An Uncensored Memoir of Love, Liberation, and Non-Monogamy

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Pub Date 25 Jan 2022 | Archive Date 31 Aug 2022

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An unprecedented exploration of polyamory and gaslighting, from an award-winning journalist chronicling her first open relationship with unflinching candor as she explores this fast-growing movement

“[A] sincere and curious reckoning with the cultural messaging we all receive about gendered expectations and power dynamics in romantic and sexual relationships.”—NPR


Can we have both freedom and love? Comfort and lust? Is a relationship ever equal? And is the pleasure worth the pain?
When Rachel Krantz met and fell for Adam, he told her that he was looking for a committed partnership—just one that did not include exclusivity. Intrigued and more than a little nervous, Rachel decided to see whether their love could be open and coexist with the freedom to date other people. Could they strike an exquisite balance between intimacy and independence, and find a way to feel passion for one another once the honeymoon phase ended?
For Open, her extraordinary debut memoir, Rachel interviewed scientists, psychologists, and people living and loving outside the mainstream as she searched to understand what non-monogamy would do to her heart, her mind, and her life. From exploring Brooklyn sex parties to the wider swinger and polyamory communities, Rachel and Adam attempt to write a new plot for their love story. But as the miscommunications and power imbalances mount, Rachel finds herself anxious, emotionally isolated, and seeking solid ground in a relationship where the rules seem to be ever-shifting. In Open, Rachel casts new light on the unique ways coercion and gaslighting manifest in open relationships, and finds herself wondering what liberation really looks like.
With an unflinching eye and page-turning storytelling, Open is groundbreaking in both its documentarian approach to polyamory and its explicit subject matter. From debilitating anxiety spirals to heart-opening connections with the men and women she dates, Rachel puts her whole self on the line as she attempts to redefine what a relationship is—or could be.
An unprecedented exploration of polyamory and gaslighting, from an award-winning journalist chronicling her first open relationship with unflinching candor as she explores this fast-growing movement


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Average rating from 48 members

Featured Reviews

A propulsive and fascinating look at sex, desire, and intimacy, OPEN investigates what we hope for from our romantic partners and how eschewing conventions might help us attain those things—and the pitfalls we might face if we choose a less traditional path. Krantz writes with insight and humor about her personal introduction to non-monogamy, using reportage to broaden the scope to others’ experiences with trying to balance sexual and romantic freedom and commitment. A page-turner that explores the urgent question of what it means to try to understand and then to express our desires, OPEN was a true pleasure to read.

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I’m not sure what I expected going into Rachel Krantz’ memoir. I suppose I expected the story of a poly relationship that worked, almost like a sales pitch for a no monogamous lifestyle. Instead what I got was a complex exploration of Krantz’ first non monogamous partnership interwoven with a sociological and psychological exploration of her self and her lifestyle. It was fantastic. Four and a half stars.

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This book sits in a category all by itself. It's not a how-to or a purely journalistic observation about people in the non-monogamous lifestyle. The author writes about her own deeply personal and brutally honest experience about jumping into an open relationship. She expresses her fears and insecurities, fantasies and turn-ons, and provides an up-close look into the world of ethical non-monogamy and all of the different forms it can take.

The stories she tells are graphic and vulnerable. She doesn't try to depict her own experience as one that represents the whole but remains relatable to many who have had similar encounters. Rather than paint non-monogamy in a rosy light, she exposes many of its pitfalls. She writes about the manipulation, gaslighting, and abuse that can take place. Despite these challenges, she does not write off non-monogamy and is able to see it from an objective stance. It can be done in a respectful and mutually beneficial way or it can be used as a weapon in an unhealthy relationship.

