Emily's Reviews > Uncommon Arrangements: Seven Portraits of Married Life in London Literary Circles 1910-1939

Uncommon Arrangements by Katie Roiphe
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's review
Nov 19, 2011

did not like it
Read from October 24 to November 17, 2011

I wanted to read this because I didn't know much about the writers it discusses and I often hear people talking about how they're obsessed with Bloomsbury and etc., so I thought this might be a good juicy overview/introduction. But really I just found it incredibly boring. It seemed like it would be really interesting to learn about how people in the 1910s/20s/etc dealt with having relationships that were outside the accepted norms, and about how society reacted to them for doing so, but this book just gave the impression that all of them were just vaguely (or not so vaguely) unhappy. The author doesn't really make any conclusions that make sense - the introduction, where she asks what modern people can learn from boundary-breaking relationships of the past - will anyone ever be happy? (which in itself is sort of a leading and horrible premise for a book about seven hand-selected relationships), is totally unrelated to the conclusion, where she talks about how people used to keep more in-depth diaries and write more letters.

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