Friday, August 22, 2014

Review: Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

Currently a New York Times bestselling novelist, Liane Moriarty, author of The Husband's Secret, spins a new tale about secrets, lies, friendship, and schoolyard scandals.
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. 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.
@Goodreads - @Amazon

A murder.  Maybe.  The blurb says there might have been a murder.  Or maybe an accident?  Does someone die?  Who dies?

Well, I'm not going to tell you who dies, or if it was a murder, an accident, or just parents behaving badly.  But I will tell you that you won't know who dies until, well, they die.  At the very end of the novel.

The book opens with something happening at an elementary school.  We have no idea what happened, only that something did, and we only know that is was something major because the blurb tells us that someone dies.  It's very unclear what happens in the beginning; we are told there is a scuffle of sorts witnessed by an elderly lady with a cat named Marie Antoniette (let them eat cake) in the very beginning.  Then the novel takes us back six months and introduces us to entirely new characters.  Bye, old lady.  Hello, three 30-something ladies.

The author tells us just enough to pique our curiosity early on.  One of the characters may have a psychotic monster child.  Another may be a victim of domestic abuse.  But the question still remains -- WHO DIES?  (And should we care?)

The novel is well-written, with relatable, although slightly clich├ęd characters, but it's the schoolyard scandal (read: kindergarten politics) that killed it for me.  I lost interest about halfway through the novel, but pressed on, because, well -- WHO DIES?

The ending is actually very good -- there are some twists that you will probably see coming, but the slow build-up was worth it.  I gobbled up the last quarter of the novel greedily; once it got good, it was very good.  

This book will be well received by women ages 25-45 with elementary school children.


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