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Vow: A Memoir of Marriage (and Other Affairs) Hardcover – February 12, 2013

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA (February 12, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9781608198238
  • ISBN-13: 978-1608198238
  • ASIN: 1608198235
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.9 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (65 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #873,770 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

“I was born on the windy side of the personality island,” writes news reporter Plump in this sobering memoir of serial infidelity. “If it’s blowing a gale of emotion, that is where I want to be.” This tendency toward the theatrical might explain, at least in part, why not long after she married her husband Bill, Plump began to cheat. Here she revisits her affairs and examines the fallout that occurred in their wakes. Among her many lovers: Tommy, the sexy twin brother of a friend’s fiancé; Steven, tan, ruggedly handsome—and married; and Terry, a talented marksman “with eyes as blue as an acetylene torch.” Plump’s marriage was one of equal-opportunity betrayal. Turns out, Bill had a second family, including a baby he fathered, living just a mile from his and Plump’s home in the Pennsylvania farmlands. Plump’s discovery of that affair was the deal-breaker. After decades of forgiveness, the couple finally called it quits. This relentlessly self-indulgent confessional grows tiresome at times, but Plump’s candor is impressive. --Allison Block


"Vow is brilliant from both a literary and a psychological perspective. It certainly takes emotional honesty to write with such candor about the drama and allure of one's personal adulterous experiences, but this book is more that simply honest -- it is also searingly well told. A tremendous achievement."  - Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat Pray Love and Committed

"Crack open Vow and prepare to be quickly carried away by Plump's vivid prose, so-close-you-can-hear-it voice, and suspenseful storytelling skills. You'll find yourself sneaking a page or two in the elevator, during a walk from point A to B, and trying to avoid drifting off to sleep so you can turn one more page... A thought-provoking, compelling read. The events, which Plump describes with amazing clarity and detail, are by turns gut-wrenching and addictive...The fact that such events are 'unimaginable' is one reason that I think every woman should read this memoir." - Redbook

“[A] jaw-droppingly frank but ultimately instructive post-mortem on [Plump’s] 18-year marriage…While literature has always taken adultery as one of its great themes...nonfiction books on the subject tend to be sanctimonious accounts of political or celebrity scandals... In addition to being strikingly well-written, what separates Vow from most personal accounts of adultery is Plump's forthrightness about her less-than-chaste record as a wife. It's rare to see infidelity portrayed in the round — from the perspective of both betrayer and betrayed…[A] gutsy, intelligent examination of vows and the tantalizing allure of the illicit.” - NPR.org

"[Plump's] memoir is like a conversation with a super-smart pal." - Ladies Home Journal

"Plump gradually reveals the degree of self-deception [these] two married people practiced over many years, as mismatched needs and gnawing mistrust fed their mutual appetite for risk, sex, and guilt... Plump manages in this frank memoir to fully capture her life --[as a] woman, wife, and mother who leaves nothing unexamined and has nothing left to lose." - Publishers Weekly

“Metaphors and similes and original descriptions can’t defend the reader against the sheer pain of broken vows. Wendy Plump creates a beautifully wrought word painting from which I, for one, came away with a new slant on ‘marital vows.’ Couples should read this book—and then write their own.” —Carly Simon

Vow is so tender and sharp….This book is a real gift.” –Elizabeth Weil, author of No Cheating, No Dying

