Big Little Lies

by Liane Moriarty

Paperback, 2015




Berkley (2015), Edition: Reprint, 512 pages


Fiction. Literature. "What a wonderful writer-smart, wise, funny." -Anne Lamott Sometimes it's the little lies that turn out to be the most lethal. . . . 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. She's just turned forty-forty?! 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.… (more)


(2062 ratings; 4.1)

User reviews

LibraryThing member a_wondrous_bookshelf

Set in suburban Australia, Big Little Lies is the fifth book of bestseller author Liane Moriarty. It follows the lives of three women, their struggles, and events that lead to a death at Pirriwee Public School trivia night.
The book follows these three different women as they meet at a kindergarten
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orientation at school. Madeline, whoÛªs just turned forty, and her daughter Chloe. The young and single mother Jane, who had recently moved to Pirriwee beach with her son Ziggy; and the beautiful Celeste with her twins Max and Josh.
When Jane‰Ûªs five-year-old son Ziggy is accused of choking and bullying another child, some of the parents immediately take a stand against the boy triggering hysteria and a series of playground politics and drama.

What I absolutely loved about this book was how easily Moriarty weaved the lives of these complex characters and tackled hard topics such as murder, bullying, infidelity, domestic abuse, and violence against women in a humorous and fun way, but without ever losing the severity of these social issues. She managed to write an extremely well plotted and engrossing story. I simply could not put this book down. It kept me up till late hours of the night dying to get to the end of the book, not so much to find out who did it, but who dies?

I laughed; I cried; and now I‰Ûªm very sad that it ended. Oh calamity‰Û_
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LibraryThing member TheYodamom
I didn't like the characters, didn't want to get involved in their mommy drama and just wanted them to shut up. If I was in a cafe with these women I'd move away so I wouldn't have to listen to them. Catty, selfish, backstabbing and cliquish schoolyard games, are just not my thing. SO there is is
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if I wouldn't want to spend time with them I don't want to invite them into my head for read-time. I am ending this with a DNF at 16%
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LibraryThing member Sandra_Berglund
You know how sometimes you get to the end of a book and you wish you could wipe it from your mind, just so you could have the pleasure of reading it for the first time again?

This is one of those books.

I can't think of another author off the top of my head who does relationships so well and with
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such humour as Liane Moriarty. Her characters love and laugh, rub each other up the wrong way, extend the hand of friendship, spread gossip, resolve to do better, cry and keep secrets -- just like real people.

In Big Little Lies, the little lies we tell ourselves and others -- sometimes to disguise the big ones -- blow up into murder and mayhem at the P&C Trivia Night at the local public school. Though we know someone has died from the beginning of the novel, we don't find out who it is till the end, as we go back through the histories of the participants to uncover the nagging jealousies and seething problems that led to the fatal moment.

So we spend the book in a state of breathless anticipation and worry. Who died? Was it bubbly Madeline, struggling to connect with the teenage daughter of her first marriage? Or beautiful Celeste, whose perfect life hides an ugly secret? Or was it single mum Jane, trying to start afresh, who finds that playground bullying isn't just for the kids any more?

Moriarty will keep you up late flipping pages as you follow the story of these three and the colourful characters who surround them, desperate to find out who died -- and why. The answer is enormously satisfying.
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LibraryThing member sbenne3
An easy read, but I got a little bored with these shallow characters. While there were some serious themes, the book had too much petty arguing between parents, ex-husbands/wives, and friends for me. There just wasn't enough substance. I did finish it though because the writing had a way of making
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you want to find out the ending . . . even though you had to slog through a lot of meaninglessness to get there.
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LibraryThing member SheTreadsSoftly
Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty is a brilliant, very highly recommended novel that closely follows the lives of three woman who have kindergarteners in Pirriwee Public School. This is both a murder mystery and a comedy.

Opening with the observations of Mrs. Ponder, an older woman who lives by the
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school, we learn about the drunken chaos on the night of the school's annual Trivia Night fundraiser where parents are dressed in either Audrey Hepburn or Elvis costumes and someone turns up dead. The novel then jumps back to the six months preceding that fateful night. Interspersed in the narrative are snippets from interviews of various parents about all the events/gossip leading up to the death. Who was the victim and could it have been a murder?

