Thursday, January 30, 2014

Bon's Bookclub: The Husband's Secret

Today, for lack of anything better to do with my time, I'm linking up with Bonnie at The Life of Bon for her book club discussion. I read this back in December and not to put too fine a point on it- I didn't like it.

However, it's sort of a thinker, and I really like Bonnie's blog, and I want to link up, so here we go.  As far as I can tell, there's no rule that says you have to LIKE the book to participate. Right?  This can also count as my book review. Two birds, one stone.

The Husband's Secret, by Liane Moriarty. Cool last name!!

For some reason, I always feel compelled to explain WHY I pick the books I pick.  For this one, Hollywood Housewife mentioned it, and I'd seen it in a few bookstore windows and the UK cover is cool. And I sort of assumed that he had a secret family. I am OBSESSED with husband's who have secret families. Did you ever see that Criminal Intent with Ben and his secret other family? It's just WEIRD. And fascinating. So I wanted to read it. 

From the back of the book: (uk version) Mother of three and wife of John-Paul, Cecilia discovers an old envelope in the attic. Written in her husband's hand, it says: to be opened only in the event of my death.
Curious, she opens it - and time stops.
John-Paul's letter confesses to a terrible mistake which, if revealed, would wreck their family as well as the lives of others.
Cecilia - betrayed, angry and distraught - wants to do the right thing, but right for who? If she protects her family by staying silent, the truth will worm through her heart. But if she reveals her husband's secret, she will hurt those she loves most . . .

And because the us version is so different (sort of): Imagine that your husband wrote you a letter, to be opened after his death. Imagine, too, that the letter contains his deepest, darkest secret—something with the potential to destroy not just the life you built together, but the lives of others as well. Imagine, then, that you stumble across that letter while your husband is still very much alive. . . .
Cecilia Fitzpatrick has achieved it all—she’s an incredibly successful businesswoman, a pillar of her small community, and a devoted wife and mother. Her life is as orderly and spotless as her home. But that letter is about to change everything, and not just for her: Rachel and Tess barely know Cecilia—or each other—but they too are about to feel the earth-shattering repercussions of her husband’s secret.

See how you might think it was a secret family? If you were obsessed with that?


It's not a secret family. He killed a girl when they were in high school. You figure that out like five minutes into the story, and about five minutes after that, you realize he didn't actually MURDER her, something weird has happened and she just sort of died. If that makes sense. Which it does by the end, but no one ever knows.

I thought it was just lame. Is it just me? Did everyone else love it? First of all, I think the name John Paul is stupid. Either go by John, or Paul. Daisy June sounds cool, that's why I call her that. John Paul sounds stupid.

I also hate relating to the uptight suburban housewife (cough Allison on Orphan Black cough) and I always ALWAYS do. Except I obviously do no keep my house clean.

I did like the Rachel story. She seemed very REAL to me. Like, that's how you would be. That's how you would think and feel and just BE.

Okay. Now for Bonnie's discussion.
+ The book is told from the viewpoint of three women.  Which women did you like the most and why?  Whom did you dislike the most and why?

Well I didn't dislike any of them, really. I thought Rachel was hilarious,  the way she was about her daughter in law, and I liked her transformation the most, how she finally decided to get her passport and go to New York, how she opened her eyes about her poor son.

Hmm.  I intended to say that Tess was the one I liked the most, but look at that, it's turned into Rachel.  Who knew?

Cecelia also holds a place close to my heart, for the quote about the German boy running ice on her throat and how she thought it was so sexy back then, but looking back it just seems unhygienic and sticky.  I actually burst out laughing when she said that.

+ What would you have done if you had found out the secret that Celia did?  Did you agree with the way she handled it?  What is the "right" thing to do in a situation like that?

Now obviously, you're supposed to say that you would turn him in.  He's a murdered, right? Except of course, he ISN'T, not really, and I'd like to think Cecelia would have assumed that. She loved this man, she slept with him every night, she washed his dirty undies, he helped her to the bathroom for the first time after she gave birth and you KNOW that's at pretty fucking intimate situation.  Why didn't she just KNOW that there'd been a horrible misunderstanding?!?!

So if I'd found this letter by Nick, I couldn't turn him in.  No way. First of all, I need him to take care of my kids. Second of all, I would NEVER believe that he could murder someone. Ever. I'd like to think I'd have the sense to at least TRY to get to the bottom of it.

That being said, I would probably have reacted the same as Cecelia, the way it ruined her life. Things like that get to me, secrets in general, that horrible feeling of guilt and anxiety- I wouldn't handle it well. I certainly would have moved out of town, you can be damn sure about that.

I can't see the 'right' answer in this situation, and I think that's why I didn't like this book. Remember in HP when Sirius (or was it Remus? I think it was Sirius) says you can't divide the world into good people and Death Eaters? You can have Death Eaters doing good things, and you can have crap people who AREN'T Death Eaters.

