Krantz, Rachel. Open: An Uncensored Memoir of Love, Liberation, and Non-Monogamy. Harmony Press. 2022. $28.00. HC. 9780593139554.
When Rachel Krantz becomes involved with a man, Adam, who believes in non-exclusivity in relationships, but professes that he will always remain committed to her, Krantz sees an exciting and two-fold opportunity: the chance to explore her own desires and definitions, and a journalistic exercise into non-monogamy, polyamory, and open relationships.
Unfortunately, the book’s subtitle over-promises. This is certainly an uncensored memoir (occasionally including journal entries), but that’s where the truth ends, because there is little of the other things. This book is a memoir about an abusive relationship, written by someone with not enough distance from it to condemn it as such. Although Krantz does eventually realize that what she has with Adam is not healthy, that does not happen until the last 30 pages, with the majority of the narrative centered on a man who is controlling, manipulative, gaslighting, and makes known his discomfort with the word consent. It is disturbing to read Krantz’ justifications of his actions throughout, all the way into the acknowledgements, but even more so to think that readers might consider their relationship indicative of non-monogamous or polyamorous relationships in general.
There is value to recognizing that abuse happens in all types of relationships, but the way this particular relationship is written about phrases it as a normal part of being in a non-monogamous relationship, and that has the potential to stop someone from pursuing a different relationship choice by mistaking Krantz’s experience as typical.
If you’re interested memoirs of polyamorous or non-monogamous relationships, I would recommend the graphic memoirs Many Love: A Memoir of Polyamory and Finding Love(s) by Sophie Lucido Johnson, and Ask Me About Polyamory: The Best of Kimchi Cuddles by Tikva Wolf.
Nadia M Orozco-Sahi, MLIS