- File Size: 2630 KB
- Print Length: 458 pages
- Publisher: Berkley; 1st edition (July 29, 2014)
- Publication Date: July 29, 2014
- Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00HDMMISA
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Not Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,615 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
Penguin Group (USA) LLC
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Big Little Lies Kindle Edition
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|Length: 458 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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|Grade Level: 12 and up|
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“If you're looking for a novel that will turn you into a compulsive book-finisher look no further. Moriarty has produced another gripping, satirical hit...It’s can’t-put-downability comes from its darker subplots...A book that will make you appreciate the long days of summer.”—Oprah.com
"The secrets burrowed in this seemingly placid small town...are so suburban noir they would make David Lynch clap with glee...[Moriarty] is a fantastically nimble writer, so sure-footed that the book leaps between dark and light seamlessly; even the big reveal in the final pages feels earned and genuinely shocking.”—Entertainment Weekly
“Reading one [of Liane Moriarty's novels] is a bit like drinking a pink cosmo laced with arsenic...a fun, engaging and sometimes disturbing read…Moriarty is back in fine form.”—USA Today
“A hell of a good book. Funny and scary.”—Stephen King
“Ms. Moriarty’s long-parched fans have something new to dig into...Big Little Lies [may have] even more staying power than The Husband’s Secret.”—The New York Times
“Big Little Lies tolls a warning bell about the big little lies we tell in order to survive. It takes a powerful stand against domestic violence even as it makes us laugh at the adults whose silly costume party seems more reminiscent of a middle-school dance.”—The Washington Post
“Irresistible…Moriarty’s sly humor and razor-sharp insights will keep you turning pages.”—People
“Funny and thrilling, page-turning but with emotional depth, Big Little Lies is a terrific follow-up to The Husband’s Secret.”—Booklist (starred review)
“Moriarty demonstrates an excellent talent for exposing the dark, seedy side of the otherwise ‘perfect’ family unit...Highly recommended.”—Library Journal (starred review)
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This is the story of a group of wealthy, white New Zealand families who all have children at the same primary school using a series of linked events and points of view that ultimately lead to a tragedy at the school’s “Trivia” night.
At times this zips along like a soapy, pastiche of life in suburbia (Bullying in school! Petitions about dumb things! Head lice!) complete with a cast of wacky, colorful desperate housewives while at other times it seems to be earnestly trying to make serious points about the ugly things that go on behind closed doors - even among families that appear to be “perfect” on the surface.
And therein lies the heart of the problem - “Big Little Lies” just can’t figure out what it wants to be and as a result the “fun” parts aren’t much fun and the “serious” parts end up with an unsettlingly smug “after school special” feel to them.
The moral at the heart of both “Big Little Lies” and “The Husbands Secret”, by the same author (which I also had problems with) is that Bad Things Happen To Bad People and Good People get magically saved at the end by giant, clunky, ridiculous plot twists - no matter what bonkers things the characters do prior to this.
For example, here we are asked to believe that Jane - a stable, intelligent young woman with a loving, supportive family - has one single night of ugly (but consensual) sex with a Very Bad Man who scares her and says mean things to her - and as a result immediately falls pregnant and instantaneously develops a crippling eating disorder and can barely function ever after. So - while we are supposed to like and sympathize with Jane - her behavior is just bananas.
Throughout the story Jane makes a pious point - multiple times- of refusing to ever seek out That Very Bad Man in any way (Not even Googling him! Gasp!) - but we are ALSO expected to believe that she interrogated him on that one night to find out where he lived (why?) and then five years later abruptly moves to the town he lives in so she can stage a big “gotcha” scene to “introduce” The Very Bad Man to a son he has no idea exists just so she can tell him the kid likes pumpkin?? (I’m not exaggerating - that’s her actual plan) MORAL: Sex with strangers will leave you bruised, damaged, crazy and pregnant ( But thin! And beautiful!) - and you will ultimately plot to use the child you adore as a revenge pawn. (What??)
Celeste is so passive that she can only be “released” from her Very Bad Man literally by death. MORAL: If you’re a fabulously rich domestic violence victim with an apartment and income -make sure you know an unstable person because you will NEVER get away otherwise.
Bonnie is so damaged by her childhood experience of domestic violence at the hands of her Very Bad Dad that she ultimately commits a horrible crime - for which she gets community service because she has PTSD. MORAL: You might escape - but you’ll be broken forever and become violent when you eventually “snap” decades later - but you won’t go to jail because you’re Nice! (Really? That’s not at ALL how PTSD - or law - works)
In an equally ridiculous sub-plot we are supposed to believe that Amnesty International would be fine with a million dollar donation generated by someone “purchasing” a 14-year old girl’s virginity from an internet site as a fundraising stunt. (I’m pretty sure the sound I heard was Amnesty’s collective heads exploding at the thought they were used in this way) MORAL: A teen who tries to sell her body on the internet as a fund-raiser is really just “misguided” because she did it for a good cause and simply convincing her to take it down is a parenting score!!! At least she’s not on drugs! (Are you kidding me? Somebody get this kid to a therapist -STAT!)
