This book was similar in structure to Liane Moriarty's Big Little Lies. Like that book, this one moves between the present and an event in the past, but back-and-forth rather than linear as in Lies. Whatever happened occurred on "the day of the barbeque," and it isn't until a little more than halfway through the book that the reader learns exactly what happened that day. It was a surprise.
Erika and Clementine are fr-enemies from childhood with a complex relationship. Accountant Erika and her husband Oliver are childless, while cellist Clementine and her husband Sam have two young daughters. They all get invited to a backyard barbecue at the huge home of Erika's and Oliver's next-door neighbors Vid, a wealthy electrician, his trophy wife Tiffany, a former pole-dancing stripper turned house flipper (and the character I liked best), and their ten-year-old daughter Dakota. Minor characters are Erika's and Clementine's mothers, Sylvia and Pam respectively, and Vid's and Tiffany's other next-door neighbor, a cranky old man named Harry.
Most of the story is told from either Erika's or Clementine's viewpoint, although all the six main characters' viewpoints are presented in at least one chapter, as well as that of Dakota and Harry. It certainly kept me turning the pages.
Once again, Moriarty addresses some serious issues: hoarding, audition anxiety, infertility, blame, and guilt among them. I don't want to give away too much and spoil the story for others.
I loved this quote near the end, where one main character wondered about another, “what sort of person [she] could have been, would have been, should have been, if she’d been given the privilege of an ordinary home. You could jump so much higher when you had somewhere safe to fall.”
© Amanda Pape - 2016
[The e-book, and a print copy for reference, were borrowed from and returned to my university library and my local public library respectively.]