Sunday, November 8, 2020

Review: Truly, Madly, Guilty by Liane Moriarty

Title: Truly Madly Guilty

Author: Liane Moriarty

Year Published: 2017

Category: Adult fiction
Pages: 560
Rating: 4 out of 5

Location (my 2020 Google Reading map)Australia

FTC Disclosure: I bought this book with my own money

Summary (from the inside flap of the book): 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.
 
Review: I read this book because my high school women friends (we've got to get a better name for this group) chose it to read together. We figured it would be a good pandemic read: light, fun, easy. And it is that, but it's also much more.

I really enjoyed Big Little Lies and figured this book would be a combination of relationships gone wrong, secrets, and tensions (both surface and deep), and I was not wrong. Moriarty does this well. While the 6 main characters are friends, there is a low level rumble that you don't feel at first, but it builds as the story unravels. Clementine and Erika have been friends for decades, but obviously resent each other at some level. Everyone else has their happy everyone-gets-along moments, but there is something at the back of the reader's mind that tells them to beware, all is not what it seems. 

The novel alternates chapters between "the day of the barbecue" and now (a few weeks/months later). The build up to the reveal of what actually happened is huge, and for me, too drawn out. I found myself wanting to read just about the barbecue and not as much about the current timeline, though it is relevant.

This is a good pandemic read. I enjoyed it and finished 560 pages over just a couple days.

Challenges for which this counts: 

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