareness... but I think the subtitle is a total misnomer. This book is not about “love, liberation and non-monogamy.” This book is about an abusive relationship and misogyny - in the context of the author exploring non-monogamy and BDSM. Krantz does acknowledge the rampant heterosexism and give a content warning in the authors note, but I’m not sure how many readers will read that. I think these content warnings should be on the back cover: abusive relationship, rape, painful sex (separate from the BDSM), homophobia, transphobia, misogyny, cis male worship and cis female objectification. As a journalist, Krantz adds many educational blurbs from readings, conversations and interviews with experts to inform the reader about issues like gaslighting, and other people’s experiences with non-monogamy. And I appreciate getting an honest book out there about important and common issues/experiences, but again I think it should be clarified on the cover: the topics are abuse and misogyny, the context is BDSM and non-monogamy.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Kaylee

    This is a really tough one to review. I don't think it's one for people to read if they're curious about non-monogamy/polyamory. It's more if you're interested in Rachel Krantz's life (of course, hence, "memoir"). It was an interesting experience and enlightening in many ways. However, most of those don't show up until later. I'd be very proud and am proud as a reader, but most reasons are not for the non-monogamy aspect, although those do apply as well. Krantz is an engaging writer. This is not This is a really tough one to review. I don't think it's one for people to read if they're curious about non-monogamy/polyamory. It's more if you're interested in Rachel Krantz's life (of course, hence, "memoir"). It was an interesting experience and enlightening in many ways. However, most of those don't show up until later. I'd be very proud and am proud as a reader, but most reasons are not for the non-monogamy aspect, although those do apply as well. Krantz is an engaging writer. This is not something I would normally pick up, or even be so inclined to read once I realized exactly what I was reading (yes, I wasn't paying full attention when I got it from the library - I'll be the first to admit this). There were so many parts that were soo hard to read. Not only empathetically but for my own past experiences. It made me glad of how this ended. I really liked how the meditation was added here as well (although I'm not one to do so myself). I could feel how helpful it was overall. It was very peaceful. In summation: Don't pick this up if you're new/want t0 get more information about non-monogamy/polyamory itself. But if you want to read someone's life journey with some non-monogamy/polyamory as a focus, this is an interesting read.

  21. 4 out of 5

    CaseyArmstrong

    WOW. I am going to need to process this. I had this thought about half way through that I might love Rachel. I have fallen in love with stories, poems, characters and writers. before... but never like this. It might be because I related to Rachel in a deep and unsettling way. Which, may have meant that her story helped me to fall in love with myself? Either way, I think I love her but I know I love this memoir and wholeheartedly recommend it. This memoir is beautiful and unnerving and thought-pro WOW. I am going to need to process this. I had this thought about half way through that I might love Rachel. I have fallen in love with stories, poems, characters and writers. before... but never like this. It might be because I related to Rachel in a deep and unsettling way. Which, may have meant that her story helped me to fall in love with myself? Either way, I think I love her but I know I love this memoir and wholeheartedly recommend it. This memoir is beautiful and unnerving and thought-provoking. The honesty is not for the faint of heart. I'm left inspired and comforted, all while being challenged to examine some of my own thoughts and beliefs about non-monogamy and sexual liberation. I also need a few days to sit with all of it. Thank you, Rachel, for writing this book!!!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Esther O. Lee

