• Clarissa Laws

#BOOKSHELFIE: NINE PERFECT STRANGERS


So basically, I was so excited for this book to come out. Like set a calendar reminder 13 months out excited. I watched “Big Little Lies” on HBO religiously and I lived for “Truly Madly Guilty.” The “Nine Perfect Strangers” plot had it all there. Ten days at a spa with a bunch of quirky strangers. I imagined all sorts of sordid affairs and poorly kept secrets, all leading up to a Liane Moriarty style climactic moment where someone throws a rock at all of the little glass houses. However, the most sordid affair this book had to offer was quite possibly the one between Frances and her Lindt chocolate balls. I realize that Liane was mocking herself when she wrote out Frances’ thoughts on the novel that the character herself was reading. “The book was meant to be another murder mystery, but the author had introduced far too many characters too early, and so far everyone was still alive and kicking. The pace had slowed. Come on now. Hurry up and kill someone.”

How Moriarty managed to write this tongue-in-cheek remark on her own writing style, yet still refused to pick up the pace in this character study of largely uninteresting people, is still confounding me ten days after closing the book. I may or may not have reopened it several times after finishing in search of the plot intrigue that I was sure I must have missed after one too many glasses of wine at Thanksgiving dinner. Well, I can applaud my drunken, literate self (does anyone else become hyper-focused when drinking?? Post for another day.) for not missing a beat in this book! There was, indeed, no plot intrigue. Don’t get me wrong, many of the characters are endearing and they resonate, but if I just wanted to read about a bunch of weirdos with bizarre lives, I would stick to “Humans of New York.” I wanted some fatal romances and felonies, not self-consciousness over an out of shape 52-year-old body and a hot flash. If I were the one hosting casting calls for this Nicole Kidman endorsed film-to-be, I would make sure that Kristen Stewart’s romantic flat affect and Ben Affleck’s attitude towards screwing the nanny both get an invitation to audition.