Review: Truly Madly Guilty

Posted August 22, 2016 / Book Reviews / 4 Comments

Review: Truly Madly GuiltyTruly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty
on July 26th 2016
Also by this author: The Husband's Secret, Big Little Lies, What Alice Forgot, Nine Perfect Strangers
(432 pages) • GoodreadsAmazon Barnes & Noble

Six responsible adults. Three cute kids. One small dog. It’s just a normal weekend. What could possibly go wrong?

Sam and Clementine have a wonderful, albeit, busy life: they have two little girls, Sam has just started a new dream job, and Clementine, a cellist, is busy preparing for the audition of a lifetime. If there’s anything they can count on, it’s each other.

Clementine and Erika are each other’s oldest friends. A single look between them can convey an entire conversation. But theirs is a complicated relationship, so when Erika mentions a last minute invitation to a barbecue with her neighbors, Tiffany and Vid, Clementine and Sam don’t hesitate. Having Tiffany and Vid’s larger than life personalities there will be a welcome respite.

Two months later, it won’t stop raining, and Clementine and Sam can’t stop asking themselves the question: What if we hadn’t gone?

In Truly Madly Guilty, Liane Moriarty takes on the foundations of our lives: marriage, sex, parenthood, and friendship. She shows how guilt can expose the fault lines in the most seemingly strong relationships, how what we don’t say can be more powerful than what we do, and how sometimes it is the most innocent of moments that can do the greatest harm.

Initial Excitement

Liane Moriarty is definitely one of my favorites. I’ve enjoyed all of her books so far and love them even more in audiobook form. When I saw that the same narrator was reading this one, I preordered the audio right away. I had just finished up an audio-binge-listen of a trilogy and definitely was ready to move on to something different. In other words… I started this book within the first week it was released, which never happens to me with audiobooks.

Summary in a Second

Six adults and three kids went to a random BBQ and clearly something happened to alter their lives forever. Much like BIG LITTLE LIES, this book went back and forth between the day of the barbecue and present day. The reader slowly learns about what happened that day and why everyone is in a tizzy. The book goes in between characters and hears their perspectives before and after the events of that day.

Storytelling & Setting

I love the Australian setting for Moriarty’s books (and especially because “Aussie author” is a square on this season’s Bookish Bingo card! Totally forgot!). My favorite thing about her books is her ability to go back and forth in time to create tension and suspense. I’m always wondering what the hell happened and can feel my curiosity and nervousness growing with each change in time or chapter. She’s a masterful storyteller, even if sometimes the end result doesn’t meet my expectations. Unfortunately, that was the case here. There were lots of intricacies within each character’s life that impacted things that day and it was masterfully crafted if you really think about it. I loved learning about some of the other side characters too, especially towards the end.

About those Characters

Clementine and Sam, plus their daughters Ruby and Holly: They were arguably the main characters of this story. Clementine is a cellist and Sam worked in marketing, and they just were typical parents hitting a snag in their marriage (especially after the events of the BBQ). I loved Ruby and Holly so much.

Vid and Tiffany, plus their daughter Dakota: Vid and Tiffany had an interesting relationship and I really liked them. Dakota was an interesting addition to the story and I totally expected a bit more about her? I don’t know. I don’t really have much to say about them, to be honest. They were just there as hosts of the BBQ.

Erika and Oliver: Damn, what a complicated backstory they had. Even though Erika was a bit much for me, I liked the two of them. I thought there was a lot of complexities in Erika’s childhood that ended up affecting things during the big event at the BBQ, so it was very well-written into the story.

All the Feels

I didn’t really have any feels except for loving the children, as usual. I always find bits and pieces of the characters that I can relate to also. Every one of her characters feel REAL. I could just picture Holly and Ruby with their little rock collection and Wisk, respectively. Loved them so much.

So, What’s the Problem?

I think I have too high of expectations for her books now. I expected to be shocked and blown away by the ending or an epilogue. In reality, the journey is really fun! I tend to forget about that when I get to the end and feel the womp-womp feeling. I didn’t predict the actual event of the barbecue, but I predicted everything after I knew what it was. I expect at least a few twists towards the end – once we think we have it figured out – so I had a feeling that wasn’t all that happened. It wasn’t a huge deal; I still enjoyed the book overall… just again, my expectations!

About that Ending

The last 2 hours of the audiobook were really interesting, as certain nuances got revealed. Again, not super shocking or anything. Nothing like THE HUSBAND’S SECRET or even BIG LITTLE LIES (even though I predicted most of that one too). A solid ending if you go in with the right expectations.


Another decently solid novel by Liane Moriarty! I haven’t been wowed since reading my first book by her, but I still consider her an auto-buy author for me. I love her writing style and the suspense she builds throughout. They’re very light, real mysteries. I’m kind of eager to head into her backlist now! I’m missing out on a few.

Quick & Dirty

Describe it in a word: suspenseful

Recommended for readers who: enjoy Moriarty’s other books

Drink this beverage with it: probably some alcohol

Recommended overall? I think so.

Thoughts in a Gif

Rating Breakdown

Plot & Premise
Writing Style
Pacing & Flow
Feels or Swoons
Addiction Level
Overall: 3.5

4 responses to “Review: Truly Madly Guilty

Leave a Reply

(Enter your URL then click here to include a link to one of your blog posts.)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.