Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Big Little Lies - Liane Moriarty

Big Little Lies
Title: Big Little Lies
Author: Liane Moriarty
Publication Date: 7/29/2014
Pages: 460
Genre: Thriller / Fiction
How I Found It: I heard a lot about the Emmy-winning miniseries based on the book.
Date Completed: 10/30/17

Summary: Little people, little problems. Hardly the case when it comes to a group of Australian kindergartens and, more importantly, their parents. School and family drama leads to murder at a school parents' event. 

What I Thought: Wow. I don't know why I was not expecting anything amazing when I picked this up. I've been dying to watch the miniseries because I love both Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman, who star in it, but I knew I wanted to read the book first. Kidman spoke highly of it while accepting her Emmy and that clinched it for me.

Yet, I was expecting chick lit. I don't like chick lit that much. I don't read much of it for a reason.

Shame on me. I should have known better. First of all, chick lit can be deep and powerful and important. But, also, just because this is a story mainly about three women does not by any means mean it is a story for only women. This is a story about parenthood, marriage, friendship, bullying, domestic violence, and more. This is a story for everyone. I'm going to put it on my list for Kevin to read and I think he'll really enjoy it despite overarching lens of "mommy perspective." After all, I read stuff written from and about the perspective of men all the time and enjoy it. Why do we get it in our heads it can't go the other way? Even those of us who are most ardently against gender bias fall victim to its pervasive presence in our culture. Consider me repentant and self-scolded. 

This book was gripping. I tore through it in just a few days. It opens with a death at a school parents' night but doesn't really tell you what happened. Instead, you are greeted with quotes from parents and school officials all sharing their perspective and, we realize quickly, passing on their gossip and opinions about others at the school. Moriarty then jumps back to months before the incident and gives the whole story, focusing on three specific kindergarten mothers. Moriarty keeps you guessing up until the very last moment. Perhaps I should have figured out the victim sooner than I did, but even if I had, the moments leading up to the death came out of left field...in a good way.

I did especially love that, despite all the infighting throughout the book, in the single shocking moment of the climax, the women feel instantly protective of one another. Their bond of womanhood goes deeper than even they expect. Moriarty has a truly fabulous paragraph addressing that, but I can't share it with you without spoiling the ending! Ugh. #bookbloggerproblems 

Ultimately, what caught me so off guard and impressed me so much about this book was its depth. Moriarty deals with heavy issues. Domestic violence is no joke and she explores its rippling ramifications. She does a wonderful job getting in the head of the victim and all the reasons they give themselves not to leave. She tackles this and other heavy stuff with grace and realism. It doesn't feel sensationalized. Just real. And heart-breaking. 

This book was such a pleasant surprise for me. I am so glad I picked it up. It makes me curious about Moriarty's other works and even more anxious to watch the miniseries. 

Rating: ★★★★☆
Will I Re-Read: Possibly
If You Liked This, Try: The Fever / The Widow / The Passenger

A Reduced Review: A powerful, gripping novel that keeps you guessing and also tackles some tough realities along the way. 

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