Book Review: The Game Changer by Franklin Veaux

the game changer by franklin veauxI had hoped to post a joint review here, as monogamous friend volunteered to read The Game Changer with me and share their thoughts and reactions. Unfortunately that didn’t work out so without further ado, here is my take on The Game Changer.

You that “watching a train wreck in slow motion” feeling? I lost count of how often I got that reading this book. As someone whose been (more or less) involved in poly for over a decade now, I’ve made most of the easy mistakes. Franklin would start a new section with something like “and we decided this, and had no idea how we were setting ourselves up for disaster.” And I would already be mentally tracing the lines of disaster, shaking my head and thinking “Yup, I remember being that (naive/foolish/culturally brainwashed/oblivious).”

This is why I wanted a monogamous (or at least inexperienced poly person’s) take on The Game Changer. it must be a completely different read for those of us who haven’t been around the block long enough to see those disasters coming a mile away.

I won’t go into the details of Franklin’s story here. I will say that the title is fitting. There is a Game Changer in the story, and after the change hits, the game is no longer recognizable as what it once was.

In spite of the almost complete lack of surprise in any of the major “plot twists,” I had trouble putting the book down. As usual, Franklin has an engaging writing style, a way of working humor, self awareness, and bulls-eye insight into his narrative that makes for an engrossing read.

It seems that we, as a culture, understand that if we leave kids to teach themselves math or history or literature, few people will end up being good at those things. So we have developed formal systems of education to teach people, to help them become productive members of society. But we don’t teach them communication, compassion, forgiveness, empathy, or many other skills we need to become fully formed human beings. We leave kids to figure that stuff out on their own. The results are about what we might expect if we left them, say, to deduce the laws of algebra by themselves. The difference is that most of us need interpersonal skills a lot more than we need algebra.

If Franklin’s writing suffers from any flaw, it is a tendency to take a US-centric view, which has occasionally been criticized in his advice on polyamory. However in a memoir, that kind of cultural focus is not just expected, it is required.

Perhaps the most important thing I took away from The Game Changer is a new perspective on the poly approach to honesty and communication:

Self awareness is a prerequisite for open and honest communication. We can’t tell others the truth of our feelings and needs if we refuse to face them and admit them to ourselves.

The Game Changer by Franklin Veaux will be available on September 23, 2015, from Thorntree Press.

Book Review: More Than Two

More Than Two book review

A few months ago I was sent a review copy of More Than Two, the long-expected guide to polyamory by Franklin Veaux and Eve Rickert.

Folks, the wait was well worth it.

There are things I could quibble with, minor points I disagree with, but overall this is the best book about poly relationships I have ever read.

Franklin and Eve use straight talk, gentle humor, common sense, and years of experience to create a solid guide to along the journey that is polyamory. More Than Two has a great deal to offer both folks exploring polyamory for the first time and experienced poly-folk who may have hit a few bumps in the road.

In particular, I think the sections on rule, agreements, and boundaries is a powerful tool, and I wish something like it were part of the standard cultural narrative for all relationship types.

There are a few (very few) things I would have handled differently, and a few (very few) things I would have liked to see covered in more depth. Overall, this is an amazing book and I highly recommend it.

(Originally Posted Sept 8, 2014. This post contains affiliate links.)