Hello, people of the internet!
I haven’t been reading a lot in this month because of my dancing exams, which I had to prepare for, but now they’ve finished, I can spend my free time reading again!
Believe me, if I didn’t have dancing exams, I would have finished this book a long time ago!
Title: Big Little Lies
Author: Liane Moriarty
Publication date: 29th July 2014
It was always going to end in tears, but how did it end in murder?
Single mum Jane has just moved to town. She’s got her little boy in town – plus the secret she’s been carrying for five years.
On the first day of the school run she meets Madeline – a force to be reckoned with, who remembers everything and forgives no one – and Celeste, the kind of beautiful woman who makes the world stop and stare, but is inexplicably ill at ease. They both take Jane under their wing – while careful to keep their own secrets under wraps.
But a minor incident involving the children of all three women rapidly escalates: playground whispers become spiteful rumours until no one can tell the truth from the lies.
Which is when the secrets come out – and now someone is going to pay with their life…
This contemporary novel surprised me at the beginning since the blurb of my particular copy implied that there would be a rift between Jane, Madeline and Celeste – this turns out to be false as it is the three of them against another set of mothers. I don’t know if anyone else thought the same when they read the blurb, and besides it doesn’t ruin the story.
The story is told mainly through the third person narratives of Jane, Madeline and Celeste, but what I found quite clever was the use of the other character’s narratives. For example, the first chapter is told through the perspective of Mrs Ponder who lives next to a school where she witnesses an incident that results in someone dying. Then, several characters who were there (such as Bonnie, Jonathan, Miss Barnes, etc.) tell a segment of what they thought happened to a journalist and ends with a detective stating that this is a murder investigation to the same journalist.
What a first chapter!
Not only that, but in between chapters (and sometimes during them) the same supporting characters tell their take on what has been happening at the school involving Jane, Madeline, Celeste and the other mothers, which can be very unreliable and some are very self-centred. It really does give an idea of what self-centred these characters can be and how their gossip, and lies, can worsen a situation.
But I found that this wasn’t the only huge focus in the story. Big Little Lies deals with various serious issues, such as divorce, sexual assault, domestic abuse and bullying at school, and the lies that are made from those situations. I have to admit, Big Little Lies was one of the few books I have read that dealt with the complexity of these issues and how they are not black and white. These issues do have an impact on the incident mentioned in the blurb, though not completely, but it isn’t made obvious until further on in the book. How Liane Moriarty writes these complicated plot points and character developments is clever as I, personally, was never once confused throughout the whole book despite the huge changes in narratives and jumps in the time period. However, I will say that if this sounds like it would be a problem for you, then this book isn’t for you.
I deeply care about Jane, Madeline and Celeste. Their characters are well developed and even though they are different, I believe that they are truly friends. I wanted them to be happy and I understand why they behave the way they do. As for the supporting characters? There were some I thought really worked not only for the plot, but also the character development of the three main characters and even stood out on their own. However, they were some I felt were just horrible and not necessarily needed for the plot. I can’t remember them apart from that they were gossipy and self-centred. I don’t know; when they were narrating, I didn’t care about what they had to say because I really didn’t like them.
Despite that, I still felt the growing tension between the parents at the school, despite me not liking some of the less necessary gossipy mothers, so I consider this a nitpick.
I must say, before finishing this review, how thought-provoking this novel is. It really does highlight delicate issues and is not afraid talk about it. It is dealt with intelligence and honesty – they are complex issues and it isn’t always clear on what the right thing to do is. There are also some very witty moments too. This whole book is filled to the brim with many emotions. So I got into this book, I couldn’t put it down.
I will give this book 4 stars out of 5. If this book grabs your interest, then I recommend it to you.
Thank you for reading!