Truly Madly Guilty, by Liane Moriarty, is a treasure found on the sale shelves of the local library. I have to admit, part of the reason I bought the book is because of the author’s name–what bibliophile wouldn’t want to read a book by Moriarty?
Six adults, three children, and one dog all go to a barbecue together. While there, something unspeakable happens. Something that effects each person in different ways and threatens to pull apart lifelong friendships and ruin marriages.
Liane Moriarty does an excellent job portraying each of these individual characters as individuals. Almost every character in this book, if they have more than one scene, becomes the point of view character at one point or another, but it’s never confusing. It’s told third person limited, with these alternating points of view, and I fell into the heads of each character as I read their individual chapters.
The book also alternates between flashback and present day, with “The day of the barbeque” in front of the flashbacks. In this way, little after little of what actually happened that day is interspersed with the characters dealing with the aftermath and trauma. In this way, the reveal takes place almost entirely over the course of the book, and we learn intimately about each character.
I love how Liane Moriarty leaves little clues as to what happened scattered throughout the book before the reveal. And let me tell you, dear reader, I was so sure I figured it out. I practically gloated when I picked up a phrase here, a reaction there, an exclusion there, in the present-day chapters. And then…and then…
I was wrong. Yup, I had picked up on all these clues, and gotten some minor details right, but the big, all-important, “What happened on the day of the barbecue?” I was dead wrong.
I’d encourage you to go to your bookstore, or your public library, and request or purchase a copy of this book. Written in a similar style as a whodunnit murder mystery, but with much more emphasis on the inner lives of the characters, it is full of heart, heartache, and was obviously a labor of love.