Reviewing Liane Moriarty’s Big Little Lies

Everyone is talking about Big Little Lies. It is possibly the most popular show at the moment and before I watch it I wanted to read the book. Because I am also one of those people who love movie tie-in covers, the copy I bought reminded me of how excited I was to watch the TV show every single time I picked it up.

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty is the story of three women and the lies they tell themselves in order to survive. Jane hasn’t lived anywhere for longer than six months since her son was born five years ago. She keeps moving in an attempt to escape her past. Now the idyllic coastal town of Pirriwee has pulled her to its shores and Jane feels as if she finally belongs. She finds friends in the feisty Madeline and the incredibly beautiful Celeste, two women with seemingly perfect lives – and their own secrets.

But at the start of a new term, an incident involving the children of all three women occurs in the playground, causing a rift between them and other parents. Minor at first but escalating fast, until the whispers and rumours become vicious and spiteful, and the truths blur into lies.

It was always going to end in tears, but no one thought it would end in murder . . .

Being completely honest, before the TV show came into being (and it was featured on Gogglebox) I wouldn’t have picked this book up. I am not sure why: there was a murder and interesting female characters. I think because it was so prominently ‘woman’s fiction’ that I turned my nose up at this.

I understand how f’ing ridiculous and prejudiced I was and just how much internalised misogyny I carried (working on all of these now). There is nothing wrong with fiction starring female characters. Though there is a lot wrong with the term ‘women’s fiction’. So I am so glad there was so much media interest surrounding the book and that I did pick it up.

I absolutely loved reading this book. Secrets both big and small start to snowball together culminating in some shocking truths being told and a murder happening at the school’s Audrey and Elvis party. So eager was I to get to the end to find out who had been murdered and why (and how) that I was reading even when at home rather than just during my commute.

And that’s the genius of this book: you know someone’s dead but you don’t know who until the very, very end. Sure there were certain characters I hoped would get murdered but I couldn’t know for certain and that had me hooked.

I also fell deeply in love with Celeste, Madeline, and Jane. All three of them were so different  to each other yet their friendship is believable. All three of them were mothers with very different families. All three of them had very, very different secrets. Along with the three of them there are a whole host of secondary characters whom become more fleshed out as Big Little Lies progresses.

The book starts with police interviews after the murder and then takes us back to a few months before. By the end the two timelines have met and you understand exactly what’s happened. More than that you get why it has all happened. I was hooked! I now want to read everything else Liane Moriarty’s written.

I can’t recommend this book highly enough. It’s available now from all good and evil book retailers. And of course your local library.

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