Apples Never Fall is a standalone novel by Liane Moriarty.
This is the first book I’ve read start to finish in a really long time. I’ve struggled, depression, life, chaos, and all the regular things that interrupt your reading schedule, it’s been difficult for me to commit to anything.
With a new year, comes a new promise – and so, I finished Apples Never Fall within the month. There were things I liked and disliked, but overall, I think this was a good read, and an easy enough one to start the year with.
This story is about the Delaney family. A newly retired couple, and their four adult children, navigate through the new stages in their lives: new relationships, new breakups, new propositions, etc. it’s told through the eyes of everyone – both important and unimportant characters. It travels back and forth through time, mostly focused on the year leading up to Joy going missing, and the aftermath.
Joy is the matriarch, and the glue that holds the Delaney’s together, when she disappears, her husband (Stan), and their four adult children (Amy, Logan, Troy, and Brooke) try to determine what happened and who might be involved.
Apples Never Fall is a Good Book, But…
Overall, I did like this story – but I’d like to talk about the things I didn’t like…
First, there were far too many people “telling” the story. I understand when authors like to show things happening from different points of view. If done well, I’m all for it. Liane Moriarty is good at this, however, some things are unnecessary.
The waitress at the beginning (side note here, I’m told they bring her back at the very end, but I didn’t catch it and I don’t think it was important), the cab driver, the physiotherapy patient, etc. I thought the novel would have been better if the author stuck to the main characters. There were enough of them for this to be interesting.
Second, it took too long for the story to get going.
Similarly, third, it took too long to end.
I’m not giving away spoilers here, but when you find out what happens to Joy, that really should be the end of the book. Maybe add an epilogue to summarize what happened next, but the story ends when you know what happens. Except it doesn’t.
The author then decides to tie together all the ends that she deliberately left open throughout the novel. The thing is, by the time you get to this point, you don’t really care that much if they’re left open or not. Some things are good in an epilogue, sure, but the rest could have been omitted, or maybe learned prior to the big reveal.
And after all that summary, we never learn where Stan goes to when he disappears. Sure, we learn why he walks away, but not where he goes. The author kinda dropped the ball there.
Approach Can Be Key
Another hate – and this is a personal choice here, but after discussing this book with others, it was determined we all felt the same way – Savannah. I haven’t mentioned her up to this point in the review, but she is a key character in the story.
I liked her storyline, and you certainly feel for her after hearing her history. I just hated her approach. I’m struggling a bit to speak without giving anything away. I get why she was the way she was, that’s not the issue.
But how can you expect people to warm to you, or to be understanding, if you’re a demanding little… well, you get my point here. I’m conflicted as the reader. If she chose her words better, there would have been a different outcome. She wasn’t clear, and she felt she was wronged because of that.
At the same time, if she had a different attitude from the beginning, it would have changed the entire plot and outcome of the story… so I guess it all happens that way for a reason.
Kind of like in Lord of the Rings, why didn’t they just fly the birds to Mordor? Well, because then there wouldn’t have been a story to tell. Same idea in The Alchemist…
All that said, I did find myself turning the pages very quickly once I got past the slow beginning. I liked how the author told the story (apart from the extra character point of views). I liked how everyone got their comeuppance, except Savannah’s dad – but maybe I missed that. I liked how it ended ‘happily ever after’ though not in the way you might think.
I’d definitely read another Moriarty book, and I do have a few on my list!
If you’ve read Apples Never Fall, or any other novel by Liane Moriarty, let me know what you think over in the Facebook group.