Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty ~ Review

Title: Big Little Lies
Author: Liane Moriarty
Genre: Adult, Contemporary Fiction
Length: 460 pages
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: July 29, 2014
Source: Purchased
Reviewed by: Jasmyn

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.

I'll be honest, the reasons I picked up Big Little Lies were 1) Someone at book club set it as the read for the month, and 2) The TV mini-series looked really good. And I'm really glad that I picked it up. Its bestseller status is well-deserved many times over.

There are a lot of individual stories being told in Big Little Lies, and Liane Moriarty weaves these lives together into a colorful blanket of life. While at first, the story seems to revolve around the children, I was quickly drawn into the world of the adults and their lives as parents, spouses, employees, and friends. It's a little microcosm of a world and you will find it hard to pull yourself away from it.

Appearances are everything in this world, and while it may look mostly shiny on the surface, things aren't so great once you take a closer look. There are tons of modern day issues hashed out in the story - from divorced parents, class differences, prejudice, and abuse. There's also a nice little murder mystery that manages to weave its way through the story. In fact, it's actually the primary storyline.

The way the mystery unfolds is amazing. I got little clips of police interviews with the various characters in the book as they - well - basically gossip to the police about all the faults of their friends and neighbors. There was always just enough information given to keep pulling me along the path, but not enough to give away the surprise at the end. And I was surprised!

Now - quick run down on the mini-series. It was pretty well-done, but that took that surprise element that I liked so much right out of the equation (in fact, the person doesn't even die the same way). Too many hints, a few missing children that were included in the book but not the show, and some added drama that I felt was unnecessary. Book definitely beats the TV show on this one - but it was still worth watching.

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