    I've been trying to figure out my thoughts on this. First, I want to say this book is good. Second, I think where I'm struggle is that IMO the book is mismarketed. The blurb and press around the book make it sound like this is a memoir to learn about non-monogamy/polyamory through. And yes, Kramer provides a lot of footnotes and research about polyamory*, and includes content notes about her relationship with Adam. But I don't think the content notes really make it clear how heavily this book is I've been trying to figure out my thoughts on this. First, I want to say this book is good. Second, I think where I'm struggle is that IMO the book is mismarketed. The blurb and press around the book make it sound like this is a memoir to learn about non-monogamy/polyamory through. And yes, Kramer provides a lot of footnotes and research about polyamory*, and includes content notes about her relationship with Adam. But I don't think the content notes really make it clear how heavily this book is about her relationship with Adam in all its messiness. I guess I'd blurb the book as "the author realizes she's kinky and polyamorous through a toxic relationship." I kept thinking of Carmen Maria Machado's In The Dream House as I read Open. Both are are about toxic/dysfunctional/abusive relationships the authors find themselves in. Reading Open was akin to reading a suspense novel where I was always waiting for the other shoe to drop. I felt like I was walking Kramer walk a tightrope for the first time without any safety net below her, one that'd help her recognize red flags, and I was anxious if she'd make it to the other side alright. It was a stressful read because I wasn't sure if she'd be alright. *given how prevalent kink was in Adam and Krantz's relationship, I'm surprised there wasn't more about kink. For example, she often points out for polyamory that "hey this is what I was thinking at the time, but time and research has shown that actually..." but I don't feel she made as many of these sort of addendums when it came to kink. That said, you can't cover everything in a book!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Transgender Bookworm

    Thank you Netgalley and the publisher for an advance copy of this book . What follows is my honest opinion. This book reads like reading a person's diary because essentially that's what it is. Open is a meticulous account of Rachel Krantz's five-year journey into her first consensual non-monogamous relationship. The book is unlike anything I've ever read as the author a journalist became her own story and eventually, it became this book. This is not some gonzo journalism where she chased experien Thank you Netgalley and the publisher for an advance copy of this book . What follows is my honest opinion. This book reads like reading a person's diary because essentially that's what it is. Open is a meticulous account of Rachel Krantz's five-year journey into her first consensual non-monogamous relationship. The book is unlike anything I've ever read as the author a journalist became her own story and eventually, it became this book. This is not some gonzo journalism where she chased experiences for stories rather this is one woman's unique experience laid out for the whole world to see. What started as personal journal entries for herself soon morphed into an intentional effort to catalog all of her emotions and interactions for use in this book. This in turn offers the reader insight into the author's mindset at varying points that would not be available if the book was written in retrospect. Peppered with verbatim conversations, personal journal entries, and notes from therapy sessions this book is a candid account of Ms. Krantz five year undoing during her first polyamorous relationship. It must be said that this book does not have an agenda and is not meant to evangelize or disparage non-monogamous relationships. Nor does this book offer a tidy narrative that can serve any such purpose. The author's relationship with her boyfriend Adam ( a pseudonym) which is the main focus of this book is an unhealthy relationship that one could argue was emotionally abusive. This information is not offered as a refutation of non-monogamous relationships, it is simply the fact of the author's personal experience. The author actually goes to great lengths to show a nuanced perspective of non-monogamous relationships outside her own experience. Open is a raw and visceral read that I am sure will evoke strong reactions from readers regardless of where they stand on non-monogamy. I think it is important to remember when reading this book that all relationships have the ability to be toxic and abusive. There are plenty of monogamous relationships that fit this bill yet we do not believe that all monogamous relationships are poisonous. Ms. Krantz can only offer us her truth and the sheer vulnerability this endeavor required is astounding. Ms. Krantz left a piece of herself between these pages and I feel honored to have received it. TW: Book deals with issues of emotional manipulation, sexual assault and nonconsensual restraint.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Mike

    While I'm not non-monogamous, relationship structures of all sorts fascinate me, particularly untraditional ones. This memoir gave me plenty to think about in terms of how people can best function within a partnership. While I'm not non-monogamous, relationship structures of all sorts fascinate me, particularly untraditional ones. This memoir gave me plenty to think about in terms of how people can best function within a partnership.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Shannon McLeod

    This memoir is completely riveting! It's beautifully written, deeply reflective, and incredibly well-researched. I loved all the footnotes, which I haven't seen before in a memoir. Krantz offers sensitive parts of herself (her desires, her flaws, her past naiveté) in a way that is so relatable yet rarely shared publicly. This book made me feel seen, validated, and healed. This memoir is completely riveting! It's beautifully written, deeply reflective, and incredibly well-researched. I loved all the footnotes, which I haven't seen before in a memoir. Krantz offers sensitive parts of herself (her desires, her flaws, her past naiveté) in a way that is so relatable yet rarely shared publicly. This book made me feel seen, validated, and healed.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Kathy Labriola

