Book Review: Big Little Lies
Better late than never, right?
I finished Big Little Lies on Thanksgiving Day… so I feel horrible that this book review is coming so late.
Big Little Lies has been on my TBR (to be read) list for a very long time– I’m talking over a year. I wanted to read it as soon as I found out about the HBO series. I was determined to read the book before watching anything. And let me tell you, I am glad I did.
“Funny and thrilling, page-turning but with emption depth…” –Booklist
Big Little Lies, written by Liane Moriarty is a New York Times Bestseller. The novel was published by Penguin Publishing in 2014. Moriarty is an Australian author of six internationally best-selling novels, Three Wishes, The Last Anniversary, What Alice Forgot, The Hypnotist’s Love Story and the number 1 New York Times bestsellers, The Husband’s Secret and Big Little Lies.
In addition, Moriarty also has written a children’s book series, The Petrifying Problem with Princess Petronella, The Shocking Trouble on the Planet of Shobble and The Wicked War on the Planet of Whimsy.
Moriarty’s novel’s have been well received with The Husband’s Secret selling over three million copies worldwide, being a number 1 UK bestseller, an Amazon Best Book of 2013, and spending over a year on the New York Times bestseller list. With Big Little Lies, Moriarty became the first Australian author to have a novel debut at number one on the New York Times bestseller list.
“A hell of a good book. Funny and scary.” –Stephen King
Let’s dive into the novel!
Prior to starting this book, I knew nothing about it. If you’ve been reading my reviews for a while, you might have noticed that this tends to be a trend with me. I like being surprised!
Let me tell you, I was surprised because within the first few pages you are made aware that there has been a “terrible accident” that resulted in a death. Was it murder? Or natural causes? Was there foul play? You won’t know for sure until the end!
Moriarty definitely hooks the reader in right at the beginning. In addition, many of the chapters begin and in with interview-style snippets. Making the book is told in a flashback. We know something has happened and someone has died. We get pieces of a police interview with various characters. Then we are taken back in time to hear the story. Back and forth this trend goes throughout the entire novel. This type of format was enjoyable, because the reader keeps getting little clues to piece together, but the full story is not revealed.
The story is centered around three characters: Madeline, Jane, and Celeste. Madeline seems to be the town gossip– she’s always in everyone’s business, has a flair for the overdramatic, is totally lovable, and a little bit crazy. Jane is a single mother who recently moved into town. She is reserved, a bit restricting with herself, and is struggling with a lot, emotionally. Celeste is described as the most beautiful woman– almost always being defined from her looks, rather than as a person. All three characters are living in a costal (small) town and have children in the same class.
“Irresistible… Moriarty’s sly humor and razor-sharp insights will keep you turning pages.” –People
Moving onto the plot… Big Little Lies follows these three women through a variety of funny, sometimes tragic events. All the while, going back to “trivia night” when the terrible accident occurred.
I believe that many people will find this book relatable. Moriarty does a terrific job of really capturing the characters, little quirks, etc. Her characters have flaws—most likely similar form someone you know, or something you see in yourself. At times, you are annoyed by them, other times you are downright confused, or even ashamed to admit that you have said, thought, or done some of those things. All of which makes for a good story, because believable characters that you end up caring about help make a book come to life.
This book was definitely a quick read. I found myself frantically flipping through the pages, wanting to learn more. I was easily absorbed in the characters and the storyline. It’s quick-witted—I laughed out loud multiple times. It’s smart, there is mystery, you are completely immersed in the drama of these women, their children, their love lives, etc.
While the book is a bit trivial. When you first get introduced to these characters they are all well off, middle class, beautiful women, who wear the latest name brands, etc. Who spend their days at yoga or in the coffee shop, and so on. But as the story progresses, you really fall in love with each character. Moriarty does a great job of building that character development, making each one unique and interesting, and leaving you with wanting more.
In addition, I appreciated how Moriarty covered a variety of topics and issues that sometimes people ignore. She touches on rape, domestic violence, sex, eating disorders, divorce, bullying, to name a few. She is telling a story of everyday people with their everyday drama, so these issues should be covered—because real people are struggling with similar types of problems or experiences.
Strangely enough I wasn’t satisfied with the ending. I won’t give any spoilers, but even though you would think that the ending is what you wanted– I didn’t want it. I wanted something different.
“If you’re looking for a novel that will turn you into a compulsive book-finisher… look no further.” –Oprah.com
Overall, I would highly recommend Big Little Lies. It was a fun, juicy read, that will make you think about the little secrets you tell yourself and the hidden desires you have.
Have you read Big Little Lies? What were your thoughts? Let me know in the comments.
Cheers & stay chic!