I’m not one for contemporary thrillers/chick lit, but I think y’all probably already realized that by now. With that being said, I doubt that I would’ve ever picked up this book if it wasn’t for it being the first book choice in a book club I joined with some fellow neighborhood ladies. However, I was much more engrossed in Liane Moriarty’s Big Little Lies than I thought I would be… Consider me shocked!
Big Little Lies follows three women, each at a crossroads:
Madeline is a force to be reckoned with. She’s funny and biting, passionate, she remembers everything and forgives no one. Her ex-husband and his yogi new wife have moved into her beloved beachside community, and their daughter is in the same kindergarten class as Madeline’s youngest (how is this possible?). And to top it all off, Madeline’s teenage daughter seems to be choosing Madeline’s ex-husband over her. (How. Is. This. Possible?).
Celeste is the kind of beautiful woman who makes the world stop and stare. While she may seem a bit flustered at times, who wouldn’t be, with those rambunctious twin boys? Now that the boys are starting school, Celeste and her husband look set to become the king and queen of the school parent body. But royalty often comes at a price, and Celeste is grappling with how much more she is willing to pay.
New to town, single mom Jane is so young that another mother mistakes her for the nanny. Jane is sad beyond her years and harbors secret doubts about her son. But why? While Madeline and Celeste soon take Jane under their wing, none of them realizes how the arrival of Jane and her inscrutable little boy will affect them all.
Big Little Lies is a brilliant take on ex-husbands and second wives, mothers and daughters, schoolyard scandal, and the dangerous little lies we tell ourselves just to survive.
The plot in this novel was very interesting and I really enjoyed the way it was set up. You start off immediately knowing that there was an accident but not what happened or to whom. I loveeee when stories do that (see The Secret History), as it really adds an extra air of mystery to the story. I mean, why and how does someone get murdered at an elementary school fundraiser in an affluent Sydney suburb? Well, that’s what this entire book going on to explain. There are also quite a few heavy themes dealt with in this book such as domestic violence, rape, and PTSD. Basically, this book ended up being much darker than what I was expecting for chick lit, even if it’s technically a thriller as well.
Oh, these characters… Honestly, they’re the reason why this book didn’t get higher ratings from me. I just didn’t connect with any of them. Maybe it’s because I’m not a 30 year old housewife and helicopter parent? Basically, these are just some seriously flawed characters and I never agreed with any of their choices. Madeline was the most interesting, as she actually had a fun personality and was full of sass. I enjoyed reading her POV the most, I think. She was a little vapid and overly obsessed with money but it worked for her character. Celeste just didn’t click with me at all. It took her an entire book to make one choice that I agreed with. She was too much of a pushover and continued to let everyone else tell her what to do. Basically the opposite of Madeline and myself, haha! Jane was interesting, as she was a nice contrast to the other characters due to her being a single mom in her mid-twenties. In the beginning she annoyed me more than any of the other characters because she just lacked any sort of personality. Luckily as the story progresses, we get to see more of her and actually watch her have some character growth, which was desperately needed.
The pacing was fairly steady throughout the book. There were times when you’re basically just reading the most idiotic conversations or some mundane event that you think is just filler, but actually helps move the narrative along and comes back later. I never struggled to pick this book up and once I started reading, it was actually really difficult to put down. I was completely drawn in.
Overall, this book turned out to be something far more engrossing than what I first imagined it could be. I really enjoyed the overall plot of the story, even if the characters were less than appealing to me. I can definitely see why some people rave about this writer and her stories. I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys a good murder mystery or just enjoys chick lit in general. If you are hesitant about reading this book, the miniseries is also premiering on HBO this Sunday 2/19. I expect it to follow the plotline very closely and will be starring Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, Shailene Woodley, Adam Scott, and Alexander Skarsgaard. Even before I read this book, I had planned to watch the show just because of the cast. I am glad I gave this novel a shot though, and it will definitely make for an interesting discussion this weekend over brunch!
Final Verdict: 3/4 Stars
Have you read Little Big Lies? What did you think of it? Have you read any of Moriarty’s other novels?