The main narrative follows three different women as everyone meets at Kindergarten orientation.
Madeline has just turned forty. Her youngest Chloe is the kindergartener. She is struggling with her ex and his wife also having a kindergartener at the same school. And why on earth would her oldest daughter want to go live with her father when he abandoned them right after she was born? Madeline is charming, vibrant, outspoken, and willing to take on the Blond Bobs who run the school.
Celeste is the mother of twins, Max and Josh, who are starting kindergarten. Celeste is a beautiful woman married to an incredibly wealthy man but she's been hiding some dark secrets about her marriage for years.
Jane is a young, single mother whose son Ziggy is starting Kindergarten. Madeline befriends Jane on orientation day, the same day Jane's son Ziggy is accused of choking another child and, later, bullying. The mother and her sycophant friend immediately make take an adversarial stand against Ziggy, trying to rally the school against the five year old boy. Madeline takes exception to their misguided, but strident, accusations.

The comments from various parents are interspersed throughout the story are like a Greek Chorus of defenders and accusers. Some of their perceptions and alliances are clearly drawn, but there is more than one controversy going on in the school. The comments cover such a wide range of opinions and judgments that it is a challenge to discern exactly who is commenting on what event that went on that night. Clearly, by some of the comments lines have been drawn and some parents are hard pressed to do more than pass along gossip and half-truths.

As I said, this is a brilliant novel. While covering some difficult social issues, Moriarty has managed to make Big Little Lies an entertaining, clever, humorous, dramatic novel that ultimately encompasses some acute discernment into human nature. Along the way, even when the subject matter may be hard. Big Little Lies is very engaging and will keep your attention to the very satisfying conclusion. The three main characters are all likeable and you want to help them overcome their issues. You will care about these women.

This is another very highly recommended book to read this summer. Might I also mention if you have ever had a child in a school with very involved parents, or if you've ever been part of an organization with widely different participants, or if you have ever witnessed mommy wars and helicopter parents, or if you are even remotely involved with schools, you will find parts of this book wickedly funny, but extremely accurate.

I know Big Little Lies will be on my best books of the year list. It is that good. (While previously mentioned Cop Town was another top read of the summer, it is much darker and grittier than Big Little Lies.) Liane Moriarty has just made a new fan.

Disclosure: My Kindle edition was courtesy of Amy Einhorn Books for review purposes.
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LibraryThing member cjordan916
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
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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.
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LibraryThing member nicx27
Having read and enjoyed The Husband's Secret, I was really looking forward to reading Little Lies. At the beginning it seemed quite an odd book but once I got into the story, which happened very quickly, I was absolutely hooked.

Madeline, Jane and Celeste are three of the mothers whose children are
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starting at kindergarten together. At the little school on the Pirriwee Peninsula there is a lot of politics going on with the mothers, all trying to be better than the others. Madeline feels the need to stick up for every underdog, which includes Jane, Jane and her son, Ziggy, never stay anywhere for more than six months, and Celeste appears to have the perfect life but does she really? Who knows what happens behind closed doors?

I found this book to be a brilliant and quirky read. It made me smile and roll my eyes with how ridiculous some people can be. And there was an OMG! moment when something happened that I had just not been expecting. All through the book we know that it's leading up to something that happened at the school trivia night and the plotting of the story is very clever in that it kept me guessing.

Excellent stuff, I loved it.

Thank you to the publishers and Netgalley for letting me read and review this book.
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LibraryThing member dpappas
Let me tell you the first thing I thought when I walked into that playground on that kindergarten orientation day was cliquey. Cliquey, cliquey, cliquey. I'm not surprised someone ended up dead. Oh, all right. I guess that's overstating it. I was a little surprised.

You wouldn't think it (or at
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least I didn't think it would be), but a story about parents of kindergarteners at a public school in Australia can be pretty damn interesting. I've read a few of Liane Moriarty's books and enjoyed them so that is ultimately why I decided to read this book. Once I started reading this I became hooked, like you wouldn't believe, on all the drama going on in this community.

There were two sides you could pledge your loyalty to, Team Renata or Team Madeline. I considered myself a proud member of Team Madeline while reading this book. The main drama in this book all revolves around some incidents involving Renata's daughter, Amabella. Renata turns into a mama grizzly and the two sides are formed. There is much more drama in these characters' lives but that is the main drama in the community.

