A writer and illustrator reveals how she went from serial monogamist to happily married polyamorist.
Johnson grew up with parents who had a “model nuclear relationship.” After almost 50 years, it was still as strong as it had been when they married at age 20. So it was no surprise that the author’s early ideas about love and sex were largely shaped by conventional norms. Throughout her adolescence, Johnson engaged in courtship rituals without ever considering that other relationship options might be as—or even more—fulfilling as a heterosexual coupling. In college, she found herself emotionally drawn to women. The intensity of Johnson's feelings inspired her to follow one friend to Chicago and fall into nonsexual love with a woman named Hannah when she was later living in New Orleans. The emotional attraction for Hannah was intense enough that she eventually felt the need to explain just how important it was to the people she was dating. Desiring more freedom and autonomy than a conventional relationship would allow, the author began having relationships that allowed her to not only date other men, but also spend significant time with the women close to her. In her refreshingly candid and provocative narrative, Johnson seeks to present polyamory as a practice that is about “emotional consideration and communication” rather than selfish and unrestrained libertinism. The book mirrors her lifestyle in the unconventionality of its presentation. In addition to including a polyamory FAQ at the beginning of the book, the author adds a dash of humor and incisive observation to almost every page of her text with comic book–style drawings. She also peppers her work with statistics and thoughtful commentary on the history and culture of polyamory. Johnson’s multipronged approach not only demystifies a much-maligned and misunderstood practice; it also makes for enjoyable, accessible reading.
Illuminating and entertaining.