Book Review: Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty

When Nine Perfect Strangers (the novel) came out in 2018, I was already struggling through another Liane Moriarty book and decided to take a break from the author. I get fatigued when I rapidly read several novels from one author in a row. It happened with Dan Brown and Curtis Sittenfeld, and at that time, it was happening with Moriarty. However, a new adaptation is coming on on Hulu, and I’m one of those who needs to read the book first.

I was tentative going in; I’d read a review claiming Moriarty had gone off the deep end with Nine Perfect Strangers. So, while I’m a massive fan of the author, I didn’t expect to like the book. Maybe that’s what helped me in the end. My low expectations allowed me to read without any worry about where the story might go. Despite that bad review that I’d read, I enjoyed Moriarty’s fun and crazy story from start to finish.

Nine Perfect Strangers follows nine individuals who embark on a 10-day health retreat at Tranquillum House. Some are there to regain perspective on life, some to improve their marriage, and some to work through recent hardships, and while every guest has heard of the radical practices at Tranquillum House, none of them have any idea what’s to come. Masha, the leader of the 10-day program, is trying something new with these nine guests, something that will make her known worldwide, and all without her guests’ consent. The question isn’t, ‘Is Masha’s program unconventional?’ The question is, ‘Will it actually work?’

I thought this was a fun ride from the moment we were introduced to Frances while she was having a total menopause-fueled meltdown in her car. Each character is introduced distinctively, allowing readers to assign a name and personality that is easy to track. I sometimes struggle with too many characters because I have difficulty remembering who’s who and what their role is in the story. I didn’t have that problem with Nine Perfect Strangers. I also enjoyed how Liane Moriarty takes her time revealing her characters’ flaws and hidden secrets. Despite some of the insanity in the book, each character’s story makes the book worth reading. If you can go along for the crazy ups and downs of the 10-day retreat, I think you’ll enjoy the book as much as I did!

As I mentioned, part of the reason I wanted to read Nine Perfect Strangers now is that later this summer, Hulu will release a limited series starring Nicole Kidman, Melissa McCarthy, Bobby Cannavale, Luke Evans, Michael Shannon, Regina Hall, Samara Weaving, and Manny Jacinto, among others. I’m not a fan of reading the book after the series/movie adaptation, so it was now or never, given how excited I am. I can’t wait for this series – I’m always happy to see another Liane Moriarty book adaptation, especially when it stars Nicole Kidman. If you haven’t seen it yet, check out the most recent trailer for the series:

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