Review: Poly by Paul Dalgarno

Title: Poly

Author: Paul Dalgarno

Published: September 1st 2020, Ventura Press

Status: Read August 2020, courtesy Ventura Press


My Thoughts:

I chose to read Poly by Paul Delgarno primarily because I like to support debut Australian authors, but also because my curiously was piqued by the premise.

Chris Flood is a married father of two young children who hasn’t had sex with his wife more than a handful of times in nearly three years. Hoping to reignite her libido he’s reluctantly agreed to an ‘open’ marriage, and grits his teeth every time the love of his life trips off to make love with someone(s) who isn’t him.

I know little about the polyamorous lifestyle, but it seems exhausting. While Sarah flits from lover to lover, Chris surprises himself when he finds a younger partner willing to accept their unconventional set-up, but it’s all a little messy as they attempt to juggle dates, overnights, partying, work, and parenting. Help comes from new friend, Zac Batista, who quickly inserts himself into the household, but it eventually becomes clear that his motives aren’t as altruistic as they appear.

Chris and Sarah’s relationship is not one I’d aspire to, I am aware that such relationships generally don’t work in the long term without both partners being committed to each other, and Sarah makes several decisions that are blatantly disrespectful to their marriage. Chris is not exactly happy much of the time, secretly cyber- stalking Sarah’s lovers, worried that he isn’t meeting Biddy’s needs, and desperate for some ‘alone’ time. Actually very few of the adults in Poly seem happy, Chris’s brother is depressed, Biddy’s housemates are bitter drunks, and Zac, as it turns out, is a pathological liar.

The ending may suggest that they’ve found a way to make their new lifestyle work, complete with a ‘the kids are alright’ scene, but I’m left with the impression that it can’t be anything but temporary, particularly as the issues between Chris and Sarah remain largely unresolved.

While the domestic drama, general chaos, and black humour in Poly is entertaining, I just don’t see that the story has much of a point, and as such was left feeling underwhelmed.


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5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. 1girl2manybooks
    Aug 07, 2020 @ 13:35:21

    This interested me from a purely theoretical perspective (I’ve no interest in living the lifestyle, but I think it’s the same thing that makes me binge Sister Wives on tv) but your mentioning that some of it is disrespectful to their marriage/not everyone is completely on board turns me off it.

    Liked by 1 person


  2. Heather @ Random Redheaded Ramblings
    Aug 07, 2020 @ 22:17:08

    Sorry to hear it was underwhelming. I don’t know much about a polyamorous relationship, I agree it does seem exhausting.

    Liked by 1 person


  3. susanblogginboutbooks
    Aug 08, 2020 @ 02:49:21

    I’m a fan of monogamy, so I can’t imagine this kind of lifestyle. I’m sure it’s interesting to read about, though, even if the book turned out to be underwhelming.


    Liked by 1 person


  4. Trackback: It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #SundayPost #SundaySalon | book'd out
  5. Bec @ bec&books
    Aug 10, 2020 @ 14:13:07

    I would be super interested in reading a book about polygamy but I don’t know how comfortable I feel about one of the MCs being reluctant at the onset. Interesting review 💕

    Liked by 1 person


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