Week One (03/12-03/19) closed
Chapters 1-20 – Discussion in comments. (Spoilers for these chapters permitted in comments.)
WEEK ONE CLOSED
Okay, first and foremost, there’s a lot of characters in this book who’s background we’re learning about so here’s a little cheat sheet for your reference:
Tranquillum House staff:
- Masha, the Russian woman that runs the Tranquillum House
- Yao and Delilah, her dedicated employees
The nine strangers:
- Frances, a romance novelist
- Tony, a former Australian rules football star
- Jessica, a plastic-surgery obsessed lottery winner
- Ben, Jessica’s car-obsessed husband
- Carmel, a single mother of four who was left by her husband for a younger woman
- Lars, a spa-junkie divorce lawyer
- Heather and Napoleon, a married couple who lost a twin son
- Zoe, Heather and Napoleon’s 20-year-old twin daughter
Now that that’s out of the way, can we discuss how much I really love this book already! Every time someone talks about Zach’s suicide, I cry. Liana Moriarty has been pulling out all the emotions from me.
Frances constantly makes me laugh and is such a great literary character. She is 1000% the type of women who would fall for an internet romance scheme and I’m so glad she can laugh about it because it truly is funny! She will tell anyone who will listen.
Jessica makes me just want to hug her. Her and Ben are the perfect example of how money can’t buy happiness.
Tony being a referred to as “the serial killer” made me laugh every. time.
I have absolutely NO idea where this story is going but I always appreciate when an author gives you ample information about characters so that you feel a bond to the journey they’re on. But that usually also means that something tragic is on the horizon of these pages. Beware.
What have you guys thought after the first 20 chapters?
Week Two (03/19-03/26) closed
Chapters 21-40 – Discussion in comments (Spoilers for these chapters are permitted)
WEEK TWO CLOSED
I’m going to be honest. I blew past chapter 40. It was sort of unintentional but I really can’t put this book down. I adore how different and complex all the characters are. I love the potential love story thats unfolding between Tony and Frances.
Who saw that coming??
Lars is definitely one of my favorites. I think I relate to the way that he thinks and his outlook on life the most. If you had to compare yourself to a character, who would yours be?
The acid trip was definitely an unexpected twist that I didn’t see coming at all. I would personally be very upset if I was drugged and would try to fight the effects at all cost. But for the sake of the book, I loved every second of it!! The fact that Frances could see Zach is crazy and I need answers. Are we going to get them? Or are we meant to assume that Zach’s angel really was there? Either way, it was extremely sweet and I loved that he appeared. That whole families story shatters my heart into a million little pieces.
Zoe lying and telling people that her and Zach weren’t close and that they weren’t talking at the time of his death and she had a plan to break the silence on their birthday.
Napoleon mentioning that his son was always so impulsive and didn’t thoroughly think through his decisions and that death was permanent and had Napoleon not hit his snooze button, his presence in the house might have been what Zach needed to second guess his decision.
Heathers secret. The burden of looking at her family every day and knowing that her choice to give Napoleon asthma medicine could have made him depressed and suicidal. I don’t know how you carry that weight alone day in and day out.
I could read a whole book alone just about this family. They’re so beautiful and there’s a big part of me thats praying for some kind of supernatural twist that brings Zach back and heals their family. They deserve a happy ending and I’m pulling for them.
I’m not entirely sure what to think about Jessica saying she is pregnant. I do know that I don’t necessarily agree with her conversation with Ben when he finally confessed that he disagrees with everything she’s done with her face. She tells him that she doesn’t get why it matters that she wanted to change her face and he decided that he agreed and that it shouldn’t actually matter in the grand scheme of their relationship. Now, I say this cautiously because if something about yourself is really bothering you and you want to fix it, I support you.
If you are changing absolutely everything about your body to the point that you’re made up of plastic, there might be a deeper rooted issue and it needs to be talked about. Ben might be having an issue loving Jessica because he doesn’t see her loving herself.
Again, I’m rooting for these two and I’m hoping they come out of this retreat “truly transformed”.
Like I said, I blew threw this weeks reading assignments and I’m currently on chapter 64 and asking me to stop would be like ripping a really delicious glass on wine from my needy little fingers. So, catch up!!
Week Three (03/26-04/02) closed
Chapters 41-60 – Discussion in comments
WEEK THREE CLOSED
I have to say I think I have very unintentionally broken this book up perfectly!
We now know that Heather thinks that she was responsible for Zach’s suicide. With that said, I think it’s probably perfectly normal for people close to a victim of suicide to think that it was their fault. We really don’t know what cause Zach to commit suicide. I appreciate that the author doesn’t have Zach’s ghost explain why he chose to do what he did only because in real life, those who choose to take their own life and not leave a note, the survivors of that tragedy don’t get answers in real life.
I know this family feels broken but I’m happy that the loss they went through didn’t push them away from each other. Sure, they are all still grieving and having some serious communication issues but they’re still there for each other at the end of the day.
I think it’s safe to say though, that Marsha is completely unhinged!! I want to believe that this is going to end up being everything that the retreat has promised these guests and they will leave “completely transformed” but at the same time, if Marsha is in charge, I don’t see how that’s going to happen. Everything seemed to be going so well before the microdosing.
Final thoughts on this section: How do we start a petition for Hulu to recast the role of Larz to be Lance Bass because there has never been a more perfect person to play a character, ever!
Who’s with me?
Week Four (04/02-04/07) closed
Chapters 61-End – Discussion in comments (Spoilers Permitted)
Okay, I’m dying to hear what all of you thought about this book!
It was definitely a fun read and I love a fun read. However, for some reason, I wasn’t satisfied with the ending. After everyone got out and went their own ways, I kept waiting for something else to happen.
One of you mentioned when we were half way through the book, “Wait till you find out what they all have in common.” So I kept waiting for some big revelation to happen but I never got one. Did I miss something big here?
My favorite part of the ending was Zoe being there for Ben through the loss of his sister. That was most likely more comforting than having Jessica there considering she never cared for because she never understood loss or addiction.
I enjoyed Frances’ story arch. She really got to a place where she wanted a man and didn’t need a man and that’s something we can definitely all respect.
And then there’s Marsha. At it again.
I don’t think I could think of a better ending for Marsha. She’s certifiable and there’s plenty of people out there who will pay big bucks to do some well supervised micro-dosing so I’m glad she found her audience.
Now it’s your turn:
What did you guys think of this book and what books would you like us to tackle in the future?
Barnes and Nobles Overview
An unflinchingly honest character study of a group of people looking to change their lives for the better, filled to the brim with Moriarty’s trademark wit and tense atmosphere. The nine perfect strangers soon find themselves forming unbreakable bonds and undergoing entirely unexpected transformations in this perceptive page-turner.