A Memoir of Marriage (and Other Affairs)
By Wendy Plump
Bloomsbury Publishing PLC, Hardcover, 9781608198238, 262pp.
Publication Date: February 12, 2013
There are so many ways to find out. From a cell phone. From a bank statement. From some weird supermarket encounter. One morning in early January 2005, Wendy Plump's friend came to tell her that her husband was having an affair. It was not a shock. Actually, it explained a lot. But what Wendy was not prepared for was the revelation that her husband also had another child, living within a mile of their family home.
Monogamy is one of the most important of the many vows we make in our marriages. Yet it is a rare spouse who does not face some level of temptation in their married life. The discovery of her husband's affair followed betrayals of Wendy's own, earlier in the marriage. The revelations of those infidelities had tested their relationship, but for Wendy, it was commitment-the sticking with it-that mattered most, and when her sons were born, she knew family had to come first. But with another woman and another family in the picture, she lost all sense of certainty.
In "Vow," Wendy Plump boldly walks one relationship's fault lines, exploring infidelity from the perspective of both betrayer and betrayed. Moving fluidly from the intimate to the near-universal, she considers the patterns of adultery, the ebb and flow of passion, the undeniable allure of the illicit, the lovers and the lies. Frank, intelligent and important, "Vow" will forever alter your understanding of fidelity, and the meaning of the promises we make to those we love.
"Vow is brilliant from both a literary and a psychological perspective. It certainly takes emotional honesty to write with such candor about the drama and allure of one's personal adulterous experiences, but this book is more that simply honest -- it is also searingly well told. A tremendous achievement." - Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat Pray Love and Committed
"Crack open Vow and prepare to be quickly carried away by Plump's vivid prose, so-close-you-can-hear-it voice, and suspenseful storytelling skills. You'll find yourself sneaking a page or two in the elevator, during a walk from point A to B, and trying to avoid drifting off to sleep so you can turn one more page... A thought-provoking, compelling read. The events, which Plump describes with amazing clarity and detail, are by turns gut-wrenching and addictive...The fact that such events are 'unimaginable' is one reason that I think every woman should read this memoir." - Redbook
“[A] jaw-droppingly frank but ultimately instructive post-mortem on [Plump’s] 18-year marriage…While literature has always taken adultery as one of its great themes...nonfiction books on the subject tend to be sanctimonious accounts of political or celebrity scandals... In addition to being strikingly well-written, what separates Vow from most personal accounts of adultery is Plump's forthrightness about her less-than-chaste record as a wife. It's rare to see infidelity portrayed in the round — from the perspective of both betrayer and betrayed…[A] gutsy, intelligent examination of vows and the tantalizing allure of the illicit.” - NPR.org
"[Plump's] memoir is like a conversation with a super-smart pal." - Ladies Home Journal
"Plump gradually reveals the degree of self-deception [these] two married people practiced over many years, as mismatched needs and gnawing mistrust fed their mutual appetite for risk, sex, and guilt... Plump manages in this frank memoir to fully capture her life --[as a] woman, wife, and mother who leaves nothing unexamined and has nothing left to lose." - Publishers Weekly
“Metaphors and similes and original descriptions can’t defend the reader against the sheer pain of broken vows. Wendy Plump creates a beautifully wrought word painting from which I, for one, came away with a new slant on ‘marital vows.’ Couples should read this book—and then write their own.” —Carly Simon
“Vow is so tender and sharp….This book is a real gift.” –Elizabeth Weil, author of No Cheating, No Dying