Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Truly Madly Guilty: My take on the book by Liane Moriarty (& Reese Witherspoon & Nicole Kidman's next project)


For those of us who were obsessed with Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman's adaptation of Big Little Lies, the news that the stars had already optioned the rights to Liane Moriarty's most recent novel Truly Madly Guilty got us talking. And reading. I love Moriarty—she knows women so well, and writes them so fluidly—but I hadn't read this one published in 2016. 

The good news is that Witherspoon & Kidman are turning it into another mini-series. Good news because these limited series allow us to spend so much more time delving into all the delicious details and really getting to know the characters.

A summer backyard barbecue. Three couples. Some cute kids and a cranky next door neighbor. What could go wrong? With Moriarty, plenty. I spotted the beach read (you don't read Moriarty expecting Tolstoy) on a shelf at Tesco in London while on a European tour & snapped it up for less than ten American dollars. What a deal! And it sounded like the perfect choice to take across the channel to Paris and beyond. 

It was. Truly Madly Guilty takes an ordinary event and the hint of something horrible happening at it, and by going back and forth in time, withholding the essential key event of that barbecue, teases the reader, much as the author did in Big Little Lies. Life in suburbia, marriage, parenthood, friendship and sex, all gone a little wild. Six key flawed characters to love.

Vid, the barbecue host. Described as a Tony Soprano type, a wealthy electrician who loves to entertain lavishly. His wife, the super sexy Tiffany who has everyone at the barbecue—the men and the women—thinking sex. Their book loving ten year old daughter Dakota, your basic introvert who suffers her parents outsized personalities.

Clementine, a cellist, struggling to balance motherhood with her aspirations to be a member of the orchestra at the Sydney Opera House. Sam, her husband, a mid-level marketing executive. The parents of two adorable little girls, the couple's strained marriage is a familiar Moriarty motif.

Erika. Clementine's best friend since childhood, and her husband, Oliver, the sober, responsible, boring duo in the sextet. A childless couple, they dote on Clementine and Sam's daughters. 

More than any of the marriages, the key relationship is Clementine and Erika's friendship, a friendship that began at the insistence of Clementine's mother to 'be kind' when the girls were children. If you're looking for depth, it's the exploration of this old friendship, founded on a basic imbalance that lies beneath the surface of their real affection for each other—a neediness on Erika's part, a resentment on Clementine's—that provides it. 

As for the fun and sexy elements of a good, fast, beachy read, look to the larger than life Vid and 'super hot' Tiffany. On the surface, all bling and glitter, they're probably the most honest, authentically themselves people in the book. To be honest, Vid, ostentatious but absolutely brazenly himself is one of my favorite characters and I can't help wondering who will play him in the upcoming adaptation.

My only problem with the book is the title: I start typing Truly Madly Guilty and can't help writing Truly Madly Deeply. I've had to delete two mis-typed tweets on the book already! Go figure!





After schlepping the book along with me throughout Europe—I took the book with me to Harrod's thinking it would be Vid's cup of tea— I ultimately left my copy at Gatwick, the south terminal, gate 12. 



On the inside cover I wrote a note inviting whoever finds the book to take it along with them on their own travels. 
I hope it doesn't get swept into the rubbish bin instead! 


#TrulyMadlyGuilty   #BookJourney





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