Book Reviews

Book Review – Nine Perfect Strangers

“Nine Perfect Strangers” by Liane Moriarty – 8

I have watched the first season of “Big Little Lies” and found it absorbing. I think Liane Moriarty handles characters and character relationships very well and this book backs that up. It didn’t take me long to realise she is quite a wordsmith, but I did think the book was going to be a whole lot of navel gazing and characters bouncing off each other, albeit well written. But I was wrong; story took some surprising turns and I thoroughly enjoyed the journey.

Liane is one of those rare writers who have an appreciation of the fact that, while she knows her characters intimately, knows who each one is and their names, the reader struggles in the early part of the story to put a face to all the names being thrown at them and so she deftly and unobtrusively lets us know who is who until we get to know them.  

I was impressed with the way Liane progressed the self-blame for Zach’s suicide from one character to two characters and then to three characters. She also skilfully introduced humour into character’s actions and thoughts. And she hit on some great insights into the way we think about ourselves and others – page 202 for instance. I was impressed with her ability to use analogies to efficiently give the reader a vision of what something or someone or a group looked like in the scene – page 399 for instance.  

After what could have been the denouement in many works – the cop turning up and Masha being hauled away – there was still quite a few pages to go and I thought: Oh, oh, danger – this could be a ‘and they all lived happily ever after ending’ and could become very cheesy. But I think Liane handled it very well with credible realism.

I will be seeking out more of her work.

Steve Reilly


Book Review – Hand Me Down World

Hand Me Down World

By Lloyd Jones

Enraptured from the first page. This author will be on my must read list as his style paints word pictures that are clear and yet the tale is opaque enough to add a little mystery.

Story telling by the third person we expect but this is just the second remove and the development of the main character is superb.

Just a touch from each of the influencers in this remarkable journey through life has painted a personality rather than just a physical being. The reader still has no idea what this attractive woman looks like or what her given name is and yet she lives and breathes and is real.

The author paints each of the participants clearly as personalities rather than people and the story hold together extremely well

I hesitate between an all-time high of 8 and 7.5 so take your pick

Page reference Chapter 8 Page 59 is one of many

Par B ‘In this park” to the end of that paragraph.

Lindsay Robertson

Book Review – Open by Andre Agassi

Lindsay Robertson rates this book as 8 as it appears to be a warts and all expose of one sportsman’s journey through an unusual lifestyle. Click  to read Lindsay’s review of the book.



Joan’s “A Walkabout Life” Book Launch

Many U3A Sunny Coasters will know Joan Benbow from the U3A Lecture she gave about her life nursing in remote communities. She recently released a book about it, A Walkabout Life, launched at Coast Life Midwifery on 22 September 2018. for photos and the notes of Jan Johnston’s speech launching the book.

Book Review – Robicheaux by James Lee Burke

Robicheaux (you know my name) is James Lee Burke’s latest book.  It is a crime novel with many twists and turns, with echoes of the old South and an unfavourable view of politics in the area. James Lee Burke writes beautifully.  No wonder he is a best-selling author. Dave Robicheaux is a detective in a Parish near New Orleans, and the narrator of the novel.

Book Review – Ragtime by EL Doctorow

This has to be a favorite book by a favorite author for Steve Reilly. On his fourth reading, this time in critique mode, he has marked it down a little. for his full review.

Book Review – Apple Tree Yard by Louise Doughty

Steve Reilly thought this book was way longer than it needed to be, with way too much padding etc. He rated it 4. for his full review.

Book Review – Dirt Music by Tim Winton

Set in northern WA, Dirt Music won the Miles Franklin in 2002 and was short listed for the Booker in the same year. Steve Riley read the book in 2002 and has now reread it. Steve now rates it a 6 but mainly for the sentence by sentence reading pleasure, rather than the story telling.  for Steve’s review.

Book Review – Hillbilly Elegy by JD Vance

This book gives the reader a view of  a section of American society that President Trump looked to for support. The author grew up in rust belt America. It is a fascinating memoir of a boy made good from tough circumstances.

Book Review – Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert

Steve Reilly was not impressed with this old French classic. and see if you agree with his assessment of the novel and of changes in writing since the 1800s.

Book Review – The Invention of Wings By Sue Monk Kidd

Lindsay Robertson says “An extraordinary story with the raw emotions of the main characters reaching to the heart.”

Steve Riley “enjoyed reading this book from the point of view of the history of that time and place, however .. found the read a bit tedious overall, the story too drawn out. “

For their full reviews

Book Review – Force of Nature by Jane Harper

Steve Reilly rates this book a 6.
He says it is a page turner but not one of the great crime thrillers. He found it to be a competently written work with a good flow of words but with no ‘wow’ passages. For his full review

Never stop learning!