Published by Flatiron Books on July 26th 2016
Barnes & Noble
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 don’t want to give away too much of this one since I know it’s popular and still fairly new, so I’ll just make this a quick review.
I’ve read several of Liane Moriarty’s books, and while I can’t say I won’t read any more, I don’t love them. She has a way of writing around events, trying to draw out the suspense of what happens that drives me crazy. It just feels manipulative to me. In a book like What Alice Forgot, it works because the narrator doesn’t know what happened either, so we feel like we’re all discovering the events together. In a book like this, though, it doesn’t work as well. Everyone in the book was at the mysterious event, so they all know what happened, but everyone talks around it, no one actually mentions it. Chapters end just before anyone says anything specific, that kind of thing.
Liane Moriarty is excellent at digging into the psyche of her characters; they’re always so real I feel like I just had dinner with them. And despite the dramatic descriptions of her books, the events they’re centered around are usually rather mundane, which I think is her point. Sometimes it’s the day-to-day events that have the biggest impact on our lives.
Overall, I found this to be well-written and engaging, but ultimately forgettable.