Sunday, 13 May 2018

Mothers and motherhood on a bright Sunday morning..

It’s a gorgeous spring morning, a bit cool but sunny and bright, with the birds singing and a slight breeze ruffling the leaves; in short, it’s a perfect day to celebrate Mother’s Day.  
I am just finishing Liane Moriarty’s book Truly, Madly, Guiltily, a book I’ve previously tried to read when I took out a library copy but never finished because it just wasn’t grabbing me.  This time I have my own copy, which I purchased at the big used book sale I went to in April, and I’m actually sticking with it to the very end (I’ll finish it today).  I only realized yesterday how appropriate it is for Mother’s Day, as it’s a book that explores mothers and motherhood, what it means to be a “good mother”, and whether women are destined to become like their own mothers as they reach a certain age.  It also looks at family and friendship, assumptions and misconceptions, and the ways in which our past affects who we have become. Here’s what I said about the book in a previous post from September 2016: “If you recall, I’ve loved the last few books by this author, The Husband’s Secret and Big Little Lies, and this novel started out much the same as the others… some event has occurred that has significantly affected the relationships of the characters in the book, but this event is kept from the reader, meted out in alternating chapters, a bit of a “before and after” strategy.  Three couples are featured prominently in this storyline: mousy accountant Erika and her equally "male-version mousy" husband Oliver are friends with successful cellist Clementine and her attractive husband Sam, and Oliver’s and Erika’s neighbours, larger-than-life Vid and his stunningly gorgeous wife Tiffany, become involved with the group after an impromptu invitation to a Sunday afternoon BBQ.  We the reader know something significant happened at the BBQ, but in customary fashion, Moriarty strings us along with clues and tidbits, while also letting us in on what is happening at the present time. I have loved this in previous books, and have marveled at how well she is able to keep everything straight, keeping us in suspense while revealing just enough information to keep us interested. But this book just was not doing anything for me, for a couple of reasons:  Erika in this book was too much like Jane in Big Little Lies, both in looks and in character. And I felt that the storyline was also too similar to both previous titles.” I still feel this way about the book, that it is a rehashing of previous storylines, and even though I know I didn’t finish this book when I last started it, I keep thinking that it is all so very familiar that surely I must have read it before. Still, as I suggested in my previous post, if you had never read any other novels by this bestselling Australian author, you may really enjoy this book, because it is clever and insightful, but not very original for her.  I think I can get through it this time because I haven’t read anything by her in quite a while so I’ve forgotten the details of the storylines from her earlier books. While this book is keeping me interested enough to finish it and find out exactly what happened, I would highly recommend The Husband’s Secret and Big Little Lies to any book club or for any reader who enjoys domestic fiction that manages to explore serious topics while still being darkly funny.  
That’s all for today.  Happy Mother’s Day!
Bye for now…
Julie

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