Book Review: Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty

trulymadlyguiltycoverSynopsis: Clementine and Erica have been friends since childhood. One day, they and their husbands attend a barbecue at Erika’s neighbors house. What happens there is shrouded in mystery, and Truly Madly Guilty weaves different point of views and timelines together to make sense of what happened that day.

Review: I enjoyed the first half of the book very much, but the book drags on for far too long.

Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty is a good book. I really loved the first half of the book, I was caught up in the mystery of what happened that day at the barbecue, and I was interested in the characters. But then what happened was revealed, and the story just took too long to come to a conclusion.

Our main characters are Clementine and Erica. They have been best friends since childhood, and have an interesting relationship. Are they really friends, or do they secretly hate and resent each other? Erica had a troubled childhood, and Clementine has seemingly had the perfect life. This comes into play here, and I found their relationship refreshing to read about.

Clementine and Erika are each married, with Clementine having children and Erika having none, and this book tackles the issue of having kids vs not having kids, and brings up infertility. Besides infertility, hoarding is also a focus here, and these were both interesting side plots to this story.

Besides Clementine and Erika and their spouses, the scene of the barbecue is at Vid and Tiffany’s house, Erika’s neighbors, who happen to like Clementine and her husband more than they like Erika and her husband. Vid is a larger-than-life character, always happy and talking and inviting everyone over. I know a lot of people like Vid, so I enjoyed him. Vid’s wife, Tiffany, is that annoyingly beautiful and perfect looking friend, who also happens to be nice and smart.

You get a peek into all of these different character’s heads before, during, and after the barbecue, and it’s great to see inside all the different characters.

I liked all of the characters; there wasn’t anyone who was annoying or unlikeable. No one whose narration I wanted to skip through.

The lead up to the events of the barbecue was well done, and had just the right amount of drama and tension. The event itself was spellbinding, but then the aftermath just fell flat for me. It lasted a bit too long, and everything dragged on and on and on. So, I think that the ending could’ve been written tighter, and perhaps edited down about 45 pages or so.

Sorry for the deliberately vague review, it’s best to go into this book without knowing anything about it, and I’ve deliberately not said anything specific here.

Bottom Line: Spellbinding in parts, but the ending drags on for a bit too long.

Links to Truly Madly Guilty on Amazon and Goodreads

You might like to read:

  • Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty: This is the better book and is one of my favorite reads so far this year! Read my review here.  Links to Amazon and Goodreads
  • Coming Clean by Kimberly Rae Miller: A memoir that talks about what it is like to grow up with a hoarder. We read this in my book club and had a great discussion about it! Links to Amazon and Goodreads
  • A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman: There is one character in Truly Madly Guilty that really reminds me of Ove. This is another book club pick, and an excellent read! Read my review here and links to Amazon and Goodreads

Have you read Truly Madly Guilty? What is your favorite Liane Moriarty book?


19 thoughts on “Book Review: Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty

  1. When I saw that this was only 617 words long, I had a hunch that maybe you didn’t like the book. So many books tend to disappoint after enthralling in the beginning.

    Despite being deliberately vague, you’ve described the book very well. Great review. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! It is frustrating when a book doesn’t live up to the beginning. The great thing about this book and Liane Moriarty’s writing in general is how you are pulled in to the story – getting small bits of info here and there, so that when all is revealed you don’t feel cheated. But she has definitely written better books than this one!

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  2. Good review. I am now dying to read . . . The first half, then slog through the ending. Anything to find out what you didn’t tell us! You did a great job of not giving it away. That must have been very hard to do. I know what a great writer Moriarty is from reading “Big Little Lies”.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 🙂 thank you! I loved Big Little Lies so, so much, so this was disappointing in comparison. This book has gotten mixed reviews, so I went into it not expecting to like it, and actually did enjoy it more than I expected to! But the ending just takes sooo long.

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    1. Ahh Big Little Lies was so good! I just keep thinking about that ending. I’ve read most of her books and they are all pretty good and held my interest. Big Little Lies was by far and away my favorite of hers though.

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  3. I’ve seen this one all over the place lately. I was wondering if it was taking its turn on the hype train. I guess so. Thanks for saving me the pain of finding out. I just read this book that dragged like that and it felt like it would never end. It’s so hard to stick with a book like that. Hoarding is something I’ve never seen in a book. I bet that was interesting. My dad has a thing for that show Hoarders and I was visiting and had to runaway from the TV. I’m curious what that would be like on paper. I doubt I’d ever read this one though. I can’t handle slow books that don’t amount to anything by the end. Nice review, Ami! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! 🙂 Yeah, Liane Moriarty is a fairly popular author right now, and her book Big Little Lies is being made into a TV miniseries on HBO starring Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon, and Shailene Woodley. Big Little Lies was an amazing book – I couldn’t put it down and re-read the ending multiple times. This book here, Truly Madly Guilty, just came out at the end of July, so a lot of people are reading it now! Her books are usually excellent, and this was just wasn’t as good as her others. But the first half was really great!
      Ahh – when Hoarders is on I can’t look away from the TV. I will sit there for hours and watch the Hoarders marathons, so I try not to turn it on at all! It is so fascinating to me why people hoard. The memoir Coming Clean that I mention is very interesting and has more insight into hoarding.

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  4. I can’t remember if I wrote this comment on your blog recently or someone else’s, but I can’t handle books that tell me something happened early on and then don’t tell me what for 200+ pages. I just want to skip the entire book and get to the end. Or, I end up reading so fast because I’m annoyed and want to know, so I’m really missing much of what’s written. Movies are short enough that I don’t mind not know what’s happening until the very end, because I’m usually only spending 2 hours re-watching that movie to get the new experience of knowing what’s going on and seeing all the clues in the script that led to it that I missed on the first watch. But books? No, I’m not reading them again.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, I know what you mean! If it is done well, I really enjoy it, but like this one, it was done well up to the event, and then the fallout afterward didn’t quite live up to the beginning of the book. This is one book that might work better as a movie, as a lot of the internal monologue would be scrapped, and that is kind of what dragged on and on and on at the end.

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