- Non Fiction
Truly Madly Guilty (Hardcover) by Liane Moriarty
List Price: £12.99
Hardcover: 496 Pages.
Published: 28 July 2016 by Michael Joseph
Review by Anne
(4 from a possible 5)
So, what exactly happened at this barbecue ?
What the author does in this book is take a lot of characters who are all putting on some sort of a front or at a vulnerable time in their lives and then introducing a dramatic event which shakes them up and makes them rethink what is important. The event happens at a barbecue which involves three couples and their children but we don't actually find out what happens until near the end of the book. Although this is an effective way of handling the story I couldn't help but think that the author left the revelation slightly too late and I was quite frustrated by the time I found out what had happened. I can see why she had to write it this way because of the structure of the story but I can see many readers just giving up because they needed to know - of course, the skill of the writer is such that the story is really not about the barbecue at all but about the characters and their lives but it doesn't always feel like that when you are reading it !
The Book is told in a disjointed timeline and from the point of view of different characters. Each section is timed as so long before the barbecue, the day of the barbecue or so long after the barbecue. The book actually starts with one character making her way to a talk by another character quite some time after the barbeque and it then moves to and fro building up the story of the three couples, their relationships and their connections with one another, and the effects of the events of the barbecue. I didn't have any problems with this way of writing. I thought it was very effective as the reader builds up a picture of what life was like before and after the big event. We slowly realise that the events of the day have changed everything for these people and we see how each of them now lives slightly differently because of what happened.
I enjoyed this book a lot (despite the frustration of not knowing what happened). I liked the way that we built a picture slowly and the author was always releasing more information or showing us things from a slightly different point of view. It made me realise that we often put on a different persona to other people, even those that we are close to, and that sometimes it needs something drastic to get us to face up to things and sort out our priorities. Please don't think that this novel is one with a preachy message, it is actually a wryly observed and very witty look at the lives of middle class people.