(by Molly Roden Winter)

This isn’t a memoir to read for lyrical prose (not that the writing is bad), but rather, a memoir to read for glimpses into someone else’s life, particularly glimpses of raw and vulnerable moments where someone is trying to figure shit out, and may or may not be succeeding.

I don’t want to dunk on Molly Roden Winter for being older, richer, straighter, and more mainstream than me, but yeah, she is all of those things, which did color my reading experience. She lives in Park Slope, so some of the book’s physical reference points are very familiar to me from having lived off the F train myself for many years (The Gate! The Bell House! The Dram Shop! Kiku Sushi! Mooburger!). But her life as a married mother of two is clearly very different from my life with no kids, and her introduction to the world of non-monogamy (and dating apps) felt very different from the experiences of many of the non-monogamous folks I know who are closer to my age, who a) may have realized that monogamy might not be for them earlier and b) may have been meeting people from the internet for sex/dating since college.

This book ends up being a therapy memoir as much as it is a sex/marriage memoir, which I’m not going to complain about: Couples Therapy was one of my favorite pandemic television indulgences, and Winter’s stories about being in therapy (individually and with her husband) felt compelling to me in the same way as that show: the moments of insight, the moments of being stuck. Winter delves into some family history, too: before she opened up her own marriage, she knew that her parents hadn’t been monogamous either, and her own situation inspires her to learn more about her mom’s experiences.

Part of what Winter is trying to figure out is who she is and what she wants and what she likes (sexually but also in general)—particularly who she is outside of her roles as a wife and a mother. This is somewhat complicated by the fact that she seems never to have thought about non-monogamy until she meets a younger guy (who’s a friend of a former colleague) at a bar on a night when she’s run out of patience with parenting/domesticity, flirts with him and exchanges numbers, and is then encouraged to go out with him by her husband, who’s turned on by the idea of her with someone else and wants the sexy details. Which definitely felt a bit “ick” to me, and which I think Winter eventually realizes is not necessarily the dynamic she wants. I’ve seen a lot of Goodreads reviews and Reddit comments where people’s take on this is that Winter was coerced into an open marriage and coerced into continuing it, but that wasn’t my takeaway. She recounts moments of angst and drama and jealousy (both within and outside of her marriage), but she also recounts moments of love and connection (with her husband and with others). She writes about bad sex and bad dates and good sex and good dates, and while there were a lot of moments that made me cringe, it’s all part of the story. Ultimately, the “more” of the book’s title is about there being “more love”, and why argue with that?

Tangents: the list of rules when she and her husband re-open their marriage after having paused things for a bit cracked me up, though I think it’s clear by the end of the book that Winter realizes how unrealistic those rules are, too – e.g. “Only go out on a date on a night when I also go out on a date.” As she puts it, she’s aware that the rules relate to her “every fear and insecurity,” and I think she ultimately figures out that she needs to deal with those fears and insecurities differently. I also was amused when she writes about going to a bar at 10:30 pm on a Tuesday and being “shocked to see that the place is packed.”






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