But wait there’s more- “Truly Madly Guilty” by Liane Moriarty

June 5, 2017 at 3:43 pm 2 comments

Moriarty is pretty hit or miss for me.  She is experiencing a surge of new readers because of the HBO miniseries “Big Little Lies.”  And that is great because some of her books are quite fun.  But a fun read for me also has to be well written and some stories even a good Reese Witherspoon series can’t save.  This was one.  

Now in all fairness, Moriarty has some pretty good character development in “Truly Madly Guilty” and her writing is, as usual, pretty good.  But sadly the story for her has become contrived and formulaic.  

An event happens that is alluded to in the beginning – you the reader are in the dark – and all of the characters have a perspective on how that event changed them.  The effect of the before and after.    You as the reader find out what happened about two-thirds of the way into the book.  Then it is all about the aftermath for the characters, a resolution, a pat on the back and you are on your way. 

This technique of keeping the reader in the dark so it is suspenseful while all of the characters know everything that has happened is not necessarily a bad technique.  In fact, it is one of the top ten ways to keep readers  engaged and has been used for centuries. But it is quite the favorite of a lot of authors right now and it is getting wearisome.  Moriarty used this technique in “Big, Little Lies” and I feel like her publisher said “write that again but different storyline that maybe Nicole and Reese will like too.”

This technique of “but wait there’s more” means that the writer is relying on the hook not your investment in the story or the characters.  And frankly, a good hook isn’t enough for me.  I want the author to do more.  

I am not done with Moriarty, I think she has more good stories if she can move past the formula that was her biggest hit and maybe move to a more character-driven story or something with a straight timeline so the story carries the reader.   So, I will stick it out.  

Until then I am reading the new book from Paula Hawkins that has many characters all who know something the reader doesn’t know…but wait there’s more (*sigh*).   


Entry filed under: May 2017 reads. Tags: , , , .

The story of the used book’s margins -“Swimming Lessons” by Claire Fuller Let’s all go to Tuscany, shall we? – “My Italian Bulldozer” by Alexander McCall Smith

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Becky  |  June 6, 2017 at 9:21 am

    This is the only book by Lianne Moriarty that I’ve read and it completely put me off reading any others – would you recommended me giving her a second chance with a different book? 😄

    • 2. Emily Swanson  |  June 6, 2017 at 8:57 pm

      That is a tough one. Her books can be fun but they are not mind-blowing. So if you have a long list of books by other authors I would say read those. I thought “Big Little Lies” was fun and so was “What Alice Forgot.” But again, there are lots of book and so little time!


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There is some great literature out there, but there is a lot of bad literature as well. We shouldn't all have to read it. These are my recommendations and thoughts about the books I read.


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