A novel about three seemingly happy couples. 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.
Not a single page disappoints ... Truly Madly Guilty may take place on the other side of the world, but Moriarty’s sly sense of humor, vivid characters and her frank appraisal of suburban life make it clear that this barbecue could have happened anywhere, to anyone. The dilemma is universal — and irresistible. The only difficulty with Truly Madly Guilty? Putting it down.
It has all the requisite trademarks of one of her hits (The Husband’s Secret, What Alice Forgot), a three-word title included. It probes some of the things she writes about best: fraught friendships, covert backbiting, stale marriages. And its format has become standard for her, with brief, maddening flashes of Whatever-It-Is that don’t gel until she’s ready to let them. All of it is formulaic by now. But it’s a shame to see her resort to the level of contrivance that this book requires. You’d have to be a very dedicated Moriarty fan to believe much of anything that happens post-crisis.
Unfortunately, all of the present-day distress overshadows the final reveal. By the time readers discover what really happened on that 'ordinary day,' we’re preoccupied with things going on in the present. What will happen to Erika’s mum? Is Clementine going to win an orchestra seat? Can Tiffany steer her little family in the right direction? Even faster alternating chapters don’t help. Still, Moriarty is a deft storyteller who creates believable, relatable characters.