fiction

Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty

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I’ve read quite a few books that I haven’t written about here over the last few weeks. We had a super busy weekend (mushroom festival! fancy dinner out! Ft McHenry! Korean food!) followed by having a horrible cold for an entire week that I am still getting over. I also did a lot of cooking and work on Coconut & Lime so I haven’t had the time or inclination to document my reading.* I also finally bought Lightroom for the new computer! I was so tired of having to use online editing tools.

I read two more Emily Arsenault books (working on another right now) and when you read them back to back you notice so many common threads. Estranged friends. A crime taking place in early to mid-’90s with the truth coming out in the present day. Odd events happening around 2004-6. I think I can figure out exactly how old Emily Arsenault is without much trouble. They were fine but not as good as the first one I read. I’m working on her first book now so we will see how that goes.

I also read a couple of Liane Moriarty books while I had my cold. They are great beach/sick day books because they are fairly well-written, take place in Australia which is a nice change (now I really want an Anzac biscuit and may have to make some), and they do keep you guessing but are easy to read. Truly Madly Guilty was okay. It centered around an incident at a barbecue. It is basically the story of three couples. Two of the women are long-time friends although they are very different and don’t even seem to like each other that much. The one woman’s upbringing was unfortunate (her mom was a neglectful hoarder) so the other woman’s mother encouraged their friendship and made the woman basically a second daughter. As a result, their relationship is more that of sisters and history than any great fondness for each other. A party-loving neighbor invites them over to a barbecue where the defining incident occurs and sends all of the couples spiraling in different directions. The story is really more about their relationships with their spouses and each other more than what happened at the barbecue which is a good thing because after building up to the barbecue for literally half the book, what happens is anticlimactic and sort of boring. It did not deserve so many chapters devoted to “the day before the barbecue”, “the day of the barbecue’ and “the day after the barbecue”. What happened was unpleasant but didn’t have a dire outcome so I’m still puzzled as to why it was so important in the book. I almost wondered if Liane Moriarty had written the book in a more linear way but her editor/publisher broke it up to build suspense and make it more like some her other books that skip around and focus on a single incident. Anyway, the book wasn’t bad but it was not well served by having the barbecue incident built up so much. I appreciated how each character had a very distinct personality and interests that made them stand out, sometimes with books about couples (especially ones that skip around a bit) they all become muddled but this book did not have that problem.

I also read The Hypnotist’s Love Story which had a similar issue, it seemed like it might be leading up to something shocking but it really didn’t. At least that book was told in a more linear fashion so the build-up wasn’t so overdone and the truth made sense, it was just a bit dull. Having a hypnotist for the main character was fun though.

A good Australian book I read recently thanks to Netgalley was Just Another Week in Suburbia by Les Zig. I don’t think it is available here in the US yet but it is worth checking out!

*I was looking to see if there was some way I could easily list the books I am currently reading somewhere on the blog but I can’t see one besides just making a page. I wish there was some spreadsheet plugin or something I could use.

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