Saturday, 6 August 2016

Truly, Madly, Guilty by Liane Moriarty

Truly, Madly, Guilty starts off as the type of chick-lit I tend to avoid. It was what I had initially feared (snobbishly) that all of Moriarty's work was like.

However that was before Big, Little Lies!

Sixteen chapters of waiting, with very little suspence or enticement to keep going, before the first big reveal occurred. That's fifty pages more than I give most books that haven't grabbed by that point. If not for my love affair with Moriarty's backlist and for Mr Books encouragement to keep going (he'd already read it), I would have abandoned ship.

My ARC cover has the tag "the novel we've all been waiting for." And I had. I had been so excited and had such high expectations that Moriarty would continue to raise the bar and write another funny, heart-warming, endearing story about some of my bestest friends.

When I first read the blurb on the back, I thought, 'oh no, it's The Slap all over again! How could she?'

I failed to connect to Clementine or Erika from the get-go and their husbands felt like blank cut-outs. Vid and Tiffany were interesting, but they seemed to be stereotypes rather than real people.

One of the things that Moriarty does really well though, and did so again in Truly Madly Guilty, was social discomfort. She captured perfectly all the weird, awkward, nuanced moments that make up our daily interactions with others. Guilt was obviously a big theme this time around and Moriarty displayed guilt in all its guises, big and small.

Normally I finish a Moriarty with an equal measure of delight and melancholy. Delight at how she spun all the threads together at the end and sadness at the thought of leaving behind all my new best friends.

In Truly Madly Guilty all the loose end were tied up with a degree of satisfaction, it just took too long to get there. Her twists and turns that I normally enjoy, came across as manipulation this time around. The pleasures weren't pleasurable enough for the amount of time you had to wait around for them.

This won't put me off reading Moriarty in the future though.

I have read enough of her backlist to feel a great deal of affection and hopefulness towards her body of work as a whole as well as anything she may do in the future.

Mr Books also struggled his way through Truly Madly Guilty for similar reasons. It prompted us to rate her books (that we've read so far) from favourite to least favourite.

My favourite Moriarty's are:

Big Little Lies
What Alice Forgot
The Husband's Secret
The Last Anniversary
Truly Madly Guilty

Mr Books favourite Moriarty's are (yes, Mr Books is one Moriarty ahead of me!):

Big Little Lies
What Alice Forgot
The Hypnotist's Love Story
The Husband's Secret
Equal last The Last Anniversary & Truly Madly Guilty

What's your favourite Moriarty?

13/20 Books of Summer (winter)

I've just realised that this review was my 900th blog post!

9 comments:

  1. Shhh. But I haven't read any Moriarty! But I am going to hear her speak in Melbourne too. Yep, it's tough. I don't think I'll get a book read before then, but my library had an audiobook of The Husband's Secret, and I've just reserved that this morning, and will try to listen to it before hand. It might be doable.

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    1. Oh and I totally thought the same thing: Haven't we already done The Slap?

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    2. It's nothing like The Slap really - in tone or style, although it does cover some of the same territory (parental guilt, responsibility, behavioural boundaries etc).

      Definitely start with one of her earlier books if you can.

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  2. I think Big Little Lies wes my fave :) Great review. Love love love LM!

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  3. Your review mirrors some of my thoughts on this one - particularly around the feeling of manipulation by the author - a shame as I'm a huge fan of her back catalogue

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  4. I've only read Hypnotist and I thought it was ordinary - so contrived. This latest one is my book groups next choice - must admit I wasn't there when it was chosen and I was a little dismayed - seems a bit fluffy compared to what we normally read!

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    1. I read lots of classics, non-fiction and contemporary award winning literature for work. Sometimes I need a lighter break and Liane's previous books have been perfect for that. She usually tells a good story with characters who feel like best friends. That's what was missing here.

      I'll be curious to hear what your book group thinks. It wont take you very long to read once you get through the very slow start.

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  5. I've only read two - Little Lies which I loved, and this one which I found disappointing. So I'm glad to hear you think others in her back catalogue are worth reading. I have The Last Anniversary waiting for me on my Kindle...

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    1. I normally save Liane's books for those times when I'm feeling overwhelmed, stressed out and unable to settle into any book at all. Her light, fun, easy stories always work a treat at these times and get me back into reading.

      I wasn't at the end of my reading tether when I started this book, so perhaps my expectations were higher...although everything I have read on Goodreads since, suggests I am not alone in feeling disappointed with TMG.

      The Last Anniversary is pretty basic, (it feels like a first book) but the characters are great, which is why it gets ahead of TMG on my list of favourites.

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