Truly Madly Guilty

Truly Madly Guilty

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.Clementi...

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Title:Truly Madly Guilty
Author:Liane Moriarty
Rating:
Edition Language:English

Truly Madly Guilty Reviews

  • Diane S ☔

    Something terrible happened at a BBQ, a BBQ that three couples plus three young children attended. Whether this book works for the reader depends on patience, patience because it takes quite awhile before, we find out what happened. Not that a great deal, back stories of the characters, their thoughts, doesn't happen in alternating chapters, so it depends on how interesting you find their stories. Obviously it worked for me.

    So much is happening here, a troubled marriage, a cellist with a big upc

    Something terrible happened at a BBQ, a BBQ that three couples plus three young children attended. Whether this book works for the reader depends on patience, patience because it takes quite awhile before, we find out what happened. Not that a great deal, back stories of the characters, their thoughts, doesn't happen in alternating chapters, so it depends on how interesting you find their stories. Obviously it worked for me.

    So much is happening here, a troubled marriage, a cellist with a big upcoming audition, IVF, hoarding, pole dancing, a resentful friendship etc. How this author puts this story together and makes it work is like a magic trick. So easy to read, flows right along, the two little girls providing a great deal of humor and the observations of people and marriages that can only be described as insightful. Easy to relate to because I know people like some of these in this book. The ending was a little pat for my taste but I so enjoyed getting there that I decided to leave my rating as it is.

    I haven't liked all her books as much as her last two but she has the knack of taking and exaggerating human foibles to put together amazing stories. Lighter fiction, because of the tone, but with a little bite.

    ARC from publisher.

  • Melissa

    Alright, before I begin my review of this book I need to admit something. A secret shame. This is my very first Liane Moriarty book! Yes I know, I know! I can hear you SHARPLY GASP! Her books seem right up my alley, how could I have not read Big Little Lies, or The Husband's Secret? "SHAME ON YOU MELISSA!" I hear you yell! "She is one of Australia's most loved authors!!" I have heard such good things, but guiltily have never had the chance or inclination to read them before. However, this means

    Alright, before I begin my review of this book I need to admit something. A secret shame. This is my very first Liane Moriarty book! Yes I know, I know! I can hear you SHARPLY GASP! Her books seem right up my alley, how could I have not read Big Little Lies, or The Husband's Secret? "SHAME ON YOU MELISSA!" I hear you yell! "She is one of Australia's most loved authors!!" I have heard such good things, but guiltily have never had the chance or inclination to read them before. However, this means that I came into reading Truly Madly Guilty with an unbiased perspective, and will hopefully give you a run down about what I liked and didn't like about it as a Moriarty novice!

    Something happened at the BBQ that day. Clementine didn't even want to go, and a major life-changing event occurred. Something that will change all of their lives. This is the story of three marriages, friendship, and the fateful events of one seemingly ordinary afternoon that will become extraordinary in their memories.

    Now, if you are after a light, feel good read then look elsewhere. This story is gritty, raw and deep.

    Moriarty creates an amazingly charged atmosphere in the first half of the book without actually revealing what happened at the BBQ! I found this SO FRUSTRATING! But not in a bad way! I was DESPERATE to know what happened. So desperate that when it did happen I felt slightly let down, as it went in a different direction than I was expecting. But I assume that's the point.

    I enjoyed the way it switched back and forth in time and from each different characters perspective. It was an extremely character driven novel which I can only assume is a Moriarty trademark by reading reviews of her other work. It was done masterfully. Each character was so inherently unique and imperfect. I was quickly sucked into their lives and relationships.

    It touched on SO MANY themes! Friendship, love, lust, family, parenting, childlessness, IVF, marriage, and mental illness just to name a few. However, with so much going on I found it dragged on a little bit for me. I was willing it at times to just get to the BBQ. However once it did get to the BBQ, I found the pace improved, even if it went in a direction I was not entirely anticipating. And there were a few excellent twists that I never saw coming, and that's always a big plus for me!

    Would I recommend Truly Madly Guilty?

    Absolutely worth the read! I will be definitely checking out her other books! I can't believe I have waited so long!

    Many thanks to Pan Macmillan Australia for an advanced copy of Truly Madly Guilty in exchange for my honest review.

    For more reviews check out my

  • Maxwell

    Obviously I loved this. I read it all in one day. Her books are so

    —that's the best word to describe them. The epitome of a page turner.

    Like I said in

    , Moriarty is great at crafting complex characters. The 6 adults, and even the 3 children, in this story or so well developed and interesting. They have flaws and personalities that will make you love them and hate them. It's that complexity that takes this book from 'soap opera'-esque to engaging and compellin

    Obviously I loved this. I read it all in one day. Her books are so

    —that's the best word to describe them. The epitome of a page turner.

