My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I have a love/hate relationship with Liane Moriarty. Some of her books I absolutely love and some of them are not my favorite. But nonetheless, when I had the opportunity to read her newest book I jumped at the chance.
And yet again, I find myself torn. Did I like it? Yes. Did a not like it? Yes. This review is so hard for me to write because sometimes when I think about this book I say, “That was actually really good.” And other times, I think about it and say, “Hmm… maybe I didn’t really like that?” It’s all very confusing.
The book is about nine people who come together at a health resort for a 10 day “cleanse.” The leader of the resort promises that in ten days they will not be the same people they are today. That’s for sure. They all have their issues and are coming to Tranquillum House in search of something different. Some are looking to find themselves, some to reestablish relationships, some to alter themselves physically. But one thing is for sure… the ten days spent at Tranquillum House will be unlike anything any of them expected.
Genre? Hmm…. Unclear. Thriller? Women’s Fiction? Contemporary? It’s kind of just a story…
Liane Moriarty was masterful in her development of the characters. As this book is primarily focused on the nine strangers and their journey to self discovery, a LOT of time was spent developing the characters (to the tune of 200+ pages). About half of the book was introducing characters and getting the reader invested in their individual stories. Not a bad thing, but if you’re expecting something fast paced, this isn’t the book for you.
Liane Moriarty made me crack up a couple of times. One of the characters is an author, and multiple times throughout the story it felt like she was making fun of herself. At one point she made a jab at authors who take half the book to develop their characters (which is exactly what she was doing) and I thought it was hilarious. I appreciated her ability to see the humor in things as the story went along. There is also a hysterical chapter at the end of the book about “Helen.” O.M.G. I almost fell of my chair I was laughing so hard. What a tiny moment of genius, particularly from the perspective of a book reviewer (you will see why).
Finally, I don’t often compliment Acknowledgements, but this was one book where I really enjoyed the Acknowledgements. They were super personable and authentic with dashes of humor. I found them extremely well written. Such a weird thing to comment on in a review, but it’s true.
Overall, I find myself torn but I think overall I’m leaning in the “I like it” direction. It is rather long and slow, but the story has a lot of meaning and the characters are very well developed. Their relationships with each other and their self discovery are the meat of the story. There aren’t very many ups and downs. It’s kind of just a flat line in the excitement department, which is why I think I’m struggling. But, just because it’s a flat line doesn’t mean it wasn’t a meaningful story or very well written. See for yourself!
Also check out my review for The Husband’s Secret!