A Thrilling Peek Into a Taboo World

Molly Roden Winter dazzles with her debut. You may want to look away — but she’ll keep you turning the pages
Book cover for More by Molly Roden Winter

“It’s been almost two years since I first saw Matt, but I can hardly remember the before times, when I wasn’t caught in a constant swirl of secret lust and mother’s guilt.”

This book. It’s hard to put down. Every chapter ends on a cliff hanger. Every sentence makes you want to read more.

And the sentences. They’re written with fire and grace and humility and wisdom.

“But instead of telling Stewart the truth — that Matt has revealed a void in my life, a need for something that marriage and motherhood cannot fill … I do my best to put Matt out of my mind,” debut writer Molly Roden Winter reveals early on in this top-notch effort.

Imagine, a plot-driven romp through one of today’s most culturally relevant topics — polyamory. Think of it as akin to a tale of van life in the 2010s or homeschooling in the 1990s. We read it to understand a new world, to see how it’s done.

Unlike most nonfiction work, there are no digressions into research or history, no outside voices or experts. More is simply the story of a happily married mother and father, who accidentally invite a host of other partners into their relationship. And the emotions that unleashes.

“I don’t even know how to sort out all the hurt,” Winter writes after her first partner in this open marriage experiment calls it quits and Molly wonders if she should too. “It hurts to share Stewart, and it hurts to lose Matt. But it also hurts to think that this part of my life is over. That I’ll never have the feeling of being shiny and new to someone ever again. That I’ll never again be shiny and new to myself.”

I promise you will be turned on with every turn of the page.

You will wonder (if only briefly) if you, too, might want to give consensual nonmonogamy a try.

If you’re like me, you’ll decide: it’s interesting to read about. No way in heck do I have the sexual, emotional, or time management bandwidth for this!

But that doesn’t make the vicarious journey less thought-provoking.

When More opens, Winter is a harried mother of two young boys living in Park Slope, Brooklyn, feeling stuck in her life and her marriage. After her husband gives her permission to see a sudden new love interest “as long as you tell me everything,” she leans into a new identity. More is the recounting of her sometimes instructive — sometimes destructive — journey to discover what, exactly, she’s looking for.

Another highlight is Winter’s discovery that her mother, a generation before, engaged in polyamory, though she didn’t name it as such. The closeness that results from their shared truth-telling is inspiring.

The book ends a decade later. The reader has made this trek alongside Molly — in the style of Cheryl Strayed’s Wild or Mary Karr’s Lit.

If anything, the story wraps up too quickly. I could have read more on Winter’s self-discovery, more of a how she makes meaning from this arrangement.

Perhaps Winter will share further insights in a future memoir. Till then, More is absolutely worth the ride.

“More: A Memoir of Open Marriage” was published Jan. 16, 2024 by Doubleday, an imprint of Penguin Random House. You can purchase it here — or most places where books are sold.