From the beginning of the book you know that someone dies in this book, you just don't know who it is and why/how they died. You know that these questions will be answered once the events of the Trivia Night are revealed. The book covers the events up to the Trivia Night and then reveals what happened on Trivia Night. I was dying to know what happened and who died. I just loved making up my own theories for what I thought happened.

I became way too engrossed in these characters' lives and would wonder what would happen to them whenever I had to put the book down. Moriarty has a way of creating such fascinating characters that no matter if I am annoyed out of my mind at them I am also dying to know what happens to them next.

Thanks to the publisher for providing me with an advanced reader e-book through the First to Read program.
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LibraryThing member KimHooperWrites
I really enjoyed this book. It reminds me of "Where'd You Go, Bernadette?" by Maria Semple in that it's part comedy, part drama, part mystery and sheds light on bullying (in various forms). I loved all the different characters--the parents, the children. There are wonderful little insights into
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domestic life that I think all of us sharing a household with someone could appreciate. Even without the suspense factor, I would have kept reading along happily. The suspense made it that much better. It's rare that I'm not a little let down by the climactic ending of a story. This one was perfect though. I just put another one of her books in my Amazon cart.
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LibraryThing member thewanderingjew
This is a powerful novel resembling Gillian Flynn’s “Gone Girl”, Gill Hornby’s “The Hive” and Maria Semple’s “Where’d You Go Bernadette”, in that “Big Little Lies” also examines the interactions of women across philosophical and economic landscapes as well as the issues they
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confront in their normal lives. Told with subtle injections of humor, it revolves around a murder investigation, but that is merely the packaging for a book that confronts relationships of all kinds. Self image, bullying, domestic abuse and the nature of the secrets that allow this dysfunctional behavior to thrive and flourish are some of the topics explored. Although men are also abused in some cases, this story is mostly about the women and children who experience, suffer from or witness someone being abused, without understanding the causes or the effects. The often unseen and underlying reasons for the abuse are exposed. The character development is precise and very detailed making it easy to picture them as living, breathing human beings whose secrets and lies often portended varying degrees of cruelty as well as joy.
This author seems to depict men as morally weaker and more unprepared for fatherhood and its responsibility until long after a woman finds her niche, although many women are portrayed as quite shallow. Except for one character, Tom, portrayed as strong minded, but compassionate, willing to stand up for what he believes is right, the gay owner of the local charming coffee shop, Blue Blues, most of the men were either too easily duped, too easily controlled, too easily prone to violence, or too easily corrupted. On the social scene, they preferred not to get too involved, but rather they presented a “face” to the world, whereas most women proudly thrust their own “face” and opinions right out there.
The story revolves around a young woman’s evening of terror. Not even 20 years old, suffering from a broken heart, she goes with a stranger to his room and gets more than she bargained for; a man who seems like he is fun and polished, sophisticated and kind, is instead cruel and punishing in his behavior toward her, taking advantage of her youth, her weakness and her fear. From that one abusive night, a well-loved child is born. Jane had been told that having a child would be almost impossible for her, so she chose not to terminate a pregnancy which might be the only one she would ever have. Five years later, as her son Ziggy is preparing to enter kindergarten, she moves to a lovely, little beach town, and there, although the trauma begins to fade, she also experiences the fear that her son might have inherited the cruel streak of his father. Suddenly Ziggy is accused of bullying another child at the kindergarten orientation, setting off a pattern of events which do not show the mothers in the kindest light. They are themselves, gossips and bullys and their self-righteousness takes on a life of its own as they take sides in the developing conflict. In spite of this, Jane makes new friends, romantic feelings begin to stir within her once more and she feels happy.
There is so much misdirection surrounding this murder mystery that the reader will be utterly surprised by the conclusion. Until the end, even the name of the supposed murder victim is unknown, as well as the circumstances surrounding the crime. It really kept me guessing and involved. All the reader knows is that the story takes place around a police investigation of a murder that took place on Trivia Night, a huge fundraiser for the Pirriwee public school. The author used an unusual method to inform the reader about the deep concerns, often bitter feelings and also the petty gossip the women discussed, by including little tidbits of dialogue and snippets of conversation between minor characters that seemed to be observing and/or participating in the events, from the outside looking in, rather than becoming truly active participants in the story. Through the comments and thoughts of the different characters, we come to know their personal stories, their pain, their secrets and their triumphs.
The common school age issues, like competition and even lice, are treated with authenticity. The backbiting of the parents surely takes place in many schools. The issues that arise with teenage children are confronted overtly with the choices of Madeline’s daughter Abigail, who is going through a rebellious phase, identifying with her father’s wife who is more of a quiet ”earth mother” and yoga queen, as opposed to her own mother who is very outspoken and kind, but is also materialistic and very conscious of her appearance and the social scene. Although teens are often motivated by altruistic motives, their lack of real world experience often makes it difficult for them to understand fully, the ramifications and consequences of their actions, and so they often make faulty judgments.
I have some questions as to the credibility of some events in the story, like the convoluted confluence of some, but mostly it was believable, because in the end, the story’s conclusion is satisfactory and complete. Adults and children both mess up; some are misguided and often misjudged, while others are excused and forgiven when they should be reprimanded and even ostracized. Some can hide their guilt by living with secrets and some can present a false face so effectively that no one will suspect that things are not as they appear. The parents seem to instigate, manipulate, feign innocence, and above all else, protect their own images because they were overwhelmingly concerned with superficial causes and maintaining a “perfect” front for their peers.
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LibraryThing member voracious
Set in Australia, this gossipy book about a bunch of overinvolved, competitive, and high-strung Kindergarten moms may hit a little too close to home for those with young children. Jane is a young mother who just moved to the coastal school district with her young son, Ziggy, in tow. Unfortunately,
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on the very first day, Ziggy is accused of throttling another kindergartner, which leads the parents to take sides either in support of Ziggy or against him. As the "victim's" mother pushes to have Ziggy expelled without any eyewitnesses to the "crime", the parents work themselves into a gossipy frenzy leading up to the Annual Trivia Night fundraiser. The reader knows from the first page that one of the parents will die at the fundraiser, and so the book progresses towards the inevitable but unpredictable conclusion.

