Wednesday, November 19, 2014
Book Review: "Big Little Lies" by Liane Moriarty
Published: July 29th, 2014
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Source: Personal Copy
A murder… . . . a tragic accident… . . . or just parents behaving badly?
What’s indisputable is that someone is dead. But who did what?
Big Little Lies follows three women, each at a crossroads: Madeline is a force to be reckoned with. She’s funny and biting, passionate, she remembers everything and forgives no one. Her ex-husband and his yogi new wife have moved into her beloved beachside community, and their daughter is in the same kindergarten class as Madeline’s youngest (how is this possible?). And to top it all off, Madeline’s teenage daughter seems to be choosing Madeline’s ex-husband over her. (How. Is. This. Possible?).
Celeste is the kind of beautiful woman who makes the world stop and stare. While she may seem a bit flustered at times, who wouldn’t be, with those rambunctious twin boys? Now that the boys are starting school, Celeste and her husband look set to become the king and queen of the school parent body. But royalty often comes at a price, and Celeste is grappling with how much more she is willing to pay.
New to town, single mom Jane is so young that another mother mistakes her for the nanny. Jane is sad beyond her years and harbors secret doubts about her son. But why? While Madeline and Celeste soon take Jane under their wing, none of them realizes how the arