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.
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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
When Jane√ā¬Č√É¬õ√ā¬™s 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√ā¬Č√É¬õ√ā¬™m very sad that it ended. Oh calamity√ā¬Č√É¬õ_
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
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.
Opening with the observations of Mrs. Ponder, an older woman who lives by the
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.
What‚Äôs 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‚Äôs funny and biting, passionate, she remembers
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‚Äôt 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.
Madeline, Jane and Celeste are three of the mothers whose children are
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.
You wouldn't think it (or at
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.
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 ‚Äúface‚ÄĚ to the world, whereas most women proudly thrust their own ‚Äúface‚ÄĚ and opinions right out there.
The story revolves around a young woman‚Äôs 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‚Äôs daughter Abigail, who is going through a rebellious phase, identifying with her father‚Äôs wife who is more of a quiet ‚ÄĚearth mother‚ÄĚ 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‚Äôs 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 ‚Äúperfect‚ÄĚ front for their peers.
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.
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.
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‚Äôs 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‚Äôll 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.
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!
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!!
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‚Äôs 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‚Äôs 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 ‚Äėblonde bob‚Äô 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, ‚Äėmummy wars‚Äô 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.
On the surface this was about a group of parents whose children were starting kindergarten. We have the typical cliques, the do-goobers and
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.
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 ‚Äď it all becomes a race to see which mother can be the ‚Äúbest‚ÄĚ. 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‚Äôs 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‚Äôs 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‚Äôs already robust list of works.
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!
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
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!
Read the rest of this review at The Lost Entwife on August 10, 2014.