Book Review: Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty

 

NinePerfectStrangersCoverOfficial Synopsis from Goodreads: Could ten days at a health resort really change you forever? In Liane Moriarty’s latest page-turner, nine perfect strangers are about to find out…

Nine people gather at a remote health resort. Some are here to lose weight, some are here to get a reboot on life, some are here for reasons they can’t even admit to themselves. Amidst all of the luxury and pampering, the mindfulness and meditation, they know these ten days might involve some real work. But none of them could imagine just how challenging the next ten days are going to be.

Frances Welty, the formerly best-selling romantic novelist, arrives at Tranquillum House nursing a bad back, a broken heart, and an exquisitely painful paper cut. She’s immediately intrigued by her fellow guests. Most of them don’t look to be in need of a health resort at all. But the person that intrigues her most is the strange and charismatic owner/director of Tranquillum House. Could this person really have the answers Frances didn’t even know she was seeking? Should Frances put aside her doubts and immerse herself in everything Tranquillum House has to offer – or should she run while she still can?

It’s not long before every guest at Tranquillum House is asking exactly the same question.

Combining all of the hallmarks that have made her writing a go-to for anyone looking for wickedly smart, page-turning fiction that will make you laugh and gasp, Liane Moriarty’s Nine Perfect Strangers once again shows why she is a master of her craft.

Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Setting: Present day Australia (set “twenty minutes outside of Jarrabong” which is mentioned as being “six hours northwest of Sydney”)
My copy came from: I purchased the hardcover from Costco.

*** this post contains affiliate links ***

Content Warning: fat shaming, body shaming, drug use, suicide, and grief


Review: Fast paced and fun, with a dose of suspense. I really enjoyed this book! Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty is one of those books where you can tell that the author had a lot of fun writing the book. The characters pop off the page and capture your heart and keep you coming back to find out what happens. I could not put this book down, and while there were quite a few characters, they are all easy to tell apart and memorable in their own way.

She couldn’t shake the feeling that if she didn’t record this moment on her phone then it wasn’t really happening, it didn’t count, it wasn’t real life. She knew that was irrational but she couldn’t help it. She literally felt twitchy without her phone.

Nine Perfect Strangers is told in different point of view chapters, and I counted twelve different narrators. Our main character is Frances, a romance novelist who is unlucky in love, and arrives at Tranquillum House, a place of rest and relaxation, that is run by Masha. Masha has different approaches to treatment, and the title of the book references the nine characters that visit Tranquillum House and are subjected to Masha’s treatment. The characters, male and female, are visiting for different reasons including weight loss, couple’s counseling, or for a relaxing getaway.

It looked like girls were controlled by their feelings but the opposite was true. Girls had excellent control of their feelings. They spun them around like batons: Now I’m crying! Now I’m laughing! Who knows what I’ll do next! Not you! A boy’s emotions were like baseball bats that blindsided him.

I don’t want to say much of anything about the treatment, but the book shifts about halfway through, and gets a bit bizarre. Now this shift some may find ridiculous, but I was intrigued by it and I had to keep reading to know how it would all resolve!

With the characters, Frances was my favorite. She’s quite funny, and her meltdown on the side of the road on her way to Tranquillum House was quite memorable! Another character I liked was Tony, a former sports star, who witnesses Frances’s meltdown. Masha, the director of Tranquillum House, was quite the character as well!

Sometimes your life changes so slowly and imperceptibly that you don’t notice it at all until one day you wake up and think: How did I get here? But other times life changes in an instant, with a lightning stroke of good or bad luck, with glorious or tragic consequences. You win the lottery. You step out onto a pedestrian crossing at the wrong time. You get a phone call from a lost love at exactly the right time. And suddenly your life takes a violent swerve in an entirely new direction.

There’s sadness and romance, suspense and drama, humor and seriousness, and this is just an all around fascinating book. I was drawn in right from the beginning, and was interested the whole way through. There is quite a lot here worth discussing, see my content warning above for some of the main themes of the book, and this would make an excellent book club choice. It’s bizarre enough to get people talking, and the characters are memorable and make decisions you’ll want to talk about! I don’t want to say too much as what’s fun about this book is letting the entire plot unfold as you read.

Bottom Line: Fast, fun, and unexpected.


And I’m going to take a short little break from posting on this blog for the holidays, but I still hope to be looking at other posts and commenting, etc. I’ll be back in the New Year, probably with My Favorite Reads of 2018! Happy Holidays everyone!

 

 

LINKS ***the Amazon link is an affiliate link which means I receive a small commission if you click the link and make a purchase***

Amazon
Goodreads
Author Website
My Reviews of other Liane Moriarty books, Big Little Lies and Truly Madly Guilty

Are you a fan of Liane Moriarty? Which of her books is your favorite? Have you read Nine Perfect Strangers yet?

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15 thoughts on “Book Review: Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty

    1. Thank you! 🙂 What Alice Forgot was the first Moriarty book that I read, and it is such a great introduction to her work! Big Little Lies is my favorite, but What Alice Forgot and now this one are a close second!

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  1. Thanks for including fat shaming in your content warning. I don’t know if I just haven’t been paying attention or if there is an actual shift, but I feel like my blog friends have been thinking more about fat shaming since I started my quest to find books with fat women who are treated with dignity. THANK YOU!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Your welcome! Thanks for bringing it to so many peoples attention!
      Sometimes I can’t tell if the shaming is the author’s opinion entering the work, or if it is just part of a character’s characterization. I felt in this read that it was just part of characterization, but thought I should mention it regardless.

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      1. I wouldn’t be surprised if nasty thoughts about fat people were also how the author felt. Typically, people will be nice to other fat people until they meet someone who is “TOO fat,” as if there is a cut off. These thoughts are ingrained into us by society, so it’s really hard to not be mean. The way I think about it is if the author allows the fat character to be seen as a human with dignity by the end of the book, it’s part of the plot and not the author’s personal feelings.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. All of the characters here I felt were treated with dignity the whole way through. I really got the impression that the author enjoyed writing these particular characters! There actually wasn’t a fat character in the book, just a couple of characters who were at the resort to lose weight, and so most of the shaming was in their thoughts, or others thoughts (not necessarily directed at any specific characters, but rather fatness in general). The book really wasn’t about weight though. There was also one character who was super obsessed with social media and her appearance and had gone through a lot of plastic surgery.

          Liked by 1 person

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