Reading is something that started as an acquired taste and grown into a frequent hobby of mine. My sister was always the reader of the family. Growing up, it would be very common to find her nose in a book and my mouth running on a phone. I often found myself fascinated that she could just slip into another world at the turn of a page. My brother and I were fond of picking on her frequent reading when we got bored, as siblings often do. Karma came back with a vengeance while I was reading Truly, Madly, Guilty.
I do not think that I have ever been interrupted so often while reading this book. Whether it was a phone call, a coffee shop stranger asking questions about the book, time itself, work, the frustrating list goes on and on. Truly, I wanted to be able to read this book in one sitting or two. It has over 400 pages, but each page mattered. The chapters were short, sometimes barely over a page, but they were peppered with a trail of information that was snowballing. Do not make the mistake of skipping through them. The details are fragments of a beautiful mosaic.
This story is told in multiple perspectives just like the multiple colors that can be found in a mosaic. Each color is vibrant and distinctive on its own, highlighting marital struggles, parenting woes, occupational stress, overcoming childhood trauma, and the fragile boundaries of friendship. Clementine is a cellist who struggles with stage fright. Her husband Sam struggles with his role in his workplace. Together they battle finding time (and patience) to juggle work with parenting and marriage. Clementine’s best friend Erika has been a rigid perfectionist, often the outcast. The only thing she cannot perfect is childbearing. Erika’s husband, Oliver, is also a perfectionist and an unexpected hero when a traumatic event occurs involving all of these characters. Without spoiling anything (or any more) of the story, please let me leave you with this: the unexpected will happen. Friendships will be tested. Marriages will be tested. But all will be right in the end.
For those who may be sensitive: there is foul language, sexually suggestive material, struggles with infertility, hoarding, and vomiting.