Tag Archives: Flatiron Books

Review: Truly Madly Guilty

Truly Madly Guilty

Truly Madly Guilty
By Liane Moriarty
Flatiron Books, 9781250069801, 2017, 560pp.

The Short of It:

What could go wrong at a barbecue? Plenty.

The Rest of It:

This is the second Moriarty book I’ve read, the first being Big Little Lies. As much as I liked Big Little Lies, I think I enjoyed Truly Madly Guilty a bit more.

Both books open with the knowledge that something bad has happened. In this book, this “incident” takes place at a neighborhood barbecue. Just your everyday, neighborhood barbecue with a few neighbors and a couple of mutual friends. As the story unfolds, the chapters count the reader down to the event itself. This method of storytelling creates a lot of tension in the best way possible. I could not turn those pages fast enough and the book stands at 560 pages so that’s telling you something.

The story mostly focuses on three couples, Erika and Oliver, Clementine and Sam, and Tiffany and Vid. These couples are vastly different from one another. Their views on marriage, children and social gatherings are flaunted for all to see as the tension builds between them. All presented in the most delicious, dishy way. Erika and Clementine were tossed together as kids but do they even like one another? Vid and Tiffany are over-the-top with their lifestyle and a bit flashy but what harm could a little barbecue cause? It’s just a meal among friends. Clementine and Sam have their own issues to deal with so why are they always roped into other people’s problems?

The storytelling feels so personal. Almost voyeuristic. When the details of the incident are finally revealed to the reader, you immediately wonder how they will survive it. How will each couple deal with the information they have in front of them? The not-knowing makes it even more of a page-turner.

Friends, this was a good one. Plenty of tension, good story, suspenseful without being unrealistic and characters who come full circle. This is one of those complete package reads. For me, a perfect read.

Source: Purchased
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.

Review: This Is How It Always Is

This Is How It Always Is

This Is How It Always Is
By Laurie Frankel
Flatiron Books, 9781250088567,  January 2018, 336pp.

The Short of It:

A good book to discuss with a group because you will definitely want to talk about it after reading it.

The Rest of It:

This Is How It Always Is is a novel. It reads like a true story, and the author does in fact have a transgender child but it is a work of fiction. I had to remind myself of this many, many times while reading it.

Penn and Rosie have five sons, two older boys, a set of twins and then Claude. From a very young age, Claude is highly intelligent and interested in things that his brothers are not. Dressing up, for one. While young, this doesn’t appear to be an issue. In fact, his grandmother takes great pleasure in buying Claude tea-length dresses and girly things to wear at home but eventually, Claude wants to wear these things in public.

Rosie, a doctor, doesn’t see an issue with it. She figures he’s young and should be able to express himself however he sees fit. Penn, doesn’t have an issue with it either but he is more aware of the problems that it could cause. Perhaps, they should meet with the school administrators to discuss it. Once they do, they realize the challenges involved.

Claude becomes Poppy, but how much do they share? Do they make it public? Tell Poppy’s friends? The neighbors? Co-workers?  If you had a child who was Poppy’s friend, would you want to know? Think about sleepovers, shared restrooms, etc.

Poppy’s story is hard to put down. As a parent, it would be a tough situation to be in. I’m not sure how I’d handle the situation myself. There were decisions made that made me want to scream at the parents but then I’d turn a few pages and feel empathy for their situation. Most of all, I felt for Poppy.

Because one of the parents is a doctor, we get the medical aspect of Poppy’s transformation but only a taste of it since she is so young. Hormone blockers are mentioned. Surgery is hinted at for a page or two. At the age of ten, is it right for a parent to consider surgery when the child could easily change their mind? That brings up another topic entirely. Is gender something you can change your mind about or something bigger?

There were aspects of the novel that I didn’t care for. I didn’t like that they ended up in Thailand even though much was revealed there. It seemed a little too convenient and not something that could actually happen. I do feel that the author did a really good job of presenting the issues in a clear way. I was conflicted the entire time I was reading it. I don’t know if a person can love a book like this because Poppy experiences so much heartache and angst but I love that the author put the topic out there because I am still thinking about the story now.

If you are stuck in a reading rut and need something to get you reading again, This Is How It Always Is will definitely get you reading and thinking.

Source: Borrowed
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.