Monday, August 1, 2016
Book Review: Truly Madly Guilty
Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty
Six responsible adults. Three cute kids. One small dog. It’s just a normal weekend. What could possibly go wrong?
Sam and Clementine have a wonderful, albeit, busy life: they have two little girls, Sam has just started a new dream job, and Clementine, a cellist, is busy preparing for the audition of a lifetime. If there’s anything they can count on, it’s each other.
Clementine and Erika are each other’s oldest friends. A single look between them can convey an entire conversation. But theirs is a complicated relationship, so when Erika mentions a last minute invitation to a barbecue with her neighbors, Tiffany and Vid, Clementine and Sam don’t hesitate. Having Tiffany and Vid’s larger than life personalities there will be a welcome respite.
Two months later, it won’t stop raining, and Clementine and Sam can’t stop asking themselves the question: What if we hadn’t gone?
In Truly Madly Guilty, Liane Moriarty takes on the foundations of our lives: marriage, sex, parenthood, and friendship. She shows how guilt can expose the fault lines in the most seemingly strong relationships, how what we don’t say can be more powerful than what we do, and how sometimes it is the most innocent of moments that can do the greatest harm.
My advice is to avoid reading much about this book before reading it. Suspense is the highlight of Liane Moriarty’s latest book. From the very first page, you know that something happened at a backyard barbeque 2 months ago. Something awful because it’s deeply affected the lives of the 6 adults and a 10-year old girl who were present. But what was it?! That’s what made this book one that I could not put down.
Liane has interwoven the present day events – told from the perspective of all seven individuals – and snippets of the fateful day itself. I loved how the events of that day were revealed bit by bit.
Clementine and Sam are possibly headed towards divorce. She’s juggling caring for her two young daughters and preparing for a cello audition for a full-time symphony seat. He is struggling to focus at his new job. And Clementine’s mother is hovering and trying to helpfully put their marriage back together. Meanwhile, Erika, Clementine’s lifelong friend, and her husband, Oliver, are dealing with her mother, Sylvia, who Erika only sees on scheduled days. (And – why?!?) Vid, Tiffany, and their daughter, Dakota, are preparing for the new school year, her first at a very prestigious prep school.
This is a very character-driven novel, which doesn’t always work for me, but it’s also a relationship-driven story. The characters and their relationships (and not just those of the married couples) are very complex. Moriarty does characterization and plot development so well, and she’s hit the mark again with this book. It’s not my favorite of her novels, but it quite compelling and very much worth reading.
My Rating: 4 Stars
On the blog last year...
Month in review: July 2015