I thought this book was silly and somewhat irritating, as only competitive and overinvolved mothers can be. It reminded me of the book, "Where'd you go Bernadette" for some of the plot devices that made the story a little over the top.
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LibraryThing member susan.h.schofield
I loved this book! It had a little of everything - mystery, humor, suspense, family drama. It made me laugh out loud and get me guessing until the end.
LibraryThing member sweetiegherkin
This book opens with a local school fundraiser abruptly finishes when someone is found dead. However, we don't know who is dead or what exactly happen. The book then backtracks to the beginning of the school year and focuses on the lives of three mothers. Madeline is dealing with her youngest
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daughter entering the same kindergarten as her ex-husband's daughter as well as worrying about losing her teen-aged daughter to her ex's new family. Jane is newly arrived in town and as a very young single mother, she doesn't quite fit in with the other mothers; things are quickly exacerbated when her son is accused of bullying another child during kindergarten orientation. Celeste, the mother of twin 5-year-olds and the wife of a wealthy handsome man, seems to have it all but harbors a dark secret. The intersection of these three women continues as we move forward in time to the fatal night.

The book tackles a number of serious problems, many concerning violence against women, including child marriage, domestic violence, and sexual violence. As a result, it's hard to brush the book off as light pop fiction. However, it's not exactly the grand literature of the classics. It exists in some middle ground that is hard to classify. It seems to oscillate between gossipy neighbors worrying about fashion to harder looks at much deeper topics in a matter of minutes.

Overall, the book itself was somewhat better than I was expecting. (I was anticipating more of a "chick lit" style book with little substance and even less style). It is, however, probably a tad too long and has a rather slow start. In the very beginning, quite a number of characters are thrown at the reader and it's hard to parse out right away which ones are going to be the most relevant.