    Like I said in

    , Moriarty is great at crafting complex characters. The 6 adults, and even the 3 children, in this story or so well developed and interesting. They have flaws and personalities that will make you love them and hate them. It's that complexity that takes this book from 'soap opera'-esque to engaging and compelling. She ups the ante by devoting the time to creating interesting humans at the center of an interesting story.

    Plus, her writing is

    . I love the little nuggets of wisdom she drops here and there. They stick out like little gems that you want to collect and treasure. Another reason this isn't your regular dollar store thriller.

    I can't wait to read everything else she's written. I have a feeling she's going to become one of my favorite authors and a go-to recommendation for people who don't know what to read next. You won't be able to put this down.

  • Jessica

    At one point, I was sure that I was going to give this two stars. And then I read a little farther and was certain that it had redeemed itself enough that I might give it four. I have so many mixed feelings about this book. Ultimately, I think I landed somewhere right in the middle of loving it and hating it. Three stars doesn't necessarily mean this is an average book; it just reflects my complicated feelings about it.

    Because there’s some things that Liane Moriarty does extremely well here. Sh

    At one point, I was sure that I was going to give this two stars. And then I read a little farther and was certain that it had redeemed itself enough that I might give it four. I have so many mixed feelings about this book. Ultimately, I think I landed somewhere right in the middle of loving it and hating it. Three stars doesn't necessarily mean this is an average book; it just reflects my complicated feelings about it.

    Because there’s some things that Liane Moriarty does extremely well here. She paints amazingly complex portraits of realistic, flawed people. Their relationships to each other, the inner lives kept secret from even their spouses, the paths of their psychologies—all so well-drawn. These are characters that are so real that it’s almost uncomfortable to read about them.

    She draws things out way too much, though. In doing so, Moriarty violates one of my biggest reading pet peeves (and this is totally subjective so it may not be a big deal to you): she builds suspense not by writing about suspenseful action or by showing us characters trying to solve a mystery but by simply withholding information from the reader. Which is a tactic that makes me kind of want to:

    The basic thrust of this story is that three couples get together for a barbecue and SOMETHING BAD happens at the barbecue that creates new fault lines in their relationships. We spend 250 pages reading characters saying to themselves and to each other, “If only I hadn’t gone to that barbecue” or “Nothing’s been the same since that barbecue.” She’d cut the alternating chapters off at odd points in an attempt to build in mini-cliffhangers, so you never knew what chapter would eventually reveal the big secret. Invariably, whatever happens at that barbecue is going to pale in comparison to the hand-wringing that’s led up to it. The actual event turns out to be a great hook to build a story around, but I was weirdly let down by its reveal because Moriarty’s storytelling style had led me to believe that it would be so much more salacious that it was.

    And she uses this tactic on too many separate threads. Not only is there a big secret about the event at the barbecue, but each of the six adults have their own baggage that’s gotta be teased out to some extent. Why does Erika avoid dinner with her mother so much? Why is Tiffany so afraid of running into the guy from her daughter’s school? Why isn’t Sam talking to his wife about his new job? Yeah, this stuff helps develop the characters, but it also just adds extra pages to an already stuffed-full narrative. Some of these threads easily could have been spun off into their own novel and Moriarty would've had two much stronger novels instead of one that left me with so many mixed feelings.

    And yet, as frustrated as I was, I enjoyed the book quite a bit. Moriarty's goal here seems to have been to examine how guilt drives us: feeling guilty about the decisions we've made that maybe didn't pan out the way we'd hoped, the weight of expectations and the fear that we might not live up to them, the regret we feel over actions we might not have even meant to take. She examines these ideas from many different facets and never seems to forget this goal, but, aside from the title, she doesn't pound you over the head with reminders that "Sam feels guilty."

    Something else that Moriarty does exceptionally well here is shifting points of view. The chapters bounce back and forth between characters in the before-and-after of the barbecue, examining how each of the adults feel about the main plot twist and the psychodynamic reasons for their responses. She points out the different ways that characters feel about the same things as a way of demonstrating that we might not really know the people in our lives we claim to be closest to. It's interesting and it definitely helps develop her characters into such realistic people. But I did sometimes find myself wondering if any of them were ever at all even the least bit up-front and honest with each other.

    I think that this could have been a four- or five-star read for me if Moriarty had just reined herself in a bit. Focus more on a single event instead of six characters' little secrets

    a central event, and definitely cut down on the phony build-up. Her attempt to bring everything full circle at the end feels a bit forced, primarily just because she's given herself so much to wrap up, but she still manages to drop a few last-minute twists into the mix in a way that actually feels surprising. Even if you're feeling fatigued by all the "what-ifs" peppered in along the way, you'll be glad you hung in until the bitter end.

  • Carol

    This

    building character-driven story of a disastrous BBQ truly tested my intestinal fortitude, but I stuck it out, and once I made it to the half-way point

    when the

    proposal is

    made, the first shocking twist occurred tempting me to stay with it and discover what would happen next.