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Customer Reviews

I enjoyed reading this book, written with a lot of wisdom gained from her experiences.
I have never read a book where someone was so busy making themselves feel better about their behavior than this author.
As she describes them, her affairs were intense but certainly not intimate, and she says that suited her.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Crabby Abby TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 12, 2013
Format: Hardcover
This memoir looks at the slow coming apart of a marriage that was years in the making. After the initial glow of new found love and all its excitement, the author fell into multiple affairs which really seemed like temporary diversions to her. The reasoning here being that an affair is a blip on the radar of life that has become tedious, while marriage is a commitment and is supposed to endure. This marriage rolls along through mutual infidelities and eventual children until the author is informed by a friend that there is something she really needs to know about her husband. Within a mile of the family home her husband has a new family which includes a child. The signs were there and made sense once the author had reality give her a hard slap in the face as she looked at credit card receipts, etc. the author even managed to think that she could adapt to a new dynamic that included another child and the marriage would continue.
In what has to be a very painful and embarrassing outing of an all too personal life that included details that were intimate to the point of being cringe worthy at times to me, Wendy Plump dissects her marriage and the reasons why marriages lose their luster and lead the marital partners to cheat. I'd lie if I said I didn't find this interesting. With a heavy dose of hindsight, Plump does a terrific job at looking at infidelity and the whole dynamic of cheating.. While I don't condone cheating, I get it. It's something that happens especially when people get careless or reckless or just tired of the complacency and boredom of their lives. Hormones don't get automatically shut down once a couple gets married, bored, lazy, and lax.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By H. L. Roberts on February 21, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is not an easy book to read from an emotional sense but an incredibly well written and captivating one that I think everyone in a relationship should read. The book is the retelling of the authors journey through her and her husbands various relationships during the marriage. Plump doesn't make excuses for her actions or place blame on her husband. The story is told in a very matter of fact kind of way, action and reaction.
The authors writing style really draws you in. I felt for her and at the same time I was screaming at her, "Again! Really, you're going to have another affair?!" Almost as if she were a friend. Through all of the affairs on both sides, the author wanted to keep the marriage together. It's interesting how she can look at both sides of an affair, from the standpoint of the cheater and the one being cheated on.
The book needs to be read with an open mind. We are all flawed and the author is very brave to put her flaws on display and in print for the world to see. I would recommend this book to anyone who has gone through this situation or to anyone who is considering starting a relationship outside of their current one. It's an eye opener!
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Customer on March 31, 2013
Format: Hardcover
This book is worth only reading as a way to apprise people of the devastation an affair by either spouse wreaks on a marriage. Otherwise it was rambling and poorly written.

It is difficult to feel empathy for this woman, who seems to be mourning the demise of her marriage, because of her own history of affairs. She disrespected her vows numerous times, and then seems astounded when her husband does the same. She gets points for being honest, but that's about it.

Throughout the book I got the FEELING that the author perhaps was the more attractive partner when younger but than as she aged, and lost her bloom of youth, her husband became wealthier and more attractive in his own way to other women. Perhaps one who showed him more admiration and respect, or maybe who just liked the way his well padded wallet looked.

In the end, my IMPRESSION is that is what really devastated the author is the fact that she was no longer the more attractive desirable sought after partner, and when her husband had enough of her disrespect, he found solace in another woman who showed him respect.

The excuse that she cheated because she had too much time on her hands as a freelance writer, and her husband traveled a lot, also seems like a thin excuse for being so disrespectful to a loved one.

Update: Recently found a New York Times article titled "a Roomful of Yearning and regret," written by Wendy Plump. It offers quite a few interesting comments.

Here are some interesting excerpts:

From the NYTs article: "My husband traveled a lot and I took advantage of that, finding myself at my lover's apartment often.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Tisha on March 20, 2013
Format: Hardcover
I think it would be fascinating to read for those who have had affairs, or are seriously considering one. I do think the author hit the nail on the head when she gave her opinion as to why some people don't cheat on their spouses. It was something to the effect that they do it for themselves more than their spouse. That has a large ring of truth to it. Do you remember that scene from Moonstruck? The mother around age 60, played by Olivia Dukakis, has the knowledge that her husband is cheating on her. She has an unexpected dinner one evening with a man she met at a restaurant who boosts her declining ego quite a bit. He walks her home and asks if he could come in so she could see "how the other half lives", and she declines. He asks if it's because people are home. She tells him the house is empty. He can't come in because she's married. Because she knows who she is.

I think that is the crux of it...we have to know who we are. Our strengths, our weaknesses. If the author loved her husband, but could not be monogamous...then she has found out she's not wired for that. Don't be married if that's not who you are. I hope she finds peace and happiness going forward. I do think she has performed a valuable service to people by writing this book. Just don't get married again :)
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