If all that wasn’t weird and unsettling enough - we end this tragedy with happy endings for everyone!! (Well... except for the corpse) And luckily - it turns out ALL men aren’t Very Bad Men - you just need to find a Very Good Man and all your problems will go away! So Jane finds a Very Good Man who isn’t gay after all (thank heavens! It was the OTHER guy who’s gay! What a wacky mix-up!) who makes her eat yummy muffins he baked himself - thereby instantly curing her eating disorder and Bonnie finds her nice, supportive husband is ... well...nice and supportive.
If you don’t have a nice man to rescue you - like Celeste you can look forward to life with an insane amount of money with a psychotic child who tortures and bullies girls including throwing them down flights of stairs (because - you know - violence against women is ... Genetic?) but that’s Ok because he’s “just acting out” and you’ll get to give inspirational speeches about how domestic violence can happen to ANYONE (cue ominous music) and that’s enough , right?
WARNING: if you're watching the series and don't want the end spoilered, don't buy the book. The series has followed along pretty faithfully so far, with one or two smallish changes (the theater production isn't an issue in the book, for example).
Big Little Lies is beautifully written, with a rising air of tension throughout the book as we get closer and closer to the murder foreshadowed from the beginning. I won't spoil who the victim is for you, but suffice it to say I was a little surprised. I'd already figured out who the real perpetrator of the playground bullying probably was - it's always nice when you guess SOMETHING right - but there were definitely a few shocks in the last quarter of the book that I didn't see coming. It's an excellent book and well worth reading.
That said, if you haven't watched the HBO series, get on that right away. It's incredible; Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon are compelling as a pair of 'yummy mummies' who on the surface appear to have the perfect life, but beneath the surface things are far from the polished facade they portray. Alexander Skarsgard steals every scene he appears in as the poised, rich, handsome husband with violent tendencies behind closed doors.
Big Little Lies is a compelling story on the screen or on the page. HIGHLY recommended.
Top international reviews
There is some clever structure to the mystery but as it progresses it becomes absolutely clear this is a major sickly sweet 'feel good' tale with a super happy ending (apart from the one body). All the little sub plots start to tie up soooo perfectly you know the dead person is going to be the one character who most deserves it - so the only tension is who kills the bastard. Credit where due the whodunit twist is quite good but by the time it came I was choking on sweet sick from all the other niceness.
There are some dialogue issues as well, for example the main characters keep saying 'Oh calamity' which would be okay if the calamity were a minor issue like a stubbed toe but when the subject is sexual or domestic violence it doesn't fit.
I understand feel good tales have happy endings but this is all too neat to be credible. As a final point within this fairly woeful book the issue of domestic violence is dealt with quite well - it's a shame there are some good ideas here, a good context but the delivery is lacking and 'feel good' factor is way too over sugared.
you read it). The experience is weirdly akin to when you go to a hotel. When you first get to a hotel room you get to know your way around, find the slippers, the safe... Then once you change into your swimsuit, go for a swim and have a nice shower you feel like you've properly moved in... This book felt like the "just arrived" feeling of getting to a hotel room and never felt like I'd properly moved in... Until it was time to check out and you'd wonder where the time went! I wonder if anyone felt the same!!
So is it overhyped? Not at all.
I completely devoured this book. It was a gripping story. I really enjoyed the way it was written knowing from the beginning that somebody is going to die, and the inclusion of snippets of police interviews between the chapters. An most importantly I was kept guessing until the end.
I can’t recommend this book enough!
Trigger warning: Domestic Abuse
Although this novel is set in Australia, the school, parents, children, situations and playground politics will be all too familiar to any parent – accusations of bullying, cliques of mothers gossiping in the playground, children being excluded from parties or play dates, competitive parents, the ‘class toy’ and volunteering at the school are all covered in this book, which weaves its way through the six months leading up to the implosion of events at the trivia night.
As well as looking at life through events at the school, we also read of the lives of the women; especially the three main characters of Madeline, Jane and Celeste. Although there are very serious issues tackled in the storyline, much of this book is also extremely funny. I have to say that I was completely gripped and loved every page. The characters, the situations and feelings of the women were all authentic and it is sure to appeal to anyone who has found that taking your child to school is not always simply about their education. Highly recommended, often moving and darkly humorous, this would be a fantastic choice for book groups, with much to discuss. Lastly, I received a copy of this book from the publisher, via NetGalley, for review.
I initially bought it after watching the TV show and, at first, found it difficult to separate the two, finding myself constantly thinking "that didn't happen in the show", but then reminding myself that the novel came first.
Interestingly, it is set in Australia, not in Monterey as the TV show is. As richly drawn as the characters are in the show, the novel lends them even more depth and substance. Here, we can truly get inside the minds on Jane, Celeste and Madeline and fully understand what it is that drives each of the characters.
Madeline is a mother of three, whose eldest daughter is from her first marriage to a man who walked out on her and her baby; a man now living in the same town with his second family. Despite how long ago he left her, Madeline cannot let go, nor can she reconcile how he can be such a good husband and father the second time around.
Celeste is a mother of twin boys, with what everyone assumes to be the perfect life, as the wife of a wealthy man. Celeste and Perry are the King and Queen of Pirriwee, but behind the perfect image lie dark secrets.
Jane is a single mother whose son was the product of an assault. She has come to Pirriwee to find the man who assaulted her, but he is not who she assumes him to be.
The novel centres around the three women, telling how they meet, become friends, and how this bond of friendship endures through the secrets and lies.
It is a thoroughly enjoyable novel that shows how true friendship stays strong through the harshest of tests.