For the audio reader, the narrator was technically very good in that she had a variety of voices, accents, tonal modulations, etc., but something about her voice was a bit grating to me.
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LibraryThing member randalrh
A tremendous political thriller set in that most cutthroat environment, the elementary school. I would have made the context club soccer, myself, but Moriarty makes it work. The book is very funny, particularly in the spaces between chapters where offstage characters comments on the principals, but
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also quite insightful. The plot is not quite as well done, but the plot is not really the point of this book.
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LibraryThing member DoingDewey
Liane Moriarty’s The Husband’s Secret was the first book categorized as women’s fiction which I ever read and it instantly hooked me on the genre. In Big Little Lies, Moriarty has once again mixed a story of domestic life with tension, suspense, and mystery. Her ability to combine a story
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about family life with the pacing of a thriller is like that of no other author I’ve ever read. It’s thought-provoking, making you question what might be hiding behind the facade of normalcy in your daily life. I think it also emphasizes the importance of family life, making you emotionally invested in the character’s daily struggles and showing you the worst case consequences when everything falls apart. Another quality I recognized from The Husband’s Secret was Moriarty’s ability to create a diverse cast of believable women. Despite the third-person narration, it was always possible to tell whose perspective we were following.

Personally, I think that with Big Little Lies, Moriarty has surpassed even her previous work. The women in this story are dealing with some of the toughest issues women commonly face. By contrast, in The Husband’s Secret, there is one incredibly tough situation and several normal situations. The fact that in this book, the normal collides with the impossibly difficult made the story much more emotional. Each woman in the story has relatable concerns and strengths and insecurities. Even though I hope that all of you share my lack of experience with their difficult circumstances, I also hope you’ll share my joy and sorrow watching the three of them overcome situations anyone could find themselves in throughout this challenging, beautiful book.

This review first published at Doing Dewey.
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LibraryThing member bookfest
This is not a typical read for me, but I greatly enjoyed it. Jane, a single mother, moves to a beach town in Australia, where everyone's lives are intertwined. Her little boy, Ziggy, becomes a target at his new school. He is accused of bullying a little girl, but while he insists it is not him, he
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will not reveal the name of the true bully. Parents line up against him, pushing their children to do the same. In the meanwhile, quiet, troubled Jane has made friends with Madeline, a passionate woman who has her own struggles with her ex-husband and her rebellious teenage daughter. Celeste, another new friend, is very, very beautiful and very, very wealthy but has her own painful secrets.

The reader knows from the start that a disaster occurs at the school's Trivia Event, a fundraising event involving all of the parents. And everything leads up to that, with comments about that night's event sprinkled throughout, spurring curiosity.

The characters are complex, their stories revealed gradually. The pacing is excellent, it's hard to put this one down!
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LibraryThing member ecataldi
I wish I could marry this book I love it so much. That is not an understatement either. This book was awesome. The cover art was awesome. The characters were awesome. The storyline was awesome. Everything is awesome (to quote the Lego movie)!!! I really enjoyed "The Husband's Secret," by Liane
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Moriarity so I was hoping I would like this one as well. Not to worry, I definitely LIKE this one a billion times better. Sooo good!!

There has been a tragic death at the school trivia night. Was it murder?Who knows what? The months leading up to the tragedy are viewed through the eyes of three kindergarten mothers; Jane, a single mother of an apparent "bully," Madeleine, an eccentric mother of three with too much to juggle, and gorgeous Celeste, wealthy mother to twins. Alternating with their version of events are snippets of the police reports and gossip of other kindergarten parents. The funny, intriguing, and horrifying view of events enhance the foreshadowing as you desperately try to figure out what is going on.

Thoroughly engrossing. This book made me briefly want to have kids so I could be as crazy and ridiculous as these mothers. A must read!!
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LibraryThing member shelleyraec
“Oh, we’re such a caring school,” the principal told me. Blah, blah. blah. Let me tell you the first thing I thought when I walked into that playground on that kindergarten orientation day was cliquey. Cliquey, cliquey, cliquey. I’m not surprised someone ended up dead. Oh, all right. I
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guess that’s overstating it. I was a little surprised.”

Big Little Lies begins with a death at Pirriwee Public School during a Trivia Night fundraiser, but the details are concealed as the narrative shifts to a period six months previously to introduce Madeline, Celeste and Jane, along with their offspring, at the Kindy orientation day.

It is at this inauspicious event that Jane’s son, Ziggy, is accused of bullying a classmate, Amabella, triggering a sustained campaign of hysteria by her high powered mother, Renata, to punish Ziggy for denying being at fault. Madeline, a veteran of schoolyard politics and never one to shy away from controversy, chooses to side with Jane, supported by her best friend, the beautiful and wealthy mother of twin boys, Celeste and as such declares war.