    First, full disclosure: Rachel consulted with many counselors, psychologists, researchers, and authors while writing this book, some of whom are quoted throughout the book. I am one such counselor and author, and a few or our conversations appear in the book.) Run, don't walk, to the nearest bookstore (or to your nearest digital device) to buy Rachel Krantz' fearless, brutally honest, and riveting memoir of her explorations into non-monogamy. Her book is addictively readable in her blow-by-blow t First, full disclosure: Rachel consulted with many counselors, psychologists, researchers, and authors while writing this book, some of whom are quoted throughout the book. I am one such counselor and author, and a few or our conversations appear in the book.) Run, don't walk, to the nearest bookstore (or to your nearest digital device) to buy Rachel Krantz' fearless, brutally honest, and riveting memoir of her explorations into non-monogamy. Her book is addictively readable in her blow-by-blow telling of the exhilarating highs and the excruciatingly painful lows of her three-year relationship with a very dominant man. Her attempts to cope with her partner's version of polyamory led to intense jealousy and insecurities, doubting her own reality and sanity, and escalating eating disorders and substance abuse. This book will speak to every woman who reads it, and probably many men as well. It will resonate with some woman as a cautionary tale, reminding them to assert their own needs and desires, and never to let a man convince them that they should agree to live by his rules and accept his version of reality. Millions of other women will experience the shock of recognition from the very first page, because each of these women have been in just such a relationship, where they somehow found themselves controlled, confused, and terrified by a man who believed he was always right and convinced them that he always knew better than they did how to run their lives. Rachel lays out so clearly how easy it is for a woman to fall into this trap. Most women crave love, and (if they're straight or bisexual) are probably seeking a strong, smart, charming, employed, and handsome man as a life partner. When Rachel is swept off her feet by just such a man, she revels in being "lovebombed," as he lavishes romantic and sexual attention on her at first. However, there is a dark side to the relationship from the start. While her partner was upfront from the start about wanting a non-monogamous relationship, he gives her such mixed messages that she is constantly off-balance. He tells her there is no rush, and that she is free to sleep with other people, but that he will wait until she is ready and "consents" for him to sleep with other women. However, there is always a threat that he will leave her if she "restricts" him or puts any constraints on his freedom to pursue relationships with other women. Rachel is open to trying non-monogamy because she likes having more romantic and sexual freedom and not being tied down for life to just one person. However, she doesn't feel safe because her partner ridicules her feelings and gets angry if she asks for any boundaries or agreements. As soon as she is hooked on this relationship and feels she can't live without his love, he starts a serious relationship with another woman. From that point on, he continues to have numerous sexual and love relationships with women, despite Rachel's worsening depression, anxiety, and substance use. As soon as he starts sleeping with other women, he withdraws emotionally and begins to with hold affection and sex, making her more desperate to do anything to win back his love. He can argue circles around her, and while most of his gaslighting and debate points don't really make sense, she begins to doubt her own reality. While Rachel dated other men, and a few women, in an attempt to feel empowered and make things seem more equal, she just feels more trapped and miserable with every passing day. Many women will relate to this tale of woe, as they have first-hand experience with getting in over their heads in a relationship where they have become too dependent on a man's love, acceptance, and approval. They accept being powerless in a relationship that they know is unhealthy for them, where.their needs are not being met and they are being mistreated. Rachel so brilliantly dissects every aspect of this very painful experience, including her own feelings of guilt and shame for accepting her partner's increasingly abusive behavior. She tries to justify his actions to herself (and to her friends and family) by trying to believe that this is all about deep personal growth which is healthy for her and will make her a better person, and that if she just tries harder, she will learn to love him fully according to his rules, without putting any restrictions of any kind on him. Rachel uses her expertise as a professional journalist to understand her relationship by interviewing many different experts on polyamory, abusive relationships, gaslighting, Dominant/submissive relationships, and more. She attends swinger's resorts and sex parties to interview people in various types of open relationships to try to learn how they can manage this lifestyle. Her book is not only a memoir but is overflowing with insights from experts, citations from academic research, and both data and wisdom from so many sources. She clearly has taken (Native American scholar and best-selling author) Ward Churchill''s famous advice: "If you're writing about something controversial or unpopular, footnote it like a motherfucker." Anyone reading this book will learn more than they ever imagined, both from Rachel's experience and from the many people she quotes. At the same time, it is an absolute page-turner that will keep the reader guessing about what will happen next! Review by Kathy Labriola

