I just finished another Liane Moriarty book. Moriarty's Truly Madly Guilty was just published this past summer. It, like her other books, has characters with complexity and depth, a story line that keeps you guessing, and a way to reach your mind and heart with emotion and introspection.
I gave her latest book 4.5 out of 5 Stars in my book review. I really liked Truly Madly Guilty. I liked the complexity of the characters and their relationships. I liked being reminded that a parent's influence for good or bad is long lasting. I appreciated the insight that a traumatic experience can affect many more people that those immediately involved. I really liked this book. If you like contemporary fiction give this one a go.
The one aspect of the book that I didn't enjoy was the beginning of the book and how it drug it's feet in a sense to get going. At the beginning of the book the reader learns that something happened at a barbecue. Page after page you learn more of the barbecue story and the background of the characters, but the event at the barbecue seemed to be this elephant in the room that no one would talk about. I don't mind that for a little bit b/c it sets up suspense, but it seemed a bit excessive in Truly Madly Guilty. I was actually starting to get annoyed that Moriarty wouldn't spill the beans. This alone is the main reason for the less than perfect rating.
As far as characters go, I think the character development is what drives this story and that it is really well done. Every character has depth and Moriarty did a great job diving into each character by changing the point of views with each chapter. I loved that both Erica and and Clementine were deeply impacted by their parents (one for being a hoarder and the other for being so helpful and loving) influence on them, but it wasn't until they both thought from the other's situation and perspective that their friendship was truly able to heal and mature. I loved that Harry, the next door neighbor's perspective was included. He played a small role in the overall story, but his role was important and powerful. Harry's chapter had me both laughing and crying; it was well done. I liked that Moriarty included the children, both Dakota and Holly, into the story with their perspective as well as the impact the event and guilt had on their lives. It truly is enlightening to see how others deal with situations. This alone is why research says readers are more "empathetic."
I learned that events affect more than just those immediately involved; many can feel guilt, pain, sorrow, or a myriad of emotions from an event no matter how "involved" or "there" they were.
All in all, it's a great story. There may be a bit of a hump to get over at the beginning, but overall I think this character driven story, which has many aspects one can relate to, was well written, and worth your time.
Amazon has the following book description to give you more information about the story:
"In Truly Madly Guilty, Liane Moriarty turns her unique, razor-sharp eye towards three seemingly happy families.
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."
The way the story winds around the the lives of several characters reminded me a little of the movie Love Actually, but maybe that is me being a little random in the connections my brain makes.
Overall though, this character driven story is complex, relatable, and all around great. Enjoy!
Happy Contemporary Lit reading!
What is your favorite Liane Moriarty book?