Monday, July 24, 2017

I don't need anything money can buy: THE MARRIAGE PACT.

The Marriage PactThe Marriage Pact by Michelle Richmond

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Newlyweds Alice and Jake don't think much of it when a client from Alice's law firm invites himself to their wedding and then gives them a mysterious wedding gift. But they soon discover the gift is offering them membership in a exclusive group called The Pact, whose main goal is to keep couples married. The Pact comes with a series of strict rules detailed in the group's Manual. Jake, a psychologist, is interested in the institution of marriage and excited to find an organization that he thinks will keep his beloved wife, Alice, a former rock singer turned lawyer, interested and focused on their union. Things change quickly for the couple, though, when The Pact thinks that Alice is breaking the rules. Suddenly, Alice and Jake find themselves stuck in The Pact, whose members seem to go to any lengths to enforce their rules--and to keep their members within the group.

The set up to the book is certainly interesting: joining an exclusive group focused on marriage. It's a secretive society of sorts with a series of rules focused on a single goal: keeping your marriage intact. And if you don't follow those rules: there are consequences, often extreme ones.
I can't deny that this book is very creepy at times. It also causes you to question the sanity of this couple. Why on earth would they sign these documents and join the Pact? Jake, okay, perhaps: he supposedly is desperate to keep Alice. But Alice, for pete's sake, is a lawyer: she has to know that signing anything, even if you think it's a joke (and this is not presented as a joke) could have serious consequences. Instead, she blindly signs because she wants to go to a party?! Perhaps they deserved what they get! (And maybe I'm a little bitter.) The book often reminded me of The Girl Before: another novel where you have to completely suspend disbelief that people would even entertain living life by a series of ridiculous rules to somewhat enjoy the book.

That's not to say I didn't sometimes feel sorry for Alice, or even Jake. I was drawn a bit more to Alice and often wished I could have heard her perspective on things sometimes, instead of just her husband's. Rather, things just seemed so drawn out: so much of Jake ruminating about Alice, their marriage, marriage in general, life, etc. It was a little much for me.

Still, as I mentioned the book definitely has its creepy moments. Even with those, it took me forever to read it. I never felt compelled to pick it up (so much talking and thinking from Jake) and probably finished at least two other books over the 10-day (!) span it took me to read this. I was more intrigued and interested in the last fourth or so of the book and then pretty much let down by the end, so there you have it. There's one good twist in there, and I'm going with a three-star rating, but I'm definitely not in the camp raving about this one. However, lots of people loved this book, so you may enjoy it a lot more than me.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher and Netgalley (thank you!) in return for an unbiased review - it is available everywhere as of 07/25/2017.

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