  27. 5 out of 5

    Sue

    When Rachel met Adam, she found herself falling for him hard, and was keen to do everything she could to make him happy, so when she learned that he was looking for a relationship with a committed partner like her, but also wanted to explore the option of non-exclusivity - starting with the possibility of watching her have sex with other men - she gave it some serious thought. Although initially unsure, Rachel was persuaded that this might actually be something worth trying, and she agreed to ex When Rachel met Adam, she found herself falling for him hard, and was keen to do everything she could to make him happy, so when she learned that he was looking for a relationship with a committed partner like her, but also wanted to explore the option of non-exclusivity - starting with the possibility of watching her have sex with other men - she gave it some serious thought. Although initially unsure, Rachel was persuaded that this might actually be something worth trying, and she agreed to explore the world of Brooklyn's sex parties with him. Through these parties they becoming intimately involved with the wider swinger and polyamorous community around them. Open is Rachel's forthright and candid memoir about her experiences on non-monogamous relationships, and it takes you to some uncomfortable places - both figuratively and graphically literally. As a long-married and confirmed monogamist, I was interested to read about a world I know nothing about and I found Krantz's unflinching honesty about the way she was also introduced to a scene that she previously also had no experience of quite fascinating. Have no doubt that this a memoir that looks frankly at all the 'ins and outs' of the swinging scene, so if this is likely to make you squeamish then this book is not going to be for you. I will admit that I found Krantz's story more than a little disturbing at times - for reasons which I will elaborate on in a moment. But this book is actually a lot more than a string of salacious episodes, which makes it a very interesting read indeed. What Krantz does here, by writing about the years of her first experiences of non-monogamy, drawing on her intimate encounters and journal entries, is examine a host of themes around open relationships. Obviously much of this looks at exploring sexual freedom and pushing ones boundaries, but for me the most intriguing part is how she delves into the psychology of sexual relationships; the perils that come with polyamory, such as jealousy and lack of trust; whether the freedom a non-monogamous relationship gives is worth it; and curiously, the way porn feeds into stereotypical sexual behaviour - especially for men. Now we come to the crux of the matter... why this book proved to be rather disturbing for me... It's clear almost from the start that Rachel is entering into a relationship that carries with it a significant dominant/submissive element. Adam is not only dominant, but engages in controlling and abusive behaviour on a staggering scale, and is an expert player in the gaslighting stakes. It takes Rachel a long time to cotton onto this while she is absorbed with her own sexual liberation and I actually found this quite upsetting - although she does end up in a better place at the end. Although I am not convinced open relationships are quite the solution Krantz believes them to be, because there are too many trade-offs and the potential for abuse is high, I can see why she feels this way based on her own life story, and admire her honesty in writing this memoir. There is no doubt that this is an engaging and thought-provoking read, that sheds light on a sub-culture that largely takes place in the shadows. I've not read anything quite like this before, and it was certainly an eye-opener!

