Cover Image: Little Cruelties

Little Cruelties

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Member Reviews

I went into Little Cruelties expecting a psychological thriller and some suspense. Instead, I think this book is another case where Men’s Fiction should be a genre because if this same story was told with three sisters instead of three brothers, it would definitely fall under the Women’s Fiction category.

The story is told through the first person POVs of three brothers, Williams, Brian, and Luke. The book covers decades and swings around from one year to another in no organized fashion that I could discern. Before each brother’s section of chapters are short excerpts from an unknown brother’s view, discussing the funeral and aftermath of one of the other brother’s death. This is really the only bit of suspense in the whole book, though. The rest of the chapters don’t really even allude to someone being murdered, though they all certainly have the motives for it. We don’t find out which brother is dead until the final chapter and by then I was so fed up with these characters that I hardly even cared.

I always struggle with really character-driven books that feature such awful characters. There’s a small amount of sympathy for them because they had such a dysfunctional childhood, which carried into adulthood, but that excuse really only goes so far. Luke also gets a bit of a pass because of his mental health issues, but William and Brian were just straight up despicable. I didn’t enjoy reading about them and often wondered why I kept going. I think I kept hoping that there would either be redemption arcs or some real suspense would start to build. Neither happened.

Overall, Little Cruelties was not for me. I didn’t really ever care about the characters and I while I’m normally a fan of alternate timelines, the haphazard manner it jumped around here didn’t work for me. I also expected a lot more of a psychological thriller/suspense than family drama. However, I did think the first person POVS were well done and that’s why it’s getting two stars instead of one from me.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 2 Stars
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William, Brian and Luke are three brothers with a very complicated relationship. Beginning with an unstable mother, who didn’t love her children equally, to competing professionally, to coveting each other’s partners, these guys are far from annual brothers’ fishing trips. 
Mental illness is at the root of a lot of the familial issues and seeps into their individual lives as well. 
The chapters are written in first person from each brother’s perspective, which is interesting, as you could see the way they view the same events so differently. 
Things got a little melodramatic towards the end, but all-in-all, an enjoyable read. 
Thanks #netgalley and #galleryscoutpress for this ARC of #littlecruelties in exchange for an honest review.
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I loved this chilling book about twisted family secrets and tragedies. Our Little Cruelties focuses on three brothers, Luke, William, and Brian, and is narrated alternately by all three of them. In the beginning, two brothers attend the third’s funeral, but the reader does not know who has passed away. The rest of the book slowly unravels the many family dynamics and secrets over the years until the reader finally learns who has died.

The book is beautifully written, and each brother has a unique voice as narrator. There is Luke, the musician who has been tormented since childhood; William, the producer who is self-interested and narcissistic above all; and Brian, who seems to be the most normal of the bunch until you find out HIS deepest secrets.

I was extremely impressed with the writing, which was so well-crafted and literary and got you so emotionally involved with the family. The character development is superb and I was fascinated with the boys’ mother. Though I wouldn’t call this a traditional thriller, there’s a great mystery and a lot of suspense and the heart of it. 

Of all the current books I’ve read recently on dysfunctional families (and there have been a lot), Our Little Cruelties stands out as a heartbreaking, beautiful, and often gasp-inducing account of a broken but fascinating family. The author does an amazing job of detailing the little cruelties in a family that happen since childhood and remain with people well into their adult years. 4.5 stars. An extremely compelling and emotional read.

Thanks to NetGalley, Gallery Books and Liz Nugent (whose backlist I cant wait to dive into) for the preview of this book, which I really enjoyed:
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I am honestly not sure what to think of this book. Goodreads has it listed as a psychological thriller, so that’s what I thought I was reading, and it is absolutely not that. This is a family drama. 

I think the book covers about all of the drama you’d find in a soap opera. It is told from the perspective of three brothers about their life, their fame, their mental illness, their family issues. 

I liked how the perspectives came together (normally there are two sides to every story, but this one has at least three). And I enjoyed hating every one of the brothers for so many reasons. I also enjoyed the back and forth of different timelines and seeing how these “little cruelties” built up over the years. 

I was really waiting for the story to come back full-circle. It started at the funeral of one of the brothers, but did not end there. And though we do find out who the dead brother is, I was sort of hoping for that closure.
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This book follows the lives of three brothers. Dysfunction is found in each of their lives. The story is told from each brother’s perspective at different times and from various time periods. I did not particularly enjoy this book.
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wow! all i can say is wow! if you think you have a dysfunctional family you might want to think again. Liz really knows how to engage the reader and pull you in and make you not want to put the book down until you are done.. loved this one.
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This is a MUST read this fall. We know 1 - that someone is dead. What we don't know is who.

Skipping back and forth through time - with a family full of disfunction, this is a family drama like no other. 

I could NOT put this book down, carrying it to me to work because I HAD TO KNOW who was dead. 

Thank you to NetGalley, the publishers and Liz Nugent for the opportunity to read and review this book.
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Little Cruelties is a portrait of three brothers in Ireland. They put the T in Toxic and Liz Nugent proves once more that she's a master at writing about toxic men and the havoc and harm they cause.