While the school drama escalates in the lead up to the Trivia Night, the three main protagonists have other important concerns to deal with. Madeleine’s teenage daughter from her first marriage wants to go and live with her father and his new wife, Celeste is barely holding together her veneer of perfection, and Jane is hiding a shocking secret regarding the paternity of her son. These complex characters are so perfectly formed it seems likely I could meet them at the school gate. This is unfortunately true too of the ‘blonde bob’ brigade, whom I am all too familiar with having endured 11 years of primary school politics (with four more still to go).

There is plenty of humour in this sharply observed novel of playground alliances, ‘mummy wars’ and domestic crises but as Moriarty slowly strips away the social veneer to explore truths about bullying, domestic violence, betrayal and infidelity its darker heart is exposed. As the tension builds, gossip swirls, secrets are revealed, alliances shift, and lies are found out. Ultimately of course the truth prevails, and the mysteries are resolved in the stunning climax.

Part noir suburban mystery, part domestic drama, Big Little Lies is compulsive reading. Thought provoking, clever, witty and wonderful, this is another wickedly brilliant novel from best selling Australian author Liane Moriarty.
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LibraryThing member shazjhb
Great book. She writes well and keeps the reader interested. Very fun beach read.
LibraryThing member muddyboy
There is only one thing stopping this book from being five stars in my opinion and that is that it is about one hundred pages too long. This book is 463 pages suited for a topic with much more epic proportions. The tale is the "build up" to a death/murder of someone at a trivia night for parents of
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a kindergarten class. You don't even learn who the victim is till there are about thirty pages left. Though the back stories of the characters are interesting and needed there is way too much build up for what is a unique but simple plot.
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LibraryThing member Beamis12
This one was 480 pigs. that read like less than 300. I was thoroughly captivated, found this to be brilliant in plot, structure and tone. Gulped it right down.

On the surface this was about a group of parents whose children were starting kindergarten. We have the typical cliques, the do-goobers and
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many, many who think their children are oh so special.Over parenting to a T. Working moms against stay at home moms, fulfillment vs. involvement. Humorously told, there are so many times this book had me laughing, some of these moms were so over the top, absolutely absurd.

Under the surface was another layers, the author tackles many issues, among them bullying, spousal abuse and others. These women and their marriages all have issues, problems with their marriages, dealing with traumas from the past. Considering everything that was tackled in this book it should not have worked but it did, and that is to the author's credit.

Everything leads up to trivia night at the school and that will bring revelations, disasters and many will find themselves changed. Loved every minute of this one.
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LibraryThing member jmchshannon
One of the best things about Big Little Lies is the characters. Among the three women, there is something to attract all readers. Reserved and glamorous, young and shy, and confident and chaotic, they are as unalike as possible. Madeline is an absolute riot in her take-no-prisoners attitude and
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unashamed adoration of all things girly. She is not afraid to call a spade a spade and has a refreshing candor that provides many moments of entertainment. Celeste is the quiet beauty. With her gorgeous husband, unlimited wealth, and all of the trappings that come with it, one might envy her. However, beneath that beautiful exterior is a secret that chills one to the bone. Jane is the balance between the two. She also has her secrets that prevent her from being quite as boisterous and open as Madeline, but neither is she as reserved as Celeste. She is very young but in many ways wiser than either of the other two women.

In spite of, or maybe even because of these differences, their friendship works well together. In fact, their friendship does not just work well together; it practically leaps off the page. They have their differences and may clash because of those differences once in a while, but there is a fierce loyalty among the three that is beautiful to behold. Theirs is the type of friendship some readers may envy, as it is a clear reminder that friends truly help make the world a better place.

Another aspect of Big Little Lies is the politics of motherhood, something Ms. Moriarty wickedly skewers. The stay-at-home mothers versus the career mothers, the single ones versus the married ones, wealthy versus not wealthy – it all becomes a race to see which mother can be the “best”. This race runs the gamut from protesting the type of treats brought into the classroom for celebrations to dictating how a teacher runs her class. The derisive image of modern-day motherhood is a spot-on statement on the misplaced good intentions of young mothers everywhere.

