Last Couple Standing

Matthew Norman. Ballantine, $27 (288p) ISBN 978-1-984-82106-5
In Norman’s funny and heartwarming novel (following We’re All Damaged), a Baltimore couple tries to head off the demise of their marriage with an unusual arrangement. Therapist Jessica Butler and her high school English teacher husband, Mitch, have been married for 15 years and have two kids. Recently, their closest friends have all split. Jessica and Mitch are determined it’s not going to happen to them, but things have been a bit stale, and they decide that a few “dalliances” outside the marriage might liven things up, with caveats such as no hooking up with social media friends and no more than one jaunt with the same person. Jessica wastes no time setting up a date with hot bartender Ryan, even as Mitch struggles to make a connection. As they both try to make the experiment work, with mixed results, it inevitably clashes with their jobs, kids, and most importantly, reality. Readers will have to suspend disbelief a bit to make this premise work, and a few scenarios, especially the climactic scene, veer close to farce. Still, Norman skillfully uses his gift for gentle humor to prod at the foibles and joys of marriage, parenthood, and love in this endearing charmer. (Mar.)
Reviewed on : 11/14/2019
Release date: 03/17/2020
Genre: Fiction
Book - 1 pages - 978-1-9848-2107-2
Paperback - 304 pages - 978-1-9848-2108-9
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Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
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