When’s the last time you raced through a book like wildfire, so caught up in the story that you’re unable — or unwilling — to set it down . . . even if that means Mt. Laundrymore has grown in your bedroom and dinner just ain’t getting made?
For me, it had been a while. My reading in 2014 was, to be honest, pretty lackluster. After learning I was pregnant in September, my concentration was pretty much shot. Nothing interested me. Even with stacks of novels just waiting to be picked up, I could barely muster the energy to crack their covers.
That malaise traveled well into November and December . . . until I found Liane Moriarty’s Big Little Lies. A recommendation from Melissa, this novel follows the lives of several Australian families with children in the same kindergarten class: quiet Jane and her son, Ziggy, running from a disturbing past; beautiful Celeste with her wealthy and perfect husband, Perry, who transforms after-hours — and hides that side from their twin boys; outspoken Madeline and Ed, who are parents to two youngsters with Madeline’s teen daughter in the mix.
And then there are the Blonde Bobs: the seemingly-perfect moms who hover and preen and dictate, lording over the “inferior” parents when they dare darken the door of their beloved school. Madeline is well-versed in their antics . . . and all too happy to show newbie Jane, freshly arrived in Australia’s coastal Pirriwee, the ropes.
She knows young Jane needs it.
Interspersed with the narrative are snippets from an interview — and it’s clear something terrible has happened at the school’s Trivia Night. Terrible enough to leave someone dead. As readers, we don’t know what or who . . . but we do know when. And as we get ever closer to that fateful night, my heart began to pound.
What works so brilliantly in Big Little Lies is the wide, varied tapestry of characters we get to know and love. This is contemporary, domestic fiction that shimmers and shines; it’s engrossing, well-written, effortless to read. As I got sucked into Jane’s awful back story, Celeste’s current heartbreak and Madeline’s painful desire to connect with her daughter, I could think of little else. I didn’t want it to end.
But it did end . . . and what an explosive conclusion it was. I must admit to never guessing the twist, and the identity of the murder victim remained elusive until I literally gasped aloud during Trivia Night. My husband asked what was happening — but I shushed him, unable to fill him in with a little snippet. “It’s complicated,” I said.
It was . . . and it wasn’t. As Moriarty deftly unveiled many secrets, I was awestruck at her ability to throw me off while still leading me in the right direction the entire time. She got me — and she got me good.
With its glimpses into many marriages — some working, others not — and the families either trying to stay glued together or ripping apart at the seams, Big Little Lies will appeal to fans of domestic dramas and well-written contemporary fiction. I loved my time with Madeline, Jane and Celeste, and find myself thinking about them even after turning the final page.
4.5 out of 5
Pub: 2014 • Goodreads • LibraryThing • Amazon • Author Website
Personal copy purchased by Meg
16 thoughts on “Book chat: ‘Big Little Lies’ by Liane Moriarty”
It sounds like I need to read that soon!
I loved this book. Listened to it on audio – the reader was wow! Anyway, I almost switched to regular book because I wanted to know what happened faster. It did make me glad that I don’t have that whole school-age kid one-upmanship. Don’t think it was as bad when my 30-ish daughter was in school, but it did exist. Have you read THE HUSBAND’S SECRET by this author? Another good one. Thanks for a great review. Makes me want to re-read at some point.
Fantastic review! Any book that has you so consumed that the world doesn’t exist for a while, is definitely a book that needs to be read! I purchased it awhile back, but will need to read it soon! Thanks for reminding me of this great book!
I loved Big Little Lies. I also enjoyed My Husband’s Secret too. I hope to read more by her soon.
Soooo much more tempted to pick this one up now. I see it everywhere but hadn’t gotten hooked yet.
Good book–she definitely had me guessing for most of the book. Moriarty has become one of my favorite authors.
I have this one on the TBR pile but have yet to get to it. I guess I should sooner rater than later!
I will read the book.
Really great review! Thanks for sharing
This is one of my favorite authors and I just discovered her last year. Since then I have read all her books. The one I liked the most is What Alice Forgot followed by the Hypnotist’s Love Story. This one was a little disturbing for me, it makes you think about how politics can ruin a school environment and how you should be careful not to amplify isolated incidents for your child’s sake.
I, like almost everyone else, absolutely loved this novel. I thought what Moriarty got so right was the school politics and the parental competitiveness. I also thought the ending was fantastic. She got me as well, and I loved every minute of it.
This has been on the waiting list at my library forever, and you’ve detailed why! Glad you enjoyed it!
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I loved this book too – I tore through it in a weekend. I felt the same way with her book from last year – The Husband’s Secret. I need to read What Alice Forgot.
This was one of my FAVORITES last year. I started it on the plane from Sydney to Fiji and couldn’t put it down the whole time.
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