Truly Madly Guilty [review]

Truly Madly Guilty - Liane Moriarty

[Synopsis]

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.

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[My Review]

I’m a huge fan of Liane Moriarty’s books, but a new novel for any author that’s so loved is always a risk to me – will it be a another great read or fall a little flat?

Well, I loved Truly Madly Guilty. It’s a brilliantly written story about everyday life. Though of course things happen in the narrative that aren’t strictly every day – and may never happen to some people, hopefully – the way this incident affects all these people’s lives are portrayed in a realistic, down to earth way which really makes you think about how one mistake / lack of  concentration could potentially have such dire results.

The characters are, as always, wonderfully crafted by Moriarty. There are 3 married couples who form the main cast of the book: Celementine and Sam, Erika and Oliver and Tiffany and Vid, all with their own very distinct personalities – with the kind of character traits you’d probably recognise in someone you know yourself – and they feel really well rounded and real. This is partly why I think the characters resonate so much, because by the end of the book you feel like you know them really well. Another reason for this is partly due to the fact that different parts of the book are told from different’s perspectives character, so you gain a glimpse into their minds and ways of thinking as the novel goes on.

The storyline has emotion, drama, humour and, as I mentioned before, a real element of this is what real life can be like. It really teases out what actually happened at that fateful BBQ, and I quite enjoyed slowly learning more – though I’m sure for some this could get frustrating. If you’re looking for ultra-fast paced story then this novel probably isn’t for you, as it reveals more, but if you’ve read any other books by Liane Moriarty you’d know this – she crafts stories that never feel rushed but move along at just the right pace, making the story feel more authentic and realistic.

I really enjoyed this novel. It may not beat some of her other amazing work but that’s really just because the standard is set so high and perhaps this wasn’t quite as absorbing as those. Definitely worth a read though and still easily worth 4 stars!

[Rating: 4/5]

Many thanks to Penguin – Michael Joseph and Netgalley for providing a copy of this novel in return for an honest review.

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