Big Little Lies, Liane Moriarty

Oh, the lies. Some big lies. Some little lies. Some Big Little Lies.

A school fundraiser ends in death. Who dies? How?

Big Little Lies is a story about the lives of three women. It is a story about friendships and feuds, facts and rumours, loving relationships and abusive ones.

It took a little while, but I became invested in the characters. In the beginning I found it difficult to be interested in their inner thoughts and insecurities, wondering if they were acting too much or too little in a particular way. I slowly began to care about them as more and more of their lives were laid bare. Why is Jane super thin and always chewing gum? Why is Celeste always off in another world, and treading carefully around her husband? The little questions have big answers.

The other main gal, Madeline, has her own issues, but they were almost a calm reprieve from those of her friends’. Madeline is insecure about the simple things that she enjoys, such as makeup and reality television. She is worried she is too superficial, and never knows how to act around her (naively and dangerously) humanitarian daughter. She constantly questions the things she says and does, worrying about what she should have done and what people think about her.

These are things she has in common with her friends, although none of them know this. Although I found it very frustrating, I also found it very relatable.

The book is 470 pages long and has a nonlinear storyline, and the end of each chapter has conversation snippets from after the trivia night, when someone ends up dead. These snippets slowly dole out key bits of information, but often are just the inane prattling of a parents that attended the event, making some comment about running races, being a working mum, or whether someone threw a drink on someone else. It got quite annoying to read it all, but I think that was intentional- those are the types of people the protagonists are dealing with day to day at the school. They are annoying and infuriating gossipers and helicopter parents. Occasionally the interviews would hint at something big, and I became intrigued by the jigsaw I was slowly piecing together. Who dies? How? Accident? Murder?

The story is told from the alternating perspectives of the three main women, which allowed for a sort of cliff hanger between action to allow tension and anticipation to rise. They slowly began to grow on me; they are three interesting and complex women, and I was very worried that one of them that was going to die.

There are many other characters and events I am glossing over or flat out omitting, and that’s because I don’t want to spoil the story. There is so much going on that gets revealed page after page.

This book was different to ones I usually read, and it was cool to have a story based in Sydney, where I live, instead of The UK or USA like usual. It added something else to the experience: these people could be friends of friends or walking beside me as I wander through the crowded city. Since it’s primarily set on the coast I knew they weren’t too close to me, because as if I can afford that!

It’s not everyone’s cup of tea but I would suggest giving it a try, because you might be surprised, like me, and enjoy it a lot.

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