Friday, December 30, 2016

Moriarty's Newest Disappointingly Charmless

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Isn't it strange how—sometimes—the smallest, most insignificant decision in the world can change everything about your world?  This is the idea at the center of Truly Madly Guilty, a new domestic drama by popular Australian author Liane Moriarty.  And it's an intriguing one, for sure.  The novel lacks a lot of the charm of her previous books, yes, but it's still a compelling tale about the tiny, obscure moments in which life changes irrevocably.

Truly Madly Guilty is about three couples living in Sydney, Australia.  Erika and Oliver are both serious, orderly accountants.  Infertility has left them childless; Oliver, in particular, longs for a biological son or daughter.  Sam and Clementine Hart have two children, both of whom keep them extremely busy.  A freelance cellist, Clementine is flighty and scattered, as different from Erika as she could be.  Vid and Tiffany—along with their larger-than-life personalities and their 10-year-old daughter, Dakota—live next door to Erika and Oliver.  When the colorful couple invites Erika and Oliver over for a barbecue, and Erika invites Sam and Clementine, things take an unexpected turn.  The events of the evening will leave all three couples questioning everything they know about themselves—and each other.

After reading Big Little Lies and several other novels by Liane Moriarty, I've become a big fan.  I love the author's sharp observations about love, friendship, marriage, family, and human nature in general.  Her stories are warm and funny, but also thoughtful and complex.  So, yeah, I get excited when Moriarty publishes a new book.  Unfortunately, I found Truly Madly Guilty disappointing.  Connecting with the characters—especially the women, who all seemed selfish and cold—was difficult for me.  The overall story didn't grab my attention like Moriarty's others; it felt lacking somehow.  It does have excellent pacing, however.  The back-and-forth-in-time narration generates suspense, which just continues to build until the finale finally reveals all.  Although I didn't care much about the characters in Truly Madly Guilty, I definitely wanted to know what the heck happened at the ill-fated barbecue.  In the end, though, I found Moriarty's newest disappointing.  I wanted to love it as much as I have her previous novels, but ... I didn't.  Bummer.

(Readalikes:  Reminds me of other novels by Liane Moriarty, including Big Little Lies; The Husband's Secret; and What Alice Forgot)

Grade:


If this were a movie, it would be rated:


for language, sexual content, violence, and disturbing subject matter

To the FTC, with love:  I bought a copy of Truly Madly Guilty from Amazon with a portion of the millions I make from my lucrative career as a book blogger.  Ha ha.

4 comments:

  1. Agree completely. I was very disappointed. So much build up and the pay off wasn't that great. Great review!

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  2. I'm so disappointed! I love Liane Moriarty; there are a couple of her earlier works on my "to read" list this week as I write this. I was hoping that I'd be able to get a positive review from a source I trust (this site!), despite the reviews on Amazon, etc., but it just seems to be the general consensus: this book is no good. Thanks for saving me money. :) And, as always, I so enjoy your reviews!

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  3. Why are her books getting worse & worse? I loved Big Little Lies. Did you see HBO is making it into a series with a bunch of big name actors? Would love to watch but afraid it won't be clean enough.

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  4. I agree completely, didn't like any of the characters in the book and that makes it really hard to like the story.

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