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Book Review: Last Couple Standing by Matthew Norman

Updated: Dec 13, 2019

While I personally have never been a fan of open marriages, Matthew Norman’s latest novel, Last Couple Standing, gives a humorous and insightful peek into the pleasures and perils of what it sometimes takes to keep a marriage alive in today’s world of instant gratification, online affairs, and easy-access internet porn.

As the rest of their close friends from college have all recently suffered divorces of varying degrees, Mitch, a high school English teacher, and Jessica, a therapist, make a bold decision to save their own 15-year marriage from the same fate.

After their weekly date night, Jessica goes on a calamitous girls’ night out with her three divorced girlfriends, where she encounters a much younger and brutally handsome bartender, Ryan, who gives her the attention she seems to desperately crave and isn’t getting from Mitch. Jessica then comes up with the idea that the best way to save their somewhat stale marriage and not end up like the rest of their friends is by opening it up to a “relaxed marriage,” with a few carefully crafted rules to ensure they don’t crash and burn in the process.

Mitch reluctantly agrees, and what follows is a hilariously frightening and often heart-felt journey into the land of open marriages, middle-aged dating, and parenthood. Norman’s witty and humorous writing style makes this book a funny, delightful read perfect for the beach, during a flight, or over the holiday while trying to avoid your in-laws.

Matthew Norman is the author of two previous novels, Domestic Violets (2011) and We’re All Damaged (2016). Last Couple Standing is published by Ballantine Books and is available everywhere March 17, 2020.

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