My guilty pleasure read recently was Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty. Based in Australia, Moriarty has a gift for women’s fiction. I first discovered this author when I read, The Perfect Husband. In many of her books Moriarty explores those the relationships we hold dear. She opens the closed doors behind which our most private moments are hidden. Moriarty’s books allow us to experience both the humor and tragedy of her characters while helping us have more empathy and compassion in our own relationships.
In Big Little Lies we visit a lovely coastal town where most of the people who live there are well off, and the mothers of the Perouee Preschool have plenty of time to focus on getting the best schooling for their little ones even if it means excluding those mothers and children they feel are inferior. The story focuses on three mothers: beautiful and feisty Madeline whose wit and temper make her a formidable opponent when the ‘blond bobs’ begin to harass her new friend Jane and her small son Ziggy. Jane is the youngest of the mothers at the preschool. She is a loner struggling with her own self-worth and is surprised when she is taken under Madeline’s wing. Finally there is Madeline’s best friend Celeste, with breathtakingly stunning good looks, a handsome, successful husband and the mother of two identical twin sons. Celeste holds a secret so terrible she would rather die than admit it, even to Madeline.
Big Little Lies steps apart from a ‘typical’ chick lit book by also being, at its’ heart, a mystery. As the story opens we find that a shocking death has occurred: murder or accident? It’s anyone’s guess. Nothing is revealed until the conclusion: you won’t know exactly what happened, who was involved, or even who died. Each chapter begins with a Greek chorus of sorts: various witnesses, interviewed by the police, gossiping their way through the book. The book was fun to read, and gives us a peek into mob mentality in its worst form. And yes, it happened in a preschool.
I loved Big Little Lies and look forward to the HBO special coming out in 2017. Nicole Kidman optioned this book and will star as Madeline, along with Reese Witherspoon, and Shailene Woodley.
Reviewed by Leigh