Book Reviews

Big Little Lies

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

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Goodreads Summary:  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.

My Thoughts: This book was different from what I anticipated.  I thought it would be a light, “chick-lit,” book, and while it was a very easy and enjoyable read, I found it to be much deeper than I had expected.  It deals with a lot of important issues, and does it in a way that is both informative and sensitive, yet still entertaining.  Moriarty has a quick and witty style, and I appreciated that each character had their own distinctive voice within it.  I loved that the chapters were short and interspersed with the interviews of the rest of the community.  It really developed the mystery surrounding the “incident,” and also provided a great commentary on gossip and how it can affect everyone’s perception.  The three main characters, Madeline, Celeste, and Jane, seemed like real, flawed people, which made it easy to connect and sympathize with them.  They all are dealing with difficult and complicated issues, and I think that Moriarty did an amazing job of tackling them in a realistic way.  The plot was so intriguing, and the release of tiny bits of information kept me turning the page to find out more.  I did guess the big twist before the end, but it didn’t give me any less satisfaction when I got there.  I wanted to read this book after all the buzz around the TV show, and I am glad that I did.  I do admit that I pictured the actors while reading, despite the differences in description.  Watching the show after finishing the book, I have to say that I enjoyed the book more.  They added more drama for TV, which I understand, however; it lost the simplicity that I appreciated in the book.  Every little detail meant more, especially in Madeline’s relationship with her daughter and ex husband.  I also thought that the TV show weakened Jane’s character.  Her growth in the book is one of the most meaningful and beautiful developments of the story, and I didn’t feel like we got to see that in the show.  That said, if I had not read the book, I would have thought that the show was amazing.  Overall it was very well done, and the acting is fantastic.  This was my first time reading anything from Liane Moriarty, and I will definitely be checking out the rest of her work.

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