    This

    building character-driven story of a disastrous BBQ truly tested my intestinal fortitude, but I stuck it out, and once I made it to the half-way point

    when the

    proposal is

    made, the first shocking twist occurred tempting me to stay with it and discover what would happen next.

  • Zoeytron

    Well, shoot. This was a strangely unsatisfying read for me. The long tease about what happened at that dang backyard barbecue just wasn't quite worth the wait. Looked good, smelled good, but upon tasting it, I wanted more salt and pepper.

  • Tanesha

    Oh geez, don't shoot the messenger here but this one left me flat. I'm a big fan of Liane Moriarty, but not only was this book about 200 pages too long, the storyline was weak, I didn't like any of the characters, and the "big reveal/secret" Moriarty usually puts in her books was a big letdown. Once it came out, and believe me, the almost 300 pages leading up to it was hard enough, all I could think was "that's what all of these people are going on about?" I think the main issue is that they jus

    Oh geez, don't shoot the messenger here but this one left me flat. I'm a big fan of Liane Moriarty, but not only was this book about 200 pages too long, the storyline was weak, I didn't like any of the characters, and the "big reveal/secret" Moriarty usually puts in her books was a big letdown. Once it came out, and believe me, the almost 300 pages leading up to it was hard enough, all I could think was "that's what all of these people are going on about?" I think the main issue is that they just aren't very likable or particularly interesting people. That's part of the point of many of her stories I know..bad things happen to normal people living in the burbs...but this group is more blah than usual. The rest is a back and forth between the characters that was still very slow to unfold and pretty predictable. Only my love for her past books got me to finish this - almost any other author, and I'd have stopped less than halfway through.

    I'll still read anything else Moriarty puts out, but this one sadly for me was not a good one at all.

  • Emily May

    Maybe I'm just spoiled by domestic thriller authors like

    and

    , maybe I want all the wrong things from Moriarty, but whatever the reason, her books never pull me in. This is the third of her books that I've tried and once again I’m overcome by the

    , the

    … the sheer

    .

    Perhaps I do expect the wrong things, but I don't think that's completely my fault. I'm starting to realize that Moriarty's novels are given titles and descriptio

    Maybe I'm just spoiled by domestic thriller authors like

    and

    , maybe I want all the wrong things from Moriarty, but whatever the reason, her books never pull me in. This is the third of her books that I've tried and once again I’m overcome by the

    , the

    … the sheer

    .

    Perhaps I do expect the wrong things, but I don't think that's completely my fault. I'm starting to realize that Moriarty's novels are given titles and descriptions that make them sound so much more dramatic and mysterious than they really are.

    ,

    ,

    - secrets, lies and guilt, you say? Bring it on!

    Except her stories rarely venture outside of middle class soirées. The secrets are anticlimactic, leaving a "meh" sensation in their wake. I'm almost always left thinking “seriously, is that it?"

    I have to give credit where it's due - Moriarty seems in tune with human nature. She knows her characters well and they feel convincing. It was easy to imagine them as real people.

    .

    It opens being deliberately coy about the events of a barbecue that took place several months previously. Clearly something important happened between Erika and Clementine's families, but the

    , as the novel jumps between the day of the barbecue and the present, killed off most of my curiosity. Which, as it turned out, was just as well, because the answers are disappointing and the ending feels too neat.

    I'm sorry. I genuinely want to get on the Moriarty fanwagon, but I think it's time I admit her style is not one that draws me in, even if her titles and premises do. There are very few authors that can infuse everyday, mundane activities with tension (

    , for one) but Liane Moriarty, for me, is not one of them. I feel like I’m reading a flier advertising dish soap.

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  • Victoria

    Did you ever hear this old joke?

    That’s ho

    Did you ever hear this old joke?

    That’s how I felt about reading this latest from Moriarty. I’m not comparing the book to a pile of manure, I’m just saying I ‘dug’ through a lot of pages and never found the pony. And I should point out I really, really like her books, I’ve read four out of the last six. I wouldn’t describe her books as literary, but for sheer entertainment and wickedly good fun Liane is my go to guilty pleasure, but this one was a long, torturous road to dullsville. I should have listened to the critics.

    Moriarty’s usual bag of tricks is on full display here, she serves up a steamer trunk worth of baggage from infertility to alcoholism to hoarding and beyond, but as opposed to her previous books, it is lacking in humor and the characters are just not that interesting. The most exasperating factor for me, however, was the foreshadowing that felt artificial and forced for the first 200+ pages. By the time I reached the pivotal reveal my irritation had multiplied, yet I slogged on because surely NOW we would get to the Moriarty formula I’ve come to love, but it was not to be. No pony for me.

  • Elaine

    Truly

    Madly

    Boring

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