Narrator: Caroline Lee
Published by Penguin, Penguin Random House on 2014-07-29
Genres: Contemporary Women, Fiction
Length: 16 hrs.
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Pirriwee Public's annual school Trivia Night has ended in a shocking riot. One parent is dead. The school principal is horrified. As police investigate what appears to have been a tragic accident, signs begin to indicate that this devastating death might have been cold-blooded murder.
In this thought-provoking novel, number-one New York Times best-selling author Liane Moriarty deftly explores the reality of parenting and playground politics, ex-husbands and ex-wives, and fractured families. And in her pitch-perfect way, she shows us the truth about what really goes on behind closed suburban doors.
Way to follow up The Husband’s Secret, Liane Moriarty! Big Little Lies is just as dark, juicy, and addictive as last-summer’s smash hit. Big Little Lies leaves your heart smashed in a million pieces just like that lollipop on the cover – who knew a book about kindergarten moms could be so delicious.
Big Little Lies is the story of three moms:
- Madeline’s a 40-year-old gossipy mom of three, who loves makeup and heels. Her ex-husband’s child is also in the same kindergarten class as Madeline’s youngest, and that’s as awkward as you’d expect.
- Celeste is the impossibly beautiful and somewhat absent-minded mom of twin boys. She’s married to the rich and powerful Perry and together they are the golden couple everyone watches in awe.
- Jane is the twenty-four year old newcomer and single mom to Ziggy. She is shy and awkward but determined to do all she can to help Ziggy transition to his new environment. The mom’s of Pirriwee Public though have other ideas.
Madeline takes Jane under her wing, and along with Celeste, the trio bond over school, family, coffee, books and gossip. They live in a beautiful Australian seaside community of blonde bobs and plain Jane’s who all have something to hide.
Big Little Lies starts at the end of the story, when the school’s Trivia Night takes a murderous turn. The reader doesn’t know the identity of the killer or the victim, but flashbacks and (and brief comedic sound bites by other voices in the community) fill in the blanks leading up to that fateful night. You’ll want the flashbacks to hurry up and catch up to Trivia night to finally get some answers, but at the same time feel unwilling to let the characters go.
If you are a mom you’ll recognize a lot of the mom politics that take place in the book. And if you’re not a parent, you’ll be afraid for the time when your kid starts school. There’s bullying not only among the kids, but also among the parents. Some of the schoolyard scenarios are heartbreaking while others are just plain ludicrous. (Kindergarten is usually not this bad, but just wait till middle school- ha!)
Liane Moriarty has quite an ambitious story to tell. There’s some heavy things going on behind closed doors, and appearances are not what they seem. These hard-hitting, tense stories are balanced with lightness and humor. The cliquish mom’s can be cruel but also provide some comedic relief in this suburban tale. The ending was satisfying, unexpected and appropriately twisty. It’s worth the lengthy buildup.
I listened to the audiobook, read by Caroline Lee. I really liked Lee’s narration in The Husband’s Secret so held out until I could grab an audio copy of Big Little Lies from the library. Lee makes this story really absorbing as she brings the small-town story to life. She is especially great with her larger than life portrayal of Madeline, but also subtle when the scene calls for it. I whole-heartedly recommend this as an audiobook- you will be looking for excuses to keep listening either by taking the long way home, staying on the treadmill longer, or volunteering to do the dishes. Lee is a great partner-in-crime for Moriarty’s complex story.
If you loved The Husband’s Secret, get thee to a bookstore and grab Big Little Lies. And if you haven’t read either, read them back-to-back! You won’t be sorry. I’m glad to see that this book is getting some movie buzz. I couldn’t help but do a little armchair casting when I was listening to this story.
Have you read Big Little Lies yet? What did you think?