The Marriage Pact by Michelle Richmond
Dates Read: 02/05/2021-09/05/2021
My Rating: 4 of 5 stars
This is a strange book – but I liked it! The idea that there’s a – let’s make no bones about it – cult out there, whose role is ostensibly to promote and facilitate lasting marriages, is at once hilarious and chilling. The Pact is everywhere; all seeing, all knowing, all powerful once you’ve signed your name on the dotted line. And the implication is that the powerful and rich are all members, you will need to join them to be truly successful.
First big question – Alice is a lawyer. What lawyer would sign a contract without really understanding the implications of what she’s signing? Due diligence? Nah, let’s just sign away. I guess that really is the point at which you just need to suspend your disbelief, come along for the ride, and enjoy it for what it is. Swanky parties at massive posh houses and seemingly perfect relationships but everything’s engineered and nothing, and no one, is what it seems. There is simply no privacy and the strict rules of the Pact mean that there’s none of the standard muddling through and finding a way in the first few months and years of a marriage.
By mid-way through the book, Alice and Jake are reduced to finding ever more desperate ways to avoid breaking the rules and even to communicate and spend time alone, and nothing is nice or fun any more because it’s all prescribed. The consequences of even the smallest misdemeanour become more and more brutal and demeaning and there seems to be no way out.
I won’t spoil the denouement but I will say that I really enjoyed it. No one truly knows how another couple’s marriage works. With a good few years of the institution behind me, I can say that it can be messy, it’s not always easy and it’s constantly changing and evolving, but that’s what makes it the marriage it is. The experiences of the couple involved and the decisions they make both together and individually are what makes a marriage work or not. I can also say that I’m no lawyer but I’d definitely not have signed on the dotted line, no matter how shiny the lifestyle appeared!