Book Reviews

Book Review: Truly Madly Guilty, Liane Moriarty

I’ve been putting off writing this review for so long, that I’ve actually finished reading another book already. Thing is, I don’t like being a negative nelly, but I had such a love/hate relationship with this book. Picking a book to read is so much different than picking a movie to watch. With a movie, you know the cast, you’ve seen at least 1 feature trailer, and you’ve got a pretty good idea about the plot.


When it comes to a book, you don’t know any of the characters, and personally, I like to make the decision from the blurb on the back and recommendations alone. It’s fun to go in as blind as possible. I haven’t read enough to know what my favourite book genre is yet, but when I read the blurb for Truly Madly Guilty, I got a little bit giddy with excitement. It sounded like my favourite kind of movie! Here it is if you’ve never heard of the book before:

“Despite their differences, Erika and Clementine have been best friends since they were children. So when Erika needs help, Clementine should be the obvious person to turn to. Or so you’d think. For Clementine, as a mother of a two desperately trying to practise for the audition of a lifetime, the last thing she needs is Erika asking for something, again.

But the barbecue should be the perfect way to forget their problems for a while. Especially when their hosts, Vid and Tiffany, are only too happy to distract them.

Which is how it all spirals out of control…”

giphy (8)

Essentially, you have 3 couples who meet one day for a barbecue. Each chapter focuses on the viewpoint of one of these characters, first in the present day, dealing with the aftermath of what transpired, and then on the day of the barbecue itself, and as the book goes on you slowly start to learn just what happened that has caused so much chaos and upset.

The main issue I had was just HOW LONG this book was, and how many pages were used telling me nothing at all. I think it was over half way that I finally learnt what happened, and by then my reaction was sort of ‘is that it?’. It was a terrible thing that happened of course, but given so much time to come up with theories, I genuinely thought a murder had happened that someone was trying to cover up.

giphy (9)

I spent every day reading this having a not so quiet rage about how I still didn’t know what happened, and when I did, I raged about how it shouldn’t have been that big of a deal. Plus, by the time I learned what went down, I kind of stopped caring all together. There was a final twist towards the very end that struck a chord with me, but it was built up to in such a way that you kind of assumed it was coming.

What also didn’t help was that every character is easy to hate at multiple parts of the story. That wouldn’t matter so much if there was a lot going on, but so much time is spent just describing these characters in their day to day lives, that they just grate on your nerves a little.

Still, I think it’s a book that’s worth reading, but the key is setting your expectations at the right level before going in. Perhaps that’s my fault for going in practically blind, or expecting a Gone Girl style twist, but I expected too much. If you can focus on every chapter and enjoy it for what it is, I imagine it would be a very enjoyable read! It hasn’t put me off Liane Moriarty as a writer though, because I’ve heard her other novels are great, so watch this space.

11 thoughts on “Book Review: Truly Madly Guilty, Liane Moriarty

  1. I have read two of her books prior, Big Little Lies and The Last Anniversary, and enjoyed them both immensely. Her style is very accessible, almost like your best friend telling you a juicy bit of gossip (uh, for weeks straight). I’m willing to go in blind (and typically do), but I’m not sure I can bite on this one after reading your review?

    Long? Not exactly a great twist? Uhhhhhh……maaaaaybeeeee, then? Perhaps? (the premise sounds intriguing, though)


    1. I think I’m going to give Big Little Lies a read before starting the TV Show!
      If you’re a fan of her work I’m sure you’ll enjoy Truly Madly Guilty! I blame my love for twisty movies for my expectations really. If you can enjoy the story for what it is, rather than waiting for an ‘I see dead people’ kind of twist you’ll be fine I’m sure!


  2. Nice review! I was getting ready to read this one (sometime soon), but didn’t quite know what to expect. It drives me crazy when a story builds up to a big moment and then fails to deliver.


    1. I do wonder whether I set my expectations too high (maybe I was expecting The Sixth Sense in book form?) and I’ve heard Liane Moriarty’s other books are superb so I’m certainly not giving up on her yet.


  3. Thanks for trying to put this into words. These feelings are hard to capture so reviews can be difficult so I appreciate your trouble!


  4. Sounds like such a frustrating book to get through. One of the worst things to happen is the building of silent rage as you read. I usually push through just to write a review where I can trash it. Yes, I’m that mature 😀


    1. I think my husband wished my rage was silent, haha. Instead he got a daily ragey commentary about how I STILL DIDN’T KNOW WHAT HAPPENED AT THE DAMN BARBECUE.
      Hey, these kind of reviews are the most fun to write though 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Haven’t tried any of Liane Moriarty’s, but I had a fun time reading Jaclyn Moriarty’s A Year of Secret Assigments, and Feeling Sorry for Celia waaaay back when I was um still young. Haha. They have another sister, Nicola, who is also a writer.

    Also I heard one of Liane’s books called Big Little Lies is now an HBO miniseries. So yeah, I agree with m.brown on Moriarty’s writing having “accessibility”.

    I think I rely mostly on recommendations from people I know, or online. That is how I usually go about picking/buying a book. And yeah, the blurb has to interest me, of course. 🙂


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