A good night’s sleep is one of my great loves in life. Very rarely do I allow anything, or anyone, to stand in the way of me and my precious eight hours of shut-eye.
Until recently, that is.
In the past six months, one woman has succeeded in forcing me to abandon sleep and stay up late into the wee hours to devour her books. Her name is Liane Moriarty, and it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say she’s completely taken over my life.
It all started last winter when I finally bought the novel I'd been hearing and reading about for years: Big Little Lies. And yes, before you say anything, I know I'm really late to the bandwagon on this one.
From the first chapter I was hooked, and my obsession with Liane Moriarty kicked into gear. I was soon telling anyone who'd listen just how brilliant she was.
Flash forward to now, and the colourful spines of Moriarty's books are quickly monopolising my bookshelf. Just this week I've just finished her latest release, Truly Madly Guilty, easily the best thing I've ever purchased in an airport.
Listen: Mia Freedman interviews Liane Moriarty for her No Filter podcast. (Post continues after audio.)
Every time I read one of Moriarty's books — I've also ticked off Three Wishes and The Husband's Secret — I've morphed into a woman possessed. It's been a real challenge to focus on anything else in my life until I've devoured the final chapter.
Those delicious plot twists and trademark 'big reveals' have become something of an addiction. Waiting for the revelation of what actually happened at the infamous barbecue in Truly Madly Guilty almost destroyed me — and let's not mention the one really sad chapter I didn't see coming AT ALL that left me crying over brunch in a cafe. Ahem.
Not only do I stay up way too late reading "just one more chapter" (which quickly turns into "just eight more chapters"), but I find myself thinking about Moriarty's brilliantly-observed characters in my idle moments. In fact, in these recent months I've probably spent more time with these fictional people than my own flesh-and-blood friends. Sorry, guys.
Of course, the twists and turns form a large chunk of the appeal of Moriarty's books, but for me the real draw is her character work. It's obvious Moriarty is an incredible observer and understands what makes people and relationships tick. The characters in her books are so detailed and complex, and their neuroses, motivations and idiosyncrasies feel all too familiar.
This is especially true of Moriarty's women; it's no overstatement to say she just gets women.
"All my books have lots of strong female characters. I think my strength is writing good female characters; I don't understand men," the author admitted in an interview with The Project earlier this week.
Listen: The Book Club podcast reviews Big Little Lies. (Post continues after audio.)
It's also clear Moriarty dedicates a lot of time to researching the various issues and experiences her books explore, whether it be domestic violence, mental illness, or life as a triplet.
This is partly why it grates so much to hear Moriarty referred to as a "housewife author". The titles of her books might sound a little soapy out of context — Big Little Lies does bring to mind Pretty Little Liars — but you soon realise the narratives driving them are far more complex and unpredictable.
So, if you're reading this, Liane Moriarty, please know that you have cost me several hours of sleep that I'll never get back. But I just can't bring myself to be mad at you for it.
What's your favourite Liane Moriarty book? Which one should I read next?