Monday, February 8, 2016

Book Review: A Life Less Monogamous


Today’s book review is “A Life Less Monogamous,” a fiction novel written by Cooper S. Beckett. I was sent an advanced copy for review.


Cooper S. Beckett is no stranger to writing about ethical non-monogamy. Readers of The Unlaced Librarian know I reviewed his first book “My Life on the Swingset,” which is a non-fiction book comprised of personal essay style chapters in the realm of swinging and polyamory. I highly recommend the book as a resource for people who are interested in swinging and open relationships.


Considering almost everything I’ve read about open relationships, swinging, and polyamory has been non-fiction, I was interested to take in this offering of a contemporary fiction piece in which the married main characters open up their relationship.


The central premise of the story follows the main couple Jennifer and Ryan as they begin exploring the world of swinging – encouraged after they meet a dynamic and attractive couple – Bruce and Paige – who happen to be swingers.


The book brings up a lot of issues surrounding swinging and open relationships as Ryan and Jennifer navigate through the plot. It was refreshing to see these conflicts and wonderings play out on an emotional canvas, getting inside the character’s heads, feeling their reactions. Readers have a front row seat during the tribulations and challenges as well as the pleasures and victories.


The narration of the book contains conversational wit, contextual humor, and a plethora of pop-culture references keep the reader engaged (though admittedly I’m not very hip and had to Google a couple of the pop-culture nods).


I would classify this book as erotically entertaining and character driven.


The book does at times possess a case of telling instead of showing where the narration consists of a string of actions rather than painting a scene for the reader. I felt some of the scenes were jumbled together – they started and began abruptly like cars on a train crashing into each other.


A strong suit in the narration was the tension and build during romantic or erotic scenes – the pacing was balanced and the results were satisfying and complete scenes. The same tension was not utilized as strongly during conflict scenes. Things would be going along and then very suddenly something would go wrong with not much buildup to carry the energy. This made the scenes jarring and the progression of the plot feel jagged. Also there were several page breaks during chapters where the author would change to a different character’s point of view. While this at times progressed the scene in an interesting way, more often this sort of head hopping interrupted the flow of the scene.


Ultimately, I did enjoy spending my time with the main characters and was empathetic to their story the whole time. I wanted to see them succeed and find out where their tale would take them.


If you are interested in tagging along on their ride, pick up your copy of “A Life Less Monogamous.” The book is set to release on February 9th, 2016.


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