Friday, October 24, 2014

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty


Big Little Lies
by Liane Moriarty
Penguin/Putman, 2014
462 pages
source: borrowed from the library

Summary (from goodreads):
A murder… . . . a tragic accident… . . . or just parents behaving badly?
What’s indisputable is that someone is dead.   But who did what?

 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 is a book I never would have picked up without a little push from my blogging friends. Liane Moriarty is everywhere these days, but this is the first time I've read her. Why all the fuss? It's because Moriarty gets it.

In many ways, Big Little Lies is almost too real. You learn right up front something has gone terribly wrong at a school function. Someone is dead. But who? And why? Was it murder? An accident? The story immediately backs up to kindergarten orientation at the beginning of the school year. As it moves forward, the reader gradually gets to know the players and key events before finally arriving at that fateful evening.

The characters, the dialog, and the kids are all captured perfectly. You might not like these people, maybe you'll sympathize with one or two of them, and maybe it will remind you of parental shenanigans at your own kid's school. It mostly made me glad I'm beyond this point in life.

I was expecting a light, frivolous novel and was caught off guard by the unexpected substance of Big Little Lies. Book clubs will find plenty to discussion here.

If you haven't read Liane Moriarty yet, what are you waiting for?

My rating:



34 comments:

  1. I've been putting this one off, but now that I see you liked it as well, I need to reconsider.

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    1. Diane - At one point I got very annoyed with/tired of the characters, but ended up being pleasantly surprised by this book.

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  2. Well, I was waiting for you to tell us to read her! :)

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    1. Audrey - This belongs on a 'beach read with substance' list.

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  3. I cannot wait to read this book since I loved What Alice Forgot.

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    1. Kathy - Ive added What Alice Forgot to my list!

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    2. I loved What Alice Forgot, too. Can't wait to read this one!

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    3. Les - Glad to know you loved What Alice Forgot, too! Looking forward to reading more of her novels.

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  4. I read My Husband's Secret and really enjoyed it (but it is one of those books that falls apart if you think about it too much). I'm glad you enjoyed this one. I'll read it some time soon.

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    1. Jackie - I'm on the library hold list for The Husband's Secret now. sounds like it might be a good train/plane book.

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  5. Sounds like this is an author I need to look into too!

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    1. Peggy Ann - She sure can tell a good story!

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  6. See that is her reputation (although I'm not sure why). People think she is chick lit, but she always has REAL issues, serious ones. And she does get it. She gets motherhood and middle age and interrelationships and women in general. What Alice Forgot is also one that really hit home with me. And yes, I am SO GLAD my kids are no longer in their small grade school, because that shit does happen. Obviously Moriarty has lived it.

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    1. Sandy - I think that's why this book was such a pleasant surprise... I expected the parents behaving badly stuff, but the serious issues made the book really worthwhile. That kind off stuff definitely went on in out little grade school!

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  7. I really loved What Alice Forgot and the Husband's Secret, but somehow I got off track with this one and didn't finish it. I will likely get back to it, at some point. I have this theory that everyone loves their FIRST Moriarty book the most!

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    1. Leila - There was a point almost halfway through where I just got tired of and annoyed with the characters and considered putting the book aside. Sandy encouraged me to keep going and I'm really glad I did. Now I'm looking forward to her other books.

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  8. Haven't read it yet but the cover makes me think it's light reading. I guess if you really look at the cover it does hint at something more but I never looked past the colors.

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    1. Ti - I didn't really look beyond the candy/bright colors either, but appreciated the unexpected depth and real issues. I was surprised!

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  9. I enjoyed What Alice Forgot and The Husband's Secret. Thanks for your review of this book. The plot sounds interesting and I'm sure Moriarty's writing style makes it an enjoyable read.

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    1. Pat - I'm going to be reading Moriarty's other books now!

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  10. I think I was one of the only people who didn't like this book...and it was the 3rd book of hers that I didn't like, so I'm officially retiring from Moriarty. All the school shenanigans drove me up the wall :(

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    1. Sarah - I'd say you gave Morairty more than a fair chance!!

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  11. My first experience with this author was The Husband's Secret, and then I moved to What Alice Forgot. I love reading this author, and she does bring us right into the midst of it all...and Big Little Lies was a favorite for me. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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    1. Laurel-Rain Snow - Now I know why so many bloggers love her books! I'll definitely go back for more.

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  12. I'm so glad you were a fan! I thought she was going to be a fluff author too, maybe it's the covers? I just loved what I've read of her's so far!

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    1. Melissa - I even saved this book for a time when I was in the mood for fluff... what a surprise!

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  13. I have only read The Husband's Secret and I thought it got a bit goofy towards the end but I do remember it (my idea of a book not being too bad?). It was entertaining. I have not read this one but if someone gives it to me or I come across an inexpensive used copy I might look at it. It sounds more interesting than the Husband's Secret

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    1. Pam - The Husband's Secret strike me as a travel/vacation type of book. I'm hoping to read it in Florida this winter!

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  14. I don't know what I'm waiting for but this review definitely makes me want to stop waiting! I'm really looking forward to trying her books though I'm going back and forth between this one and The Husband's Secret.

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    1. Katherine P - The Husband's Secret will be next for me. They both have such great reviews that I don't think it matters where you start!

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  15. I loved this one. More than The Husband's Secret. I keep pushing this one my friends.

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    1. Linda - This was such a pleasant surprise for me... I knew I should have read Moriarty sooner. Looking forward to The Husband's Secret, too.

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  16. Loved My Husband's Secret and and looking forward to this one. She does 'get it'!

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    1. Stacy - The Husband's Secret will be next for me. Im on the library hold list.

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