Liane Moriarty is an instant-buy author for me. As soon as she releases a book, I snap it up. It started with Big Little Lies a few years ago and then I bought all her backlist books on my kindle and read them all. I picked up her latest book Nine Perfect Strangers on its release date and finished it a few days later. It was an addictive page turner that I just couldn’t put down.
Nine Perfect Strangers is — like it’s title — about nine strangers who meet at ten-day long health retreat. They are all there for different reasons and bring with them plenty of emotional baggage. The reader comes along for the ride, learning things about each of the nine people along the way. The story is told from all these different people’s points-of-view. You also get the perspectives of three more people — the wellness resort director Masha and her two wellness coordinators. You would think reading chapters from all these different characters would be confusing, but it’s not. Liane Moriarty handles all these stories so expertly and weaves them together seamlessly.
I’m not going to go into too much detail about what happens because I think it’s best if you go in not knowing much. My favourite character was Frances, a romance novelist in her fifties, with two ex-husbands, no kids and a career that has taken a nosedive. She’s got her faults but she’s an instantly likeable character and the chapters told from her point-of-view were my favourite. I loved her observations about the other guests, the story behind why she booked into the retreat and her thoughts on the publishing industry and male authors were spot on! (Having worked in book publishing for eight years I felt like I knew her.) I wondered how many of her observations about the publishing industry were the same as Liane Moriarty’s views. Liane is one of Australia’s most successful authors ever but wasn’t really recognised as such until her books made it big in America.
The thing I love the most about this book, and other books by Liane Moriarty, is the way she writes about people and their problems. She does it so well. Her characters never seem like caricatures or cookie cut-outs of people but make you think of people you know. I’m sure I’ve met people similar to most of the characters in this book.
Nine Perfect Strangers explored so many different themes such as grief and loss, love and family, loneliness and identity. It was funny, entertaining and sad. I really had no idea where it would lead me and I experienced a whole range of emotions while reading it. I don’t rate books on this blog but I do on Goodreads and I struggled to decide between a four and a five-star rating for this book. It had me riveted for most of the time but it wasn’t as perfect as some of her other books. So I’d probably give this a four.
I wish Liane Moriarty wrote a novel a year because I always feel that the wait is too long for her next book.
Verdict: Another brilliant book from one of my favourite authors.
What’s your favourite Liane Moriarty book?