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Right off the bat I was impressed with this book because I was expecting a memoir type read and while that is what I was given it was written in many different journal entries instead of one large novel. I think that this was the best way to do it because it really gives the reader a strong connection to the author on what could be a difficult subject to relate to.. This book is all about our author as she explores the boundaries of her relationships and exploring the new world of a truly open relationship. This story was all about how she got into
that life style and the stories and personal experiences that went along with it. This was a fascinating read and I'm so glad that I got the chance to read it. It wasn't to graphic but it isn't for the faint of heart. One of the things I liked about this book was our main character goes into the situation a little hesitant like I think anyone would but she comes to really see things differently and it is her decision, she isn't pressured or anything like that. Very compelling read and I'm so glad that I got the chance to check it out, however with some graphic parts this book won't be for everyone so take what you read with a grain of salt. This book talks about the good things that she dealt with along with some of the unpleasant things that came along with being in an open relationship, I really liked how she talked about both because it is more realistic. Very great read and I'm so glad that I was given the opportunity to read it.

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Raw open brutally honest Rachel Krantz shares her experience in a non monogamy relationship.Told in her voice you can feel her emotions her doubts her reactions to being in an open relationship.Rachel Krantz holds nothing back and following her experience is so real you can feel her emotions.So well written will be recommending.#netgalley#open

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This book is raw, gritty, and absolutely wonderful! Rachel Krantz lays herself bare for us to understand what she experiences as she goes from monogamy relationship to a world of being open. She holds nothing back and her journey is riveting. I applaud her for the courage it took to write a book about something so personal and for giving people carte Blanche access to her relationships, her emotions, her second guessing, and her most personal thoughts!

This book gives you a one of a kind look at the life of polyamory, partner swapping, and what it truly is like being in an open relationship. You experience Rachel’s encounters and the emotional aspect of watching your partner have other lovers.

Great book!!

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I don't even know where to start.

This book was simply brilliant! I am so excited to get a physical copy of this and also feature on my blog.

What I think this book does that no other poly book does is bring down non monogamy through the lens of power dynamics specifically focusing on race, gender, and kink.

Rachel Krantz lays herself bare for us to see her and follow her along on her journey. We are there for each messy, unpredictable step and though its hard to read sometimes (all the trigger warnings for gaslight and relationship abuse) it is also brutally honest in a way that makes this book so engaging to read.

I am delighted that this book can be added as a resource for those practicing nonmonogamy/polyamory and I am really excited to see the reception and conversations that come out about this book.

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I'm a little bit blushing and exhausted from this very honest memoir about non-monogamous, open relationships and defining love. Written in the voice of a journalist, with citations and sources, Rachel Krantz holds nothing back. A spiral of events and many connections, along with their consequences and life lessons, I appreciate this sexy, steamy, dramatic, at times violent, crude openness and examination of her love choices. Was an eye-opening peak into other types of relationships. Thank you NetGalley, the author and publisher for the early copy for review. All opinions are my own.

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This memoir forces readers to confront their conflicting desires about love and monogamy. Do you want a fairytale prince to come and whisk you away from everyone else? What do you intend on doing with him in your castle alone for the rest of your days? Why do so many people lie and cheat when they could just be honest about their desires with their partners?

Monogamous relationships (and the adultery that they make possible) have always been amply represented. Anna Karenina had to throw herself under a train for cheating. The Princesse de Cleves had to join a nunnery just for falling in love with a man who wasn't her husband. Even Zeus couldn't sleep around without the vengeful antics of his jealous wife. I think it's time we also began to tell stories about relationships in which non-monogamous feelings and behaviors are part of the relational form.

Krantz explores ethical non-monogamy in all of its complexity. Her story is not a fairy tale and she does dive into the dark sides of these types of relationships. They can produce romantic conflict that's confusing, exhilarating, devastating, but the point is that it is all part of a legitimate relationship structure. This is a beautiful, brave, and important book.

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Rachel Krantz offers a no-holds-barred view into the life of an open relationship. She and her boyfriend have agreed to see others, they attend parties for this purpose, and participate in travels with like-minded people. This isn’t written for you to judge, it’s written to give a glimpse into a world most of us don't understand. I still don’t understand it myself, but I appreciate Rachel’s openness and honesty. At times I feel a bit sorry or lonely for her, but again, I think that’s me struggling to understand something that’s different.
The writing style is blunt and clear, the stories are interesting, and her ability to share this private side of her life is captivating.
Sincere thanks to Rodale Inc. Harmony for an ARC in exchange for my honest review. The publishing date is January 25, 2022.

