Saturday, December 16, 2017

The Marriage Pact

Book: The Marriage Pact
Author: Michelle Richmond

Newlyweds Alice and Jake are a picture-perfect couple. Alice, once a singer in a well-known rock band, is now a successful lawyer. Jake is a partner in an up-and-coming psychology practice. Their life together holds endless possibilities. After receiving an enticing wedding gift from one of Alice’s prominent clients, they decide to join an exclusive and mysterious group known only as The Pact.

The goal of The Pact seems simple: to keep marriages happy and intact, and most of its rules make sense: Always answer the phone when your spouse calls. Exchange thoughtful gifts monthly. Plan a trip together once per quarter. . . .

Never mention The Pact to anyone.

Alice and Jake are initially seduced by the glamorous parties, the sense of community, their widening social circle of like-minded couples--and then one of them breaks the rules. The young lovers are about to discover that for adherents to The Pact, membership, like marriage, is for life, and The Pact will go to any lengths to enforce that rule. For Jake and Alice, the marriage of their dreams is about to become their worst nightmare.-Goodreads

Review: After winning a big case at her law firm, Alice (an attorney) invites her client, a famous musician, to her upcoming wedding to Jake (a psychologist). Her client gives them a unique gift-an invitation to join an exclusive club called The Pact. The Pacts purpose is to keep marriages happy and intact (no Pact member has ever been divorced). Alice and Jake sign their contract with the Pact without reading it carefully. There is a thick manual with rules to follow and references to consequences if the rules are broken, but how nefarious can a group be that is dedicated to the sanctity of marriage? At first Alice and Jake like the rules-mandatory gifts to each other every month and a minimum 72-h vacation every 3 months. But when Alice is 'reported' for lack of dedication to her marriage, Alice and Jake quickly realize The Pact isn't all it appears to be. 

As I was reading this I kept wondering if the author was reading Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood and the Prison of Belief (by Lawrence Wright, an incredible book if you haven't read it) while she was watching Fight Club and going through a divorce. That is the only explanation I can come up with for a book about a successful, supposedly smart couple who end up in a cult. The idea of this book isn't bad and I understand suspending some level of disbelief but the reader is expected to suspect disbelief at almost every turn. Alice is a successful attorney (who specializes in intellectual property and contracts) and I don't buy that she would sign the contract without reading it. Of course, this has to happen to keep the book going. A different profession for her would have worked better. The Pact has clear rules on marriage including mandatory weigh-ins to make sure you aren't +/- 10% of your wedding date weight, you must always answer is your spouse calls. If you break the rules, you have to deal with their own legal system that involves prison, attorneys, judges, torture and interrogation. I just could not believe any of this would happen. The Pact is somehow able to spy on members, eavesdrop, even intercept 911 calls. I rolled my eyes at least 100x. I was hoping the end would be amazing but alas, no such luck. 

Grade: 1/5

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