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Truly Madly Guilty Hardcover – July 26, 2016
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An Amazon Best Book of August 2016: Many writers have trouble plumbing the depths of a single character’s soul. Moriarty effortlessly dives deep in six different characters—the three married couples at a backyard barbeque in Sydney that goes horribly wrong. Chapters jump in time between the day of the barbecue and its aftereffects in the present, with the ripples of that evening disrupting and destroying relationships. The exact nature of the shock isn’t revealed until midway through the novel, and I admit, I kept thinking to myself, “Given the buildup, this better be a wonderfully awful revelation.” Moriarty comes through, fitting the seemingly unrelated puzzle pieces together into a tight and harrowing picture. She even wraps up a long-ago tragedy that befell a crotchety neighbor in what is perhaps a too-neat moment that adds an unnecessary bow on top. While it would do the book a disservice to call it “light,” it’s so briskly paced that the pages flash by, aiming the reader, ultimately, toward a gleam of hope at the end. --Adrian Liang, The Amazon Book Review
“Here’s the best news you’ve heard all year: Not a single page disappoints…The only difficulty with Truly Madly Guilty? Putting it down.” ―Miami Herald
"Perfect for those long summer days, but readers will have to pace themselves to not devour it in one sitting.” ―Library Journal (starred review)
Entertainment Weekly’s “Best Beach Bet,” Summer ’16
A USA Today Hot Books for Summer Selection
A Miami Herald Summer Reads Pick
“Liane Moriarty is one of the few writers I’ll drop anything for. Her books are wise, honest, beautifully observed, and―unusually―I can never tell where they’re going to go.” ―Jojo Moyes
"The author of Big Little Lies―which is being made into an HBO series starring Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon―brings it again. This time, the lives of a few happy families are changed forever after a barbecue. Well done, in more ways than one." ―Skimm Reads
“Emotionally riveting…Moriarty is a deft storyteller who creates believable, relatable characters. The well-drawn cast here will engage readers and remind them that life halfway around the world isn’t much different from life here―families argue, neighbors meddle and children push boundaries.” ―Washington Post
“[A] masterpiece…Extremely relatable and thought-provoking…Ms. Moriarty’s shining talent in Truly Madly Guilty is her uncanny ability to get into the mind of her well-developed characters, turn the mirror on the reader and make you think about your own relationships, both past and present.” ―Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
“Moriarty is a talented tale-spinner and a sharp, witty social observer…Moriarty fans, pack Truly Madly in your beach bag.” ―USA Today
“Truly Madly Guilty will be widely read…It has all the requisite trademarks of one of her hits…It probes some of the things she writes about best: fraught friendships, covert backbiting, stale marriages.” ―New York Times
“Stacked with her signature themes: female friendship, duplicity, the darkness lurking beneath lucky, ordinary suburban lives…The last twist, though, is nearly worth the wait, and what sets Moriarty’s writing apart…has as much to do with her canny insights into human nature as her clever plotting…Compelling.” ―Entertainment Weekly
“Moriarty’s fans will rejoice at her latest title as she tackles marriage, parenthood, friendship, and sex, in this provocative and gripping read...This novel sheds light on the truths that we all fear as parents, spouses, and friends. It’s perfect for those long summer days, but readers will have to pace themselves to not devour it in one sitting.” ―Library Journal (starred review)
“Perhaps the most anticipated release this summer, Moriarty is at her finest in this keep you guessing multi-family drama surrounding a tragic event at a casual neighborhood barbecue. You will not soon forget this cast of troubled yet very likable characters, and the relationships that both bind and nearly destroy them.” ―Huffington Post
"The author of Big Little Lies doing what she does best: unraveling people's public selves with an urgency that keeps you reading." ―Glamour Magazine
“[A] brilliant story of love, marriage, parenthood and, of course, guilt…It’s wonderfully suspenseful, slyly sentimental, sometimes outright sad―and also truly, madly, amazingly funny.” ―Forth Worth Star-Telegram
“Liane Moriarty has done it again. Truly Madly Guilty has it all―suspense, drama, humor, and a cracking story cleverly told.” ―Fabulous Magazine (UK)
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That's the premise for this book. From the start we know that something significant has happened. We know that Erika has problems remembering it, that Clementine doesn't want to think about it, that their husbands are struggling with their feelings. But it will take until over the halfway mark - a looong time - before we find out what happened and after all that build up and suspense the truth is more than a little anticlimatic. Even then, Moriarty teases us with the idea that there is more to be revealed, and while this is true, it's not enough and not sufficiently important. Essentially, it's a book that's structured on a flimsy base.
There are glimpses here and there of Moriarty's trademark humor and relatable characters but somehow I didn't warm to the story as I have to others that she's written.
I enjoy an author slowly building characters and relationships, but not when there are so many references to someone not being able to forget that barbecue without saying why, or someone who wishes they'd never gone to that barbecue, but not saying why. Moriarty lays the foreboding on thick, but teases her readers for over two hundred pages before letting us in on the secret! Two hundred pages is fine for a plot twist, but not for the central theme that motivates every character for the whole novel.
Do you want to know what the tragedy is? Because I think the book reads better if you know it from the beginning. Three couples attend a barbecue at which one of their small children has a serious accident and they all blame themselves and each other. They go through various levels of self-recrimination and resentment for enjoying the party and not paying enough attention to the children. It's not such a tragedy that it really merits the 250-page build-up and I wonder if Moriarty's draft wasn't more linear and her publisher rearranged it to make it more tantalizing. Moriarty's an excellent writer. Her story doesn't need a gimmicky hook to keep us reading, but this novel is structured as if it does.
Other books by this author have more integrity than this. Read those.
She is an excellent writer with lots of depth and descriptions to her characters. An example would be that one of the little girls is obsessed with a kitchen gadget, a whisk, that the character named Whisk. It would s necessary to the story? No, but it points out how in depth the author goes in terms of character development.
Fans of Ms. Moriarty (& most everyone else) will surely enjoy the book. The only thing I was slightly disappointed in was she didn't tell us what the future held for the characters like in her other book "What Alice Forgot".