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Big Little Lies Paperback – August 11, 2015
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An Amazon Best Book of the Month, July 2014: What is it about Liane Moriarty’s books that makes them so irresistible? They’re just classic “domestic” novels about marriage, motherhood, and modern upper-middle-class family life, after all. And despite the fact that Big Little Lies is Moriarty’s sixth adult novel (and it comes decades after the grandmother of this kind of thing, Bridget Jones’ Diary), it is remarkably new and fresh and winning Set in an Australian suburb, Big Little Lies focuses on three women, all of whom have children at the same preschool. One is a great beauty married to a fabulously rich businessman; they have a “perfect” set of twins. One is the can-do mom who can put together a mean pre-school art project but can’t prevent her teenage daughter from preferring her divorced dad. The third is a withdrawn, single mother who doesn’t quite fit in. Right from the start--thanks to a modern “Greek chorus” that narrates the action--we know that someone is going to end up dead. The questions are who and how. Miraculously, Moriarty keeps this high concept plot aloft, largely because she infuses it with such wit and heart. She also knows not to overplay the message she’s sending: that we all tell lies--to each other and, more importantly, to ourselves. --Sara Nelson--This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
Praise for Big Little Lies
“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
“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)
“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
“Moriarty demonstrates an excellent talent for exposing the dark, seedy side of the otherwise “perfect” family unit…Highly recommended.”—Library Journal (starred review)
“Irresistible…Exposing the fault lines in what looks like perfection is a specialty of Liane Moriarty… Moriarty’s sly humor and razor-sharp insights will keep you turning the pages to find out.”—People Magazine
"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
“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
"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 juicy drama.”—People Stylewatch
“Not your average mommy novel. It’s a juicy, twisted murder mystery replete with themes of marital abuse and self-denial…The perfect mindless beach read.”—Purewow.com
“Suburbia is about to get a lot more scandalous.”—Closer Weekly
"The Aussie author of last year’s runaway hit The Husband’s Secret comes back with another winning and wise novel that intertwines the lives of three women."—EW.com
"It’s no mystery why Liane Moriarty is a summer staple: with wit and compassion...[she] keeps it real."—Family Circle
“Riveting and insightful…Moriarty has crafted a great summer read full of perceptive glimpses into the many guises of human relationships: mother-child, husband-wife (and ex-wife) and above all, the strong bond of female friendships.”—Bookpage
"Deservedly popular Moriarty invigorates … women’s fiction through wit, good humor, sharp insight into human nature and addictive storytelling."—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
From the Hardcover edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
Madeline Martha Mackenzie is a 40 year old throw-back to the screw ball comedies. She has the mouth, the wardrobe and her heart is in the right place when not suffering from her monthly PMS. She lives in the same town with her ex-husband, Nathan and his yoga chanting, euphorically perfect second wife, Bonnie. Nathan left Madeline and their newborn infant 14 years ago, and while Madeline has re-married a wonderful man and has two children with him, it still hurts that their 14 year old daughter now wants to live with her ex and his wife.
It would seem that Celeste has it all. She is a beautiful woman, married to a very wealthy man, Perry, and has two adorable twin boys attending Pirriwee Public School. What looks to be a perfect relationship to others, can become toxic when the couple is behind closed doors. This is a fact that is finally becoming glaringly clear, even to Celeste.
Jane is a single mother raising her five year old boy, Ziggy, with the help of her mother and father, who live near by. She has just moved to the Pirriwee Peninsula, after taking leases in different apartments across Sydney, hoping to finally find a "life that worked". Once an outgoing career oriented 19 year old, she bears the scars of a disastrous sexual encounter.
As serendipitously as it was meant to happen, on her way to kindergarten orientation, Jane stops to help a slightly injured Madeline after a fender bender. Having their children in the same kindergarten class is the impetus that brings Celeste, Madeline and Jane together. While all three woman are experiencing troubles, some certainly more serious than the others, they are drawn together and stick together. Jane has a real support system from her new friends, when Ziggy is accused of bullying a female kindergarten classmate of a high powered attorney. When a petition is circulated to try and have Ziggy suspended from the school, it divides the parents of Pirriwee Public school into two factions.
This is chick literature with a sting, that is both funny, intelligent and ultimately moving. There is simply so much to recommended about this book, written by an author who has proven herself incapable of creating a one dimensional character or a boring plot. The characterizations are perfect, the Australian setting idyllic, the pacing perfect as there is not one unnecessary page, the character's interconnections realistic and touching.. The story is full of clever dialogue and laugh out loud moments, while never losing sight that the subject matter is at times complex. I have to admit I did not like the ending of The Husband's Wife, this time all the subplots converge at the right time and place, giving the narration a most satisfying ending. Big Little Lies is filled with sharp observations about domestic abuse, bullying, second marriages, self-esteem, parenting, friendship and second chances. "Oh calamity" what an enjoyable book. Very Highly Recommended.
The saga culminates around trivia night at the school. The author begins at the end, then she backtracks leading up to that fateful night. She prefaces each section with, Six Months before Trivia Night on down until the reader gets to the night. From the very beginning the reader knows someone has been killed. There are snippets from testimony collected by the police cleverly inserted into each chapter. This adds to the suspense. I wondered who might be the luckless one to be murdered. I vacillated from Jane to Celeste and even to Madeline.
From the six-month point to the actual evening of the murder, the reader learns about the three main characters and their sometimes sordid lives. All this helps explain what finally happens.
In this book Moriarty deals with a tough topic--domestic violence in an upper class home. She handles it skillfully and sensitively.
My only negative response to this book was at times it felt redundant. The reader is told over and over about Celeste's reluctance to leave her husband and about Jane's shyness. Madeline was my favorite character. She turned up whenever things got tough.
This was a very good read. Unlike the Husband's Secret, it is possible to put it down. Nonetheless, like the Husband's Secret, you will enjoy the characters, the story and feel satisfied in the end.