  28. 4 out of 5

    Brynn

    "The idea, then, is to practice giving that feeling to yourself, right now, regardless of circumstances and conditions. To try on believing you've had what you seek all along. If you didn't already have its potential within you, Brach says, you wouldn't be able to conceive of it." (39) "Monogamy is a way of getting the versions of ourselves down to a minimum. And, of course, a way of convincing ourselves that some versions are truer than others—that some are special." (68) "So just contributing on "The idea, then, is to practice giving that feeling to yourself, right now, regardless of circumstances and conditions. To try on believing you've had what you seek all along. If you didn't already have its potential within you, Brach says, you wouldn't be able to conceive of it." (39) "Monogamy is a way of getting the versions of ourselves down to a minimum. And, of course, a way of convincing ourselves that some versions are truer than others—that some are special." (68) "So just contributing one story to the hopefully future pile of polyam narratives is valuable, even if it's not the perfect representation of 'ideal' non-monogamy. Plus, our having to be in perfect relationships in order to be respected is its own cage." (111) "I nodded like I understood, but 'boundaries' were still an abstract concept. Setting them was a nice idea I could conceive of, but when I sat down to do the math, it felt all blurry." (123) "Though my queer imposter syndrome lingered, I knew for sure now being with women was not some bucket list item for me. It was like turning on music I'd been subliminally told to mute since before I knew how to operate a remote. Music I also loved, but that Adam would never be able to dance with me. A tone his ears couldn't even register." (125) "If by talking about their dynamic people lose their charge around it, then the relationship isn't a match." (135) "...but I think it's a good way of acknowledging that when you are in a relationship that is characterized by toxic and unhealthy relationship patterns, the longer you're in it, the more likely you are to absorb some of those patterns and start to demonstrate them on your own." (190) "If you'd rather deal with jealously than boredom, choose non-monogamy. If you'd rather deal with boredom than jealousy, choose monogamy." (206) "Any relationship is like a dance. I kept tangoing in part because it reaffirmed both my inflated self-worth and my increasingly low self-esteem. I've come to think of Inflated Ego/Low Self-Esteem as two sides of the same Vanity Coin. Too much of either and I believe I'm on some level "better than" the people who love me without trying to change me." (211) "Splattered before us like bugs on the windshield of life are all the ways we have shrunk the full expression of ourselves because we have been convinced that our bodies and therefore our very beings are deficient." "Or maybe that was all adulthood was. A perpetual sense of epic vista ahead, followed by a sudden drop-off." (233) "His main delusion was that he thought he was above delusion." (239) "The difference between a preference and objectification is not seeing the whole person." (249) "But also, of course a hot mess is a potential outcome of any relationship! And why should polyam people have to prove they're only ever in happy relationships in order to be respected?" (262) "The hopeful tone to her question, like music from the future I rewind and replay." (264) "But it is very hard to provide concrete evidence that proves the validity of an emotional experience." (275) "There's sometimes a certain relief when the thing you've been so afraid of happens. You can finally surrender to the grief without struggling to stave it off. Though your body hollows, there is a sort of rest there, an absence of struggle." (298) "What are you unwilling to feel right now? And can you be with it first, even for a minute?" (314) "Have you ever noticed how you can put on a song, any song, and the birds will appear to fly perfectly in tune with it? I think it is one of my favorite things about being alive. I look down at this perishable hand. The inscription on the silver band is outward facing, no secret now: 'Impermanent.'" (326)

  29. 5 out of 5

    Mark

    In this personally revealing memoir, Rachel Krantz brings the reader deeply into the process of reaching for maturity that many of us go through in our later twenties. How does one live a self-directed life? How does a person stay vulnerable and resilient in a world that is designed to render her defensive and brittle? When does the courage of personal belief tip over into a rigid rejection of change or difference? Krantz engages with these topics with incisive candor and authentic self-reflecti In this personally revealing memoir, Rachel Krantz brings the reader deeply into the process of reaching for maturity that many of us go through in our later twenties. How does one live a self-directed life? How does a person stay vulnerable and resilient in a world that is designed to render her defensive and brittle? When does the courage of personal belief tip over into a rigid rejection of change or difference? Krantz engages with these topics with incisive candor and authentic self-reflection. Far from self-indulgent psychobabble, the forthright revelation of her struggle against self-abnegation and its concomitant desire to win the approval of others maps a path that many people walk during this time of life. Krantz obsessively recorded and journaled throughout this period, and the reader is often treated to transcriptions of key conversations that inform the narrative. The struggle for a mature identity is independent of the path chosen for its exploration. Here Krantz uses sex and non-monogamy as the substrate for her growth, but I suspect she would have written more or less the same memoir if she was a young physician in a hospital or an associate in a cut-throat law firm. I’m sure many would argue that confronting the self around issues of sexuality is much more potent, but Krantz’s issues are embedded in her psychology; her drive to become authentically herself equally challenging no matter the venue (although having all the sex she had certainly had to be a lot more fun than pulling 36 hour shifts in the ER!). That she had a totally self-involved, gaslighting partner gave her a ready-made field of play, and her desire to develop an authentic polyamorous self forced her internal journey. Now I’m a boomer comfortably ensconced in a fifty-year-old monogamous marriage, but some of the conversations she relates are almost word-for-word transcriptions of the arguments my wife and I were having at that age, during the early years of our marriage. We each had slept with several others during the years of our courtship, although we remained ‘primary’ to each other; by the time we married it was a low-priority issue. Is monogamy frustrating at times? Sure! Would our life be better if we were sleeping with the friends we love? Who the hell knows! Though the book spends a lot of time and research on various flavors of nonmonogamy as Krantz experiences them, it just didn’t seem to matter that much to the story she tells. This book is about a young woman’s struggle with herself. Fortunately Krantz is not a polemicist, and that is the saving grace of this memoir. The touchstone is her experience, always authentic and true. The reader roots for her to dump the gaslighter and be herself, and she emerges in the final pages as a sexually-fluid, poly-open, vegan meditator in a primary relationship with someone who loves and respects her. Hooray! A strong, fascinating and honest look at an important part of life’s voyage. Recommended.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Carrie

