Let me just say first off that if anyone has any kind of reservations about reading this book, do not. Go out and get it. Stop reading this review, get up, and get it. Library, book store, steal it from a friend. This book is incredibly important.
I listened to this in audible, and I think that has seriously helped me like this book because of the narrator, Caroline Lee. It was her voice that brought this book to life, specifically with the Australian accent. I am pleased when aspects of the setting are represented faithfully.
Liane Moriarty has done something wonderful here. This is the first book of hers that I have read and I will admit that I was skeptical. I had heard it was a mystery surrounding mothers in a small seaside town that was full of gossip and silliness. I expected something truly ridiculous, on the level of The Couple Next Door. Boy was I wrong. So very, very wrong.
Her characters are incredible. They jump off the page (or in my case, speakers) and act, speak, and feel the way that normal people do. All of the quirks and feelings of inadequacy are rampant – and not in a way that is annoying or obnoxious. No, these women are so real it hurts. I feel as if Jane were telling me her story, chewing her gum obsessively, with her hair pulled back tight. Celeste’s apologies and covering up of her husband’s abuse – her normalizing the events – seem all too real. Madeline’s anger at her ex-husband’s leaving and her self-righteous outrage are emphatic and feel so justified. I wish I could be half the writer she is.
I know this may seem ridiculous, but I feel as if this is a book all women ought to read. Much like the Handmaid’s Tale, this novel smacks of possibility, of realness that ought to be taken seriously and noted. My favorite scene is at the end, when the murder happens, and all of the women present say that “I didn’t see anything”. Understandably, this is a murder and no one should hold onto information, but after these women have been fighting with each other, and then that clear moment of solidarity left me breathless. I think I whispered a little “Yes!” of encouragement.
She writes well and you know essentially what will happen, although the murder itself was a surprise. I had messaged my friend earlier in the week with my predictions and she did not respond, as I had learned later that I had gotten it right and she didn’t want to say anything in the affirmative.
Ah I have so many feelings about this book and I couldn’t stop thinking about it during the week. The problem with audio books is that there is no good time to listen except when you are in the car or at home alone. With a book, you can just take it with you wherever (which is frequently the case with me) and it isn’t as rude to read as it is to listen to something with your earbuds. So often, I had to sit and wait quite impatiently to pick the story up again. And I was ever so impatient.
I realize that this is a bit rambling but I was so enamored with this story and I can’t put it well into words.
This is a novel for character study, essentially. The mystery is great but honestly, the best part are the rich, vibrant, ugly characters.
Now I can watch the HBO mini-series.