Monday, August 5, 2019

"The Arrangement"

Robyn Harding is the internationally bestselling author of The Arrangement, Her Pretty Face, and The Party which was a finalist for the Arthur Ellis Award for best crime novel. She has also written four novels of contemporary women’s fiction, a young adult novel, and a comedic memoir with an environmental focus. Harding is the screenwriter and executive producer of the independent film, The Steps which premiered at TIFF and was the closing gala film at the Miami International Film Festival. She lives in Vancouver, BC with her husband, two kids, and a seven-pound dog with no teeth.

Harding applied the Page 69 Test to The Arrangement and reported the following:
The Arrangement is the story of a young art student in New York City, struggling to stay afloat. Desperate for money for rent, tuition, and to pay back her snarky roommates, Natalie Murphy goes online and finds a sugar daddy. On page 69, she wakes up after her first “sugar date”, embarrassed and hung over. Her nerves got the best of her and she drank way too much. Natalie’s pretty sure she didn’t get paid.

“Retrieving her battered canvas wallet, she opened it and peered inside. Three ones and a five. Disappointment crushed her chest. Why hadn’t she gotten the money up front, like Ava had suggested?”

This is an interesting representation of the story because a strong theme in the book is: can you buy love? When one person pays another for their “affection” (which is code for sex – at least eventually – on sugar dating sites), there is an inherent lack of respect. Many people in sex work are abused or degraded. But sometimes, people find real love despite the monetization of their relationship. There are a few famous examples of women marrying their sugar daddies. I recently had an Uber driver tell me that, when he was a successful businessman, he was a sugar daddy. When he lost everything, his sugar baby stuck by his side and is still with him today!

In The Arrangement, the sugar daddy and sugar baby have a complex relationship and don’t always view it through the same lens. It doesn’t help that he fails to mention the fact that he has a wife. And, of course, the book is a thriller. So, this sugar relationship is going to go very, very badly.
Visit Robyn Harding's website.

Coffee with a Canine: Robyn Harding & Ozzie.

--Marshal Zeringue