When your mother goes missing, would you believe that your father had something to do with it? Apples Never Fall by Liane Moriarty explores family dynamics, marital relationships, and the role of success through the disappearance of Joy Delaney.
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IF YOU HAVEN’T READ THE BOOK, STOP READING! SPOILERS AHEAD
I had high hopes for this being a thriller and having read many works by this author, Big Little Lies and Nine Perfect Strangers to name a few. While there were super high points where I was into the book, for me it was ultimately a let down.
You right away meet the Delaney family with four children who are trying to decide if their mom is missing or not, as observed by a waitress. We meet the kids one by one and learn their current problems, the major one being their dad potentially being involved in their mom’s disappearance.
In the first of many leaps back in time, we meet Joy Delaney, who annoyed me from chapter 1 onward. Her attitude, her actions, basically everything about her, I did not like. She is a middle-class mom who used to run a tennis company with her husband, and has had issues adjusting to retirement.
It was interesting to explore the family dynamics not only between the parents and the children, but with the children’s spouses and how patterns between their parents were replicated between multiple time jumps from past to present. We get a whole range of potential infidelity, commitment issues, instability, etc. for multiple chapters setting the scene for Joy’s husband killing her (so the police say).
Then we get to Savannah. This entire storyline is weird to me and was the final nail in the coffin for me not liking Joy. Savannah randomly appears at the Delaney family home and is welcome with open arms. No background info. No real questions. Nothing. Would that actually happen? I totally get giving someone a phone to use or driving them to a loved one, but taking someone in long-term WITHOUT VETTING?
The next part of the book was forgettable to me. Things are weird, the kids and Savannah clash directly and by finding inconsistencies in her story, which Joy excuses away. I was very meh during a lot of this. Why would you trust a stranger over your kids??
There is an underlying theme of tennis being important to the family, specifically Joy and her husband, and that being forced onto the kids. Tennis naturally plays a role in the *big twist* and that is where it kind of lost me.
We find out that Savannah is secretly the sister of Joy and her husband’s protege, and Joy is the reason why he left the family business for another agent, turning her husband against her, making her kids super stressed and agitated, etc. This makes the case for Joy being dead and buried VERY strong, and I was like, “oh, okay, the book is saving itself…”
Or so I thought…
AND THEN… in one of the worst endings of books I’ve read, honestly… Joy is ALIVE and was on a trip with (wait for it) SAVANNAH??? AKA the person who was lying to her for months? Tore apart her family??? WHAT?
I was very angry upon finishing this and was rapid texting with friends of mine who had read this. They shared similar sentiments. It really could have gone a different way, and I think I would have liked it more without this ending, despite its other setbacks.
- an easy read
- twists and turns that I did enjoy
- not a lot, honestly lol
- who just takes in a stranger without some vetting???? I understand being a good Samaritan but take precautions for your family?
- Joy being ALIVE
- Savannah being accepted by Joy after it all????
Overall this was 2/5 stars for me. I hope Moriarty’s next book is better!