Well, I don't like that. I like black and white, I like answers.  I don't know.  This book, man, I tell ya what.

+ What was the point of the side story with Tess?  Do you excuse the way she acted during that week because of the uncertainty in her marriage?

What WAS the point of the side story with Tess?!?! I kept waiting for it to tie in, and it never did!! And that was my favorite story!!

I do excuse the way she acted, but I do NOT excuse her getting back with her lame husband.  GROSS. Granted, I'm not a child of divorce, so I can't really relate to her obsession with her son not growing up with divorced parents, but come ON.  How could she live with herself, going back with him? Gross gross gross.

I loved her mama. LOVED. And I loved how she was SO nervous in social situations (HELLO ME) and how uncomfortable she was around Cecelia at first, and then you get Cecelia's side and Cecelia think's she's all sophisticated and cool and impressive.

Think anyone thinks that about me? No? Anyone? Bueller?

+ Do you believe the bike accident was adequate "penance" for what John Paul had done?

This might be controversial...but I DO think the accident was adequate penance.  Except I think that kid should have died.  I'm sorry!!! But I do. You get RUN OVER by a car, you die.  Right?!?! I don't know. But then I guess since he didn't actually kill her, maybe it's enough that she lost her arm. I don't know.  But Rachel seemed satisfied, and that's enough for me.

+ Did you like the resolution of the book?  Did you feel there was enough closure?

ABSOLUTELY FUCKING NOT. I hated the end. I hated the whole book.  Sort of. It was just a horrible situation. I hated the situation. The book was all right, although I think it's a little much to swallow that no one questioned how she died. I guess maybe if he'd confessed and said "dude, I BARELY touched her, it was REALLY weird" then maybe they would have looked deeper? Who knows. But no, I hated the ending. This from the only person on the planet who liked the end of Gone Girl.

I did like Rachel's ending, as I've already said. But that was the only one.

Well, Cecelia seemed to get some closure too.

Ugh.  I guess the fact that it's been nearly two months and I'm STILL thinking about this book must say something, right? Maybe I didn't hate it as much as I think?

And, although I keep bitching about it...I just picked up What Alice Forgot at the library. Oy. At least Hollywood Housewife said she loved that one so much more? It's up as soon as I finish Book of Secrets, which I both love and am terrified of.  Double oy.


  1. "I DO think the accident was adequate penance. Except I think that kid should have died. I'm sorry!!!" This made me laugh out loud! I don't agree but man that was funny (sorry if you didn't mean it to be). I agree about the ending. I loved the epilogue at first but after sleeping on it I realised I actually HATED IT! I think it ruined the book for me - I wanted to dive into the book and tell John-Paul that he didn't kill Janie and I wanted to tell Rachel to forgive herself for being late to meet Janie and I wanted to give Cecilia (and Polly) a huge hug! Great review :)

  2. I am reading what alice forgot now too. I've heard mixed reviews. I actually bought it a year ago and it's been sitting on my book shelf every since . Loved your review!
    And Tess. Why did she get back together with that jerk. To me his am relationship was even more unacceptable since he fell in love with her fat cousin. And the cousin showed no remorse. Drove me crazy

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    2. I thought the cousin was awful, I forgot all about her!! Ugh. I'm only about ten pages in on Alice and I like it enough so far. It's just like that Sophia Kinsella book, I think it was called Remember Me? I picked it up by chance at the library, but what I really wanted was Dark Places. Or is it Dark Objects? Whichever. I'm in the mood for a murder mystery.

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  4. I love your review it cracks me up! I hated the name John Paul too. Dumb name.

  5. John-Paul is a weird name.
    I laughed at the sticky unhygenic ice too!
    Also, THANK YOU on Tess getting back with her husband - I actually wanted her to stay with Connor, and I thought that would have given the whole thing more of a point. As it stands now, she's a simple prop for character development, which is sad because I really liked her at first.

    1. It's weird, I didn't even think about the fact that she basically had nothing to do with the story until I started reading everyone else's take on this. I'm just gonna chalk it up to the fact that I don't get her because I wasn't a child of divorce? Maybe? Although my husband is, and I doubt he'd be willing to come back to me if I fell in love with his cousin...

  6. Your review is probably the funniest thing related to the book I've read! I hated, hated, hated the ending as well. It was ok as a bit of chick lit though. Hopefully the next book will be better!

    1. Fingers crossed!! I always feel like I wasted so much time when I get to the end and didn't like the book. So neurotic.

  7. I am so glad you hated his name too...literally every time I read his name "John Paul" I gritted my teeth. WORST. NAME. EVER.

    I hated the way Rachel treated her DIL...but I think it had a lot to do with the fact that it reminded me so much of my own relationship with my mother in law.

    I love your honesty with the accident...I seriously thought that Polly was going to die and when she didn't I was a bit surprised.