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?
Liane Moriarty is one of those authors I have always felt slightly guilty and embarrassed not to have read. I have seen rave reviews of her books online and there was so much hype around Big Little Lies when it came out earlier this year that I felt I had to be missing out on something. So, I finally got my act together and got myself a copy of Truly Madly Guilty. Why this one? Because it was the only one available at the library if I’m honest and that’s where I was when the determination to read her at last struck.
And what did I think…I think I expected too much I’m afraid and I’ve been left feeling slightly bereft as a result. I also feel slightly cheated because I felt I was promised so much by what was a great opening few chapters. An event that had shaken the lives of six adults so much they couldn’t talk about it or to each other any more – what could be better? Anyone who reads my blog regularly will know I love a good secret.
Here, I initially felt desperate to know what had happened. For the first third I found myself desperately turning pages, staying up late that first night eager for each clue and breadcrumb. Then, something happened. I got bored. I’m sorry, I just couldn’t help myself. My mind started to wander and I realised I didn’t care anymore. I was being teased too much and, as the evil page count on the kindle kept telling me, I still had hundreds of pages to go!
What kept me going was the hope that it would pick up again, re-engage me. But it didn’t. I found I was annoyed by the characters and how childish their behaviour was, how emotionally unaware of others feelings they were, and how two dimensional. It felt like Moriarty had decided each would have certain characteristics, which initially intrigued me, but that she then had to beat me over the head with them. If I heard one more time how flaky Clementine was or controlling Erika behaved I think I would have cried.
That wasn’t the only thing that was repeated. I honestly felt like I was reading the same phrases again and again. In part, I’m sure this was deliberate, say with the rain, which was described in it’s relentless more than once and I could feel how oppressive this must have ben for the characters and played into their negative moods and behaviours. But in others I just think it was Moriarty’s writing style and, whilst it will appeal to some, it just didn’t appeal to me.
Still, I carried on reading, waiting for “the moment”, the big reveal that would take my breath away and make it all worthwhile. Maybe I’ve been spoilt with other books that really have done that and maybe I expected too much but once this secret came out I was left with a bit of an oh well moment. I didn’t quite get it or why it had had such a big impact.
I realise that this is all quite negative and I always feel bad when my reviews are not glowing because I know how much effort authors put in to their books. I also know here that this is an author other people love. But I just couldn’t get away with this book. Sorry!