In Little Cruelties we meet William, the oldest, who wants to be a star film producer. There's Brian, the middle child, who wants to be...well, he's not sure. Just to not be like his brothers. Then there's the youngest, Luke, who is drawn to extremes. Together, along with their largely invisible father, their formerly famous and in denial about how is now a has been mother, assorted women who all get hurt, and the lone grandchild, Daisy, we get a full portrait of the family, and how, even as children, they fight each other, hurt each other physically and mentally, and how their warped views of themselves and the world manage to destroy everyone in their path. 

They also end up killing (mentally *and* physically) one brother and the ending is utterly chilling as you are left knowing that the pattern of destruction is going to start all over again. That even as the remaining brothers might think that things are different, they aren't because the cruelties they've done and that they continue to unleash won't ever stop.

Little Cruelties is a brilliant portrait of three men who lie to themselves about who they are and what they want, who loathe each other, and who actively seek to hurt each other in increasingly devastating ways that ripple out, causing more pain. It's so well written that I devoured it in a day even as I wasn't sure which of the three brothers (they all get a turn narrating, all back and forth through family events they all remember differently) I loathed the most. It's a fast, stinging, and unflinching look at a very dysfunctional family and an absolutely terrifying portrait of toxic masculinity because these men, Will, Brian, and Luke? You have met at least one manlike them; working with or for, involved with, or even as a passing acquaintance--and knowing them, even just one, even in passing-'-has caused pain or harm or both. 

Very highly recommended.
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Wow talk about dysfunctional family and despicable people! Liz Nugent fills the pages of Little Cruelties would  dysfunction and toxic elements!

I like how we got the story narrated by each one of the brothers, so pay close attention to who is telling the story. I also liked that we don’t know which brother has died. 

I like to read Liz Nugent and I look forward to reading her again..... hopefully soon :)
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I can not get into this book. I love this author's work usually but this time it's a big NO. It's rather boring and uninteresting. I gave it around 175 pages or so but just don't like this one.

Nothing is holding my attention, The characters are very boring and the storyline is just not what I would expect from Liz Nugent.

Sorry but it's a DNF for me.

Thank you to #NetGalley, #GalleryBooks, #LizNugent for this arc, This is my own review.

2/5 stars from me and I don't recommend you read this one.
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What a family.

We meet the Drumm brothers whose mother favored one over the other and was mostly worried about herself.  She didn't even care to spend time with her grandchild because she was busy.

Will married Susan and was always having an affair.

Brian was the sympathetic, helpful brother.

Luke was a rock star and a bit useless.

All three brothers were jealous of each other and tried to outdo each other, do mean things to each other, and get each other in trouble even as adults.

OUR LITTLE CRUELTIES didn't really have a plot in my opinion.  It discussed the lives of the brothers and their mother.  The family is extremely dysfunctional.

I loved Ms. Nugent's other book, LYING IN WAIT, but this one dragged on for me. It actually was a struggle to keep reading, but I had to find out which brother was dead since the book carried on as if they all were alive.  No guessing on who it is because it was well hidden.

As we make our way through the years and the lives of the brothers, we wait to hear who the two brothers are that are alive and which brother has been killed.

OUR LITTLE CRUELTIES has good descriptions of the characters and situations, but it was not a book that I enjoyed. 3/5

This book was given to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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The opening paragraphs sounded good, but it was downhill from there as far as I was concerned. The three brothers were not likeable in any way and were too mean to each other for me to care about any of them. Their mother is a head case and  only cared about herself and getting attention for her past acting/singing roles. She was not a warm and fuzzy mommy or grandmother. Daddy must have really loved her to put up with her behavior, but he was also an enabler in allowing her to be this way.

After reading various viewpoints, as the different brothers have their say, I thought it must be about time to wind it up when I realized I was only at 28%!!! No way could I continue with more of this negativity, meanness, lack of real plot. Then I wondered if it was a memoir and I felt sorry for them until I realized it was a novel; then I felt they were not worth reading about.

Thank you NetGalley for an advance reader copy in exchange for an honest review. This was not something to bother reading until the end, though I see others have loved it. There are too many good books out there to waste time reading ones that are not worth it.
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We all know family dynamics are a series of battles. Sometimes they are sword fights, full of pin pricks and little slashes. Sometimes the small cuts are doused in vinegar and alcohol. But in “Little Cruelties”, we see that sometimes they can lead to a full blown hemorrhage- and even possibly to death.

A mother, father, and three young boys. In Ireland. The mother was a successful actress and singer. The father is the docile one. William is the oldest, aspiring to exist in his mother’s world in exchange for her approval. The middle child, Brian, is the most grounded - fleeing when necessary, frugal to a fault, and the one most outwardly “adult”. The baby is Luke, the one that really Makes It Big, becoming ultra famous and an addict.

The book is divided into three sections, each dealing with one brother. Each section jumps around in time, but has the year listed as the chapter title. One of the book’s strengths is to see where the same event is viewed three different ways. We clearly see what is important to one doesn’t exist on the radar of another. Perception isn’t even close to everything.