    I received this book in a Goodreads giveaway from Harmony Books, a division of Penguin Random House. Also, to be completely transparent, I would not have picked this book up off the shelf at a bookstore, but there must have been something that compelled me to enter the giveaway, and I am glad I did. This book is brutally honest, overtly sexual, sometimes infuriating, and often simultaneously compelling and extremely challenging to read. The researcher/observer me found it fascinating, but the (g I received this book in a Goodreads giveaway from Harmony Books, a division of Penguin Random House. Also, to be completely transparent, I would not have picked this book up off the shelf at a bookstore, but there must have been something that compelled me to enter the giveaway, and I am glad I did. This book is brutally honest, overtly sexual, sometimes infuriating, and often simultaneously compelling and extremely challenging to read. The researcher/observer me found it fascinating, but the (generally) "conforms to societal norms" me found it somewhat uncomfortable, to the point where I thought a lot about what even documenting on Goodreads that I had read it would "say" about who I am. Ultimately, I decided I didn't really care. It is an extremely interesting read about something I know very little about, and now I know more, which is always positive for a constantly curious person like me. NOTE: The "Uncensored" part of the title is 100% correct. She holds nothing back in her storytelling. As you might expect, this book has a lot of explicit sex (sex parties, swingers gatherings, casual hook-ups...), but it also has descriptions of drug use/addiction, eating disorders, mental illness, sexual assault and a hell of a lot of manipulation/gaslighting. The writing itself is extremely well done, particularly for a debut author. It reads more like a novel than a memoir (though that might also be because the content is so different from my reality!) My only real complaint is that the story bogs down quite a bit in the second half (to the point where I almost stopped reading), before picking up again toward the end. I appreciated that the author is a journalist and approached this as a "research project" of sorts, though the obsessive documentation she reveals further into the book (she makes audio recordings of many encounters/discussions) did make me question some of her experiences and conclusions. I was reassured, however, by the large number of outside resources and experts she consults and explores throughout the process. And, I also respected that the author realizes her privilege in her race, gender, age...even her geography (Brooklyn & California) in pursuing non-monogamy and addresses that in her commentary. My overall takeaway is that this is an important book and hopefully a bellwether for changes to come. The cultural messaging we all receive around power dynamics and gender roles and "morality" codes in and about relationships should be probed and discussed. Why do we feel there are "right" and "wrong" ways to be in relationships with others, particularly sexually? Why do we stigmatize situations we haven't experienced and/or don't really understand? I learned a lot about the world of polyamorous and open relationships through Rachel's story. Yes, there are some serious downsides to polyamory, but there can be a lot of positives for some people if it is undertaken with honesty and care, and by the way, monogamy has its own challenges, some the same and others unique. Ultimately, what anyone chooses to do with their body and with whom they do it (assuming it is consensual), should not cause them guilt or shame, particularly because society might consider it to be non-traditional or "abnormal". A genuinely educational read.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.