Buy “Truly Madly Guilty (Audible Audio Edition) Liane Moriarty, Caroline Lee, Macmillan Audio Books” Online
"This is a story that begins with a barbeque". So begins Truly Madly Guilty. Erika and Clementine have been friends since school. Erika had a difficult childhood and Clementine’s home and family became something of a refuge for her. Now, years later, both are married. Clementine is a cellist, married to Sam, with two young daughters. Erika and her husband Oliver are childless and fanatically tidy and orderly. They invite Clementine and her husband Sam over for afternoon tea, but it evolves into a BBQ at their neighbour’s house. And at that BBQ, something will happen. An event which will be extremely traumatic for everyone who is there. That’s the premise for this book. From the start we know that something significant has happened. We know that Erika has problems remembering it, that Clementine doesn’t want to think about it, that their husbands are struggling with their feelings. But it will take until over the halfway mark – a looong time – before we find out what happened and after all that build up and suspense the truth is more than a little anticlimatic. Even then, Moriarty teases us with the idea that there is more to be revealed, and while this is true, it’s not enough and not sufficiently important. Essentially, it’s a book that’s structured on a flimsy base. There are glimpses here and there of Moriarty’s trademark humor and relatable characters but somehow I didn’t warm to the story as I have to others that she’s written. Check it out!
Truly Madly Guilty Audible Audiobook – Unabridged Liane Moriarty (Author), Review
This is the first novel by Liane Moriarty I haven’t loved and rewarded with five stars; and boy, did it fall short of all her others! How the plot is revealed to the reader is perhaps the most frustrating and insulting tease I’ve ever encountered in fiction. There are scads of super short chapters swinging from "the day of the barbecue" to the depressed present, with everyone unnerved and raw from the horrible event that is tauntingly kept from us, inching forward microscopically like an itch we can’t scratch. The big reveal, three-fourths of the way through, has already been figured out by, I’m guessing, most of the readers; and the feeling is having been duped to keep reading to "find out" what has become obvious a fourth of the way through. And who cares? The big horrible event was incidental to the relationships, which in themselves were barely engaging enough to follow. I knew I was being duped by the technique of tiny little wisps of "barbecue day" offered with no new information to edge the plot forward; but I let myself be led along for no reward in terms of human interest. . -Read Reviews-
I find novels like this manipulative: a big mystery is introduced, the narrative skips from the present action to the details of the fateful event, but the reveal happens SO slowly that it’s irritating. Do what I did: start reading at page 190, read only the chapters titled "The day of the barbecue," stop reading at page 290, and then go back and read from the beginning. I’m also tired of the writing style that ends chapters with a cliffhanger that isn’t resolved for a couple more chapters. For instance, a chapter ends with someone screaming someone’s name, but the next chapter is about a totally different scene that you have to wade through before you get the resolution of the cliffhanger. I enjoy an author slowly building characters and relationships, but not when there are so many references to someone not being able to forget that barbecue without saying why, or someone who wishes they’d never gone to that barbecue, but not saying why. Moriarty lays the foreboding on thick, but teases her readers for over two hundred pages before letting us in on the secret! Two hundred pages is fine for a plot twist, but not for the central theme that motivates every character for the whole novel. Do you want to know what the tragedy is? Because I think the book reads better if you know it from the beginning. Three couples attend a barbecue at which one of their small children has a serious accident and they all blame themselves and each other. They go through various levels of self-recrimination and resentment for enjoying the party and not paying enough attention to the children. It’s not such a tragedy that it really merits the 250-page build-up and I wonder if Moriarty’s draft wasn’t more linear and her publisher rearranged it to make it more tantalizing. Moriarty’s an excellent writer. Her story doesn’t need a gimmicky hook to keep us reading, but this novel is structured as if it does. Other books by this author have more integrity than this. Read those.