Unlikable characters are all over this novel. They aren’t just flawed - they are almost soap opera worthy. Even the one character, William and Susan’s daughter Daisy, doesn’t really have a prayer from the jump. But still, you cam see where certain actions were taken with unselfish motivations - at least from one point of view.

Starting the book off with a funeral is a good idea. Not revealing which of the brothers is in the casket is an even better one. And the reader still isn’t sure until the act itself happens within the last few pages. The book will keep you interested, but not necessarily engrossed. I could see it being adopted for a television miniseries.

I would recommend it if you are looking for a quick read with a bit of substance and a decent mystery. We all have dirty laundry. Now you get ti read the Drumms’.
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This was a deliciously wicked psychological suspense from one of my favorite authors, Liz Nugent. It’s is a tale of 3 brothers, all very different and all with a myriad of complicated issues. The book starts off with the funeral of one of the brothers, but we don’t know who until the very end.

The story is told from all 3 brothers’ perspectives and gives us different points-of-view of the same event, which is fascinating. The author pulls this off brilliantly. This whole family is completely warped and the things that they do to each other are downright sociopathic. This was a page-turner for me and I loved every minute of it.
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If you ever complain about your family (word), you'll sure be glad they are not the Drumms!

What an emotional rollercoaster of a thriller. It filled me with all kinds of angry at the characters, in an oddly exciting and satisfying way. Shocking problems of this dysfunctional (fictional) family were truly up my alley.

This novel is about the Drumms. They are simply terrible, awful people.. The mom, Melissa, has three children but favors the oldest son - William, a narcissistic film producer. William is indifferent to the middle brother, Brian, and truly nasty to the youngest, Luke. The book begins with the funeral of one of the brothers, but the reader doesn't know which one. From then on, the book proceeds to give each other the brothers' perspectives on various events in their lives which end in one of their deaths. 

You are going to hate nearly everyone in this novel and may need a glass of wine or two. You'll be so glad your boring/annoying/crazy family is not the Drumms. This story is a lot of family drama: drugs, mental illness, cheating, lying... very juicy, very thrilling.

*Thank you to the Publisher for a free advance copy of this book in exchnage for an honest review.
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Little Cruelties
by Liz Nugent
Gallery Books
 You Like Them
Gallery/Scout Press
General Fiction (Adult)
Pub Date 10 Nov 2020   |   Archive Date 10 Nov 2020

This is the story of a dysfunctional family.  I couldn't get interested in the book. It just wasn't the book for me.  
Thanks to Gallery Books and NetGalley for the ARC. 

3 star
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Our story begins with a funeral which is a cliffhanger as until the end we don’t know whose it is except that it’s one of the Drumm brothers. We do not find out which one is the victim until the end, nor how he was killed, or the motive. Each of the sons has reasons to want the others dead because of the 'little' cruelties inflicted during their lifetimes. We come to find out that they are an interesting and talented family, likely passed down from their mother (a cold, self-absorbed woman) who had success as a show band singer. many have classified this as a "psychological thriller." I would definitely classify it as psychological, for sure, but I DEFINITELY found this bbok to be more  character-driven than plot-based. I was so engrossed by the backstories-especially the 1970s Ireland setting-  that the whole mystery portion wasn't as important to me. For what it's worth though, the ending did catch me off guard.

I enjoyed how the story was narrated by all three Drumm brothers. Their stories skipped around in time without any chronological order, yet the author skillfully managed to keep all their individual stories running smoothly and with nice continuity.
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When a book promises a little dark family dysfunction, I am IN (not sure why I'm drawn to that, my own family has a very normal amount of dysfunction). And Little Cruelties by Liz Nugent brings some family dysfunction to the forefront of this engaging novel. At the center are the Drumm brothers. Their Mom is a washed up singer who still thinks she's a star, and expects her family to act like her fans. Her boys were born a year apart and spend their childhood competing for her attention and eventually, resenting it (and their father, who caters to his wife's whims as well). Their upbringing and hang ups from it follow them in their lives, where they keep competing against each other. The brothers each take very different paths and their games take different tolls on each of them. The story builds to a climax when one dies with some twist and turns along the way. It's not exactly uplifting, but it's well written and kept me turning the pages.
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The comparison to HBO's Succession is spot on.  The family created by Liz Nugent gives a whole new dimension to the term dysfunctional family.  What was interesting to me as a reader is the way I was drawn into the lives of characters that for the most part are fairly repellent.  I attribute this to the author's ability to nuance each person so that they avoid being caricatures.   While you may not like any of these people (with one or two exceptions), there is enough in each of their backstories that allows the reader to empathize with them -- at least until the next time they do something despicable.  Chilling and totally engrossing, this is one great ride.
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This is a story of narcissists where it's difficult to judge which is worse than the others.  We begin at the funeral of one of the brothers and journey back through the years into the lives of all three.  William, the oldest, is one of the most unlikeable men; Brian, the middle brother, lives his life profiting on the work of others; Luke, the youngest, faces struggles with substance abuse and mental illness.  Be thankful this isn't your family.
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