In spite of the hilarious satire and Madeline’s laugh-out-loud inability to think before she speaks, Big Little Lies is not all fun and games. The secrets Jane and Celeste hide from others are very grim. Madeline’s struggles to accept the close proximity of her ex-husband are equally sobering in spite of the frivolity with which she masks her pain. Similarly, the bullying debate among the mothers at the school may appear extreme but do bring to light this serious topic. Ms. Moriarty deftly combines the serious with the frivolous to make her story enjoyable without losing the impact of her key messages.

Big Little Lies is thoroughly fun and often quite silly. However, it can also be an uncomfortable read. Ms. Moriarty spares no one in her unflinching portrayal of motherhood, divorce, and school politics in the twenty-first century. Even though the story occurs in Australia, her characters and her themes cross all borders, physical and otherwise. Readers will embrace her vibrant characters while at the same timereflect on their own parenting experiences and observations. Big Little Lies is a stunning addition to Ms. Moriarty’s already robust list of works.
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LibraryThing member bookloverLucy
I loved The Husband's Secret, so I was really excited to read Liane Moriarty's latest book, Big Little Lies. It did not disappoint! Living in Australia (Sydney actually!), it's really great to read something that's set relatively locally. And I really enjoyed the little pop culture references to
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things like TV shows, the latest technologies, and things like that. It just feels that little bit more relatable. The characters are all so well written, even the minor or background ones, and they're unique and interesting. They also help provide a great balance in the book between seriousness and comedy. There are of course some serious/darker themes and content in the book, but it's balanced with characters that ease the tension. Madeline's outgoingness provided a lot of the comic relief, but so did small background characters such as the other Kindergarten mums. The social politics aspect was hilarious. As in The Husband's Secret, I liked that Big Little Lies didn't just focus on one character. It's really interesting to get the stories of those three main characters, but it also flows really well because they're all intertwined.

One of the best things about the book, to me, (similar to The Husband's Secret) is that although it may seem big(ish) to some, it can also be a very quick read. It's just such a page turner, you simply have to know what's going to happen next, and push towards that final event. I read over half of it yesterday alone whenever I had a spare moment in the day (on the train and bus to uni, during breaks between classes, and then before I went to sleep) until I finally finished it. I loved the way the chapters had little glimpses of the interviews (usually at the end of the chapter), because it gave little bits of information or vague foreshadowing, and made me want to press forward and find out what happened.

I also liked that although it was a light (overall), and really engaging read, it also had some important things to say. It wasn't just all fluff. It had its fair share of darker, more serious content. Without going into spoiler territory, there was an overall theme of bullying (physical and verbal), violence, and (of course) secrets and lies. It didn't overpower the story though, or make it gloomy and depressing to read, but it still hit home when it needed to. The book is an excellent mix of humourous characters, dialogue, and events; and serious themes which get you thinking and feeling. I couldn't recommend Big Little Lies (and Liane Moriarty) more highly!
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LibraryThing member SF-W
Liane Moriarty comes up trumps yet again with another great book!
A book about a group of instantly likeable kindergarten Mums in the Australian seaside town of Pirriwee and about the lives they lead amid their webs of gossip, secrets and lies.
A devastating tragedy happens but the reader is not told
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what that tragedy is or how it happened - the author then cleverly writes in a style that drip feeds the reader with hints and clues and keeps you turning the pages avidly to get to the point of drama. Moriarty leads you into a world of secrets, lies, malicious gossip, abuse and domestic violence. With keen wit and acute powers of observation she almost makes the reader feel included and involved, at times funny and comical, at others romantic and fun; and yet often dark and very disturbing.
Always insightful and intriguing, this book is gripping and compelling from the outset.
If you loved The Husband's Secret you won't be disappointed with this book! A great and thoroughly engrossing read!
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LibraryThing member TheLostEntwife
Liane Moriarty snagged me with her smash hit, THE HUSBAND'S SECRET. I read it last year and my jaw dropped at how hard of a punch it packed. So when I saw that BIG LITTLE LIES was coming out, I knew this would be one I couldn't pass up. I was a bit worried, I'll admit, that it wouldn't live up to
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what its predecessor did for me, but almost immediately that worry was put to rest as I started in, immediately fascinated by the names floating on the page and the gossip they were revealing.

Read the rest of this review at The Lost Entwife on August 10, 2014.
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Physical description

8.2 inches


0425274861 / 9780425274866

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