Wednesday, March 9, 2016

The Husband's Secret, Liane Moriarty

I listened to this as an audio book. I'm not sure I can fit it into any category for the 2016 challenge, but this is the same author as "What Alice Forgot" and I'd heard good things about this one too.

I didn't like this one as much. Too much preoccupation with sex. And quite a bit more swearing than I am happy with. I think when I read the book with my eyes, I can skim over more of that stuff, but when you're listening to it, it's just there-and with expression too!

Aside from that, though, there were many things that make you think, which is what I liked about What Alice Forgot, but this one wasn't quite as compelling. There were 3 different narrators going on and their lives sort of intertwined and sort of didn't. It was slightly predictable in some ways but not in other ways. One question that was raised was, if you do something horribly wrong, but then live the rest of your life as close to being a Saint as you can, does that absolve you of your wrong doing? Are all your good deeds done afterwards invalid because you once did something bad? How do you weigh your good decisions against your bad ones? Can you choose your own penance if you "get away with it"? Or will Karma come to get you in the end? And if you stumble upon someone else's secret, what is your role in keeping it or encouraging the person to confess? What if confession means dissolving everything you know in your life and ruining everything-and you don't feel you deserve that because you didn't know about the secret until you were way too far along with the rest of life? Can people be forgiven? Can people change? What is the price of that? Is harboring ill feelings a benefit in any way? Does it ever end well when you sit and stew on a wrong someone has done you?

She also deals with the concept of love and how we love people based on the knowledge we have of them and how new knowledge, even unpleasant knowledge sometimes doesn't change the fact that we still love them. And the difference between new, exciting love and married for over 10 years love. She explores why we feel this comfortable love is boring and lacking, but how you can change your perception and it becomes something that is different, but not lacking. That just because you've lost that newlywed spark of excitement doesn't mean that you've fallen out of love. And how easy it is to fall in love with someone-but it's the STAYING in love that takes a conscious effort.

Then the epilogue. I don't know if it makes things better or worse! She points out, rightfully so, that we don't know all the parts of the story. We don't know the what if's of life. There are many things, that had we had full disclosure earlier in life, would have completely changed the course of our lives and the way we look at things. I think that is an interesting concept to ponder on its own, but presented as an epilogue with information that only the reader gets, but the characters don't (for the most part), seems rather unfair to those poor fictional characters who have been tormented by their fictional lives.

As for the performance of the narrator, she was absolutely WONDERFUL. Beautiful light Australian accent (I feel I could have picked up a little authenticity for my own future impressions), and she did a delightfully convincing job with the little girl, Esther's, speech impediment.

I think I give this one a solid 3.

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