Review: Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty

Goodreads/Amazon/Author Website
Release date: July 26, 2016

Publisher: Flatiron Books

Genre: Women’s Fiction 

Goodreads blurb: 

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. 


I read The Husbands Secret back in 2013 and really liked it then proceeded to eagerly read everything else Moriarty had written previously. I’ve become a big fan and was highly anticipating Truly Madly Guilty. Maybe all of my excitement lead to my slight disappointment with this one, or maybe she just missed the mark this time, I honestly can’t put my finger on it.

This novel starts out with talk of an unspeakable event that happened at a barbecue. It flashes back from the day of the barbecue to present time. At first, I was desperate to learn what had happened at this ill fated barbecue. Frankly, I’m beyond sick of reading the word barbecue and irritated that I just typed it so many times! After so much painstakingly slow build up I felt utterly tortued by the suspense surrounding this mysterious event. And I don’t mean tortued in a good way, I truly appreciate being tortued by an author in order to build tension but this was ridiculous. When it finally came time for the big reveal I honestly was so annoyed by all the aching slowness (like 300 pages!!) that I didn’t even care anymore. 

Here’s what saved this book for me; genuine characters that are completely realistic and little twists in the end that didn’t leave me breathless, yet they provided a nice turn of events that added something satisfying to the story. This ensemble cast of characters reminded me a bit of the way Elin Hildebrand creates her stories, where they’re told from various perspectives. This style allows the reader to get a glimpse into the characters lives and I was able to experience their hopes, fears, problems and issues right alongside them. I especially liked Vid and Tiffany as they were harboring secrets that showed how flawed and genuine they both are.

If you decide to give this book a chance, please have your patience ready. There are so many parts of this book that are slow and at times a bit monotonous, yet the last quarter of the book and the ending were enough to keep me from throwing the book down in frustration. If you haven’t read a Moriarty novel before, I would recommend The Husbands Secret first.

Overall rating: 3.5/5

10 thoughts on “Review: Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty

  1. Annie says:

    You’re so right, every time I think about this book now I like it a bit “less”. I still loved it, but the bbq thing made me so nervous. JUST SAY IT ALREADY!!!!

    I think what I liked most was the story with the neighbor (so tragic!) and Erica’s boyfriend, who was so sweet!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Kat says:

    I have The Husband’s Secret on my bedside table waiting to be read. It’s hard to come across mind-blowing thrillers, so I hope Moriarty’s works will be one of them. I’d be tempted to buy this book too, but best to try the first one I bought!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Allison @ The Book Wheel says:

    I think almost every review I’ve read has mixed feelings about this book (especially when compared to her previous ones). I’ve never read the author so I’m not sure if I should start this one with lowered expectations or The Husband’s Secret, which is sure to delight!

    Liked by 1 person

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