I review Truly, Madly, Guilty, the highly-anticipated new novel 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.
I’m a big fan of Moriarty. Her fascinating characters, her intricate stories, her beautiful writing. And the secrets! Reading Moriarty’s books is like diving into the minds of the Australian Desperate Housewives. They’re deliciously seductive, a guilty pleasure of the best kind. But, sadly, Truly, Madly, Guilty wasn’t quite as exciting as her other work.
The pacing of this book was fairly slow. It opens with the fallout from an incident at a BBQ, and let me tell you, you don’t find out exactly what happened until the final few pages. It felt incredibly drawn-out and slow, and, although her characters were as rich as usual, I didn’t connect with any of them, except maybe with Erika and her OCD tendencies.
Since the book itself likes to keep the reader in suspense, I won’t spoil anything either, but nothing Moriarty revealed really shocked me. Perhaps because it took so long to reveal anything. And I know this was an ARC, and so not the final copy, but this needs careful editing before release.
Truly, Madly, Guilty just wasn’t gritty enough for me, I guess. It seems to have worked for many other readers, but the style just wasn’t doing it for me. It took me almost a week to read, which is a pretty long time for me. The alarm bells start going off when I choose to flick through Facebook on my lunch break rather than read, which is exactly what I was doing while I had this book on the go.
I wouldn’t write Moriarty off, though. Just because this book didn’t work for me, it doesn’t mean I won’t read anything else she releases, and it doesn’t change the fact that I’ve adored the rest of her books.