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The upcoming memoir from Rachel Krantz, Open: An Uncensored Memoir of Love, Liberation, and Non-Monogamy is raw and sometimes raunchy. It’s also a tale about control and gaslighting in relationships. As the memoir opens, Krantz is a twenty-something writer who doesn’t think like a monogamous woman. Her journey into the world of alternate sexual options is eye-opening and vulnerable.

Krantz tells her story through several means. Sometimes she shares diary entries or transcripts of recorded conversations. Other times, she tells stories of events she experienced. Throughout it all, she intersperses research, both primary and secondary, into the mindset of various types of relationships.

Her perspective is that monogamy is a patriarchal construct, subtly designed to hold women down. Ironically, the first intentionally non-monogamous relationship she enters is with Adam, a man who is both controlling and patriarchal. She actually calls him “Daddy” on occasion and he calls her “my little girl.” Still, the most compelling part of her memoir is the meandering journey she takes while determining if he’s the right man for her.

She lives under Adam’s thumb for quite some time. At first, he seems caring and nurturing. But the more time she spends with him, the more she removes other friends from her life. At the same time, she struggles to live up to his “expectations.” The nature of an open, non-monogamous relationship complicates his antithetical need for control. Meanwhile, Krantz struggles with jealousy and feelings of inadequacy. Adam doesn’t do anything to make her feel more secure.

And as her research and writing work offers Krantz the opportunity to see other non-monogamous relationships in action, she realizes Adam regularly gaslights her. This concept is new to her, so she explains it in detail here, which is helpful.

My conclusions
Yes, this memoir has plenty of openly sexual writing, description, and dialogue. But it serves an important end beyond any sense of titillation. Polyamorous or non-monogamous relationships deserve a legitimate exploration. And Krantz shares both her personal experience and her subjective research. Together these aspects blend into a compulsively readable memoir.

I believe that Krantz genuinely desires a mentally and emotionally healthy life while also being non-monogamous. However, achieving that is considerably more complicated than she expected. This is the crux of what makes Open a complex memoir. Krantz draws us in early to her process. We watch her understand non-monogamy, explore a potentially long-term relationship, and mature into a fully functioning adult. Each piece of this experience needs the other to be completely realized.

I picked this up because of how polyamory figures in a few of my favorite fictional series. I also know two couples who’ve explored the boundaries of non-monogamy, with varying degrees of success. Krantz delivered what I hoped for: a realistic, nonfiction exposition of the lifestyle with advantages and disadvantages.

If you’re curious about the non-monogamous lifestyle, this is a valuable tool for understanding its ups and downs. Krantz is honest, self-effacing, and ultimately presents important explorations.

Many thanks to NetGalley, Rodale Inc. / Harmony, and the author for a digital advanced reader’s copy in exchange for this honest review. The anticipated publication date is January 25, 2022.

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Rachel Krantz's Open is a brutally honest self-interrogation of her foray into non-monogamy and a compelling account of the abusive relationship that introduced her to it. Krantz flexes her muscles as a journalist and blends data, research, and her own notes of that time in her life to bolster her narrative. I appreciated her willingness to unflinchingly expose her own vulnerabilities and also her acknowledgement of her privileges and biases as a cis white woman navigating non-monogamy in a heteronormative relationship. I was riveted from beginning to end and finished the book in just a couple of sittings, recognizing the challenges that I encountered myself stepping into non-monogamy (though not to the same extremes). For non-monogamous readers, they probably won't see this as the representation they were hoping for, but I still see this as a win for the community, whose stories are desperately needed to be told (even the difficult ones). For other readers, I'd caution that this is by no means a representation of healthy non-monogamy in practice. Regardless, Open will stimulate many interesting conversations about love, desire, and relationship dynamics.

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