Published April 20th 2017 by Penguin Books
(first published July 26th 2016)
The new novel from Liane Moriarty, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Husband’s Secret, Big Little Lies, and What Alice Forgot, about how sometimes we don’t appreciate how extraordinary our ordinary lives are until it’s too late. Six responsible adults. Three cute kids. One small dog. It’s just a normal weekend. What could possibly go wrong? 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.
My reading experience:
"This is a story which begins with a barbecue …"
I love the way that Moriarty introduces her characters. The reader knows that something is awry from the beginning, but we’re going to find out in good time, so put the kettle on and open the digestives.
Three regular messed up couples. Insecurity, OCD, ambition, secrets and parental weariness. Insecure Clementine and going for 'parent of the year every year' Sam, OCD Erika and over emotional Oliver, super socialite Vid and parentally weary Tiffany – all ingredients for friendship and secrets. One fine day, they crack wide open at "afternoon tea turned barbecue."
Moriarty brings her usual flare and style to another regular human story. What we now know as Moriarty's strength – running two timelines concurrently and converging at the point where some kind of conclusion is reached between this bunch of characters, this story holds the readers attention right the way through. I couldn't put this book down. Suspense in droves, regular human observations in detail, and rich, full characters made this another winning book from this author.
In this book, our author addresses relationship themes – marriage and parenting, neighbours and friendships. She explores how we all approach them differently, how as individuals we have expectations that can be detrimental when they aren't fulfilled. She also digs deep into the notion of human transactions – what we feel we owe to each other and how we should show our gratitude. Painfully, Moriarty gives us several different versions of mothering which is illuminating and astute.
Truly in a world of secrets, madly lost in a spiral of self loathing, guilty in all the small things.
Not to be missed.
See my review of Big Little Lies here.