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.
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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!