Book Review- Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty



In one of her most recent novels, Liane Moriarty proves her writing style stands the test of time with this intertwining story about a group of friends whose lives are forever changed after a seemingly mundane backyard barbeque.

Erika and Oliver are a simple couple who enjoy a clean and orderly life without children, and both hide an ugly past with problematic parents. Erika’s childhood friend, Clementine, and her husband Sam, lead a more hectic life and seem to be the exact opposite type of people, but the foursome still enjoys getting together occasionally. When Erika’s neighbor Vid invites them over to his lavish backyard for a Sunday evening barbeque, she finds herself tentatively agreeing. Little does she know, this decision is one she’ll soon come to regret.

Moriarty continues to do what she does best, and leaves her readers hanging for the first half of her novel. The first chapter makes it apparent that something dramatic happens during this barbeque, but suspense is built up until the accident is revealed deep into the reading. The accident makes all characters involved question their lives, morals, and relationships. Clementine and Sam, who were once the energetic couple everyone envied, find their marriage in shambles and on the brink of failure. Erika and Oliver question if their friendships are real, and wonder if their troublesome pasts are to blame.  Vid and his wife Tiffany, who hosted the get together, grapple with guilt.

One of my favorite concepts about this novel is the side-stories that occur beyond the main plot line. Even though the tale of this disaster takes the spotlight, other stories prove to be of importance later in the reading. Erika’s mother, a severe hoarder, made her childhood a nightmare and Erika now struggles to maintain any kind of relationship with her mother, who is in desperate need of help but will not accept it. Vid and Tiffany’s grumpy next door neighbor, Harry, is a character that begs to be disliked but ends up playing a crucial role in the storyline. Clementine is a cellist who has an important audition coming up, and begins to question whether this hobby has become too much of a burden on her lifestyle.

As always, the latter half of Moriarty’s novel will keep you turning pages as everything comes together and the story unfolds. Her story explores the meaning of love, friendship, and parenthood in a way that gets readers thinking about these concepts in their own lives. Although the story takes some time to truly come to life, anyone who enjoys a read that gets you deeply invested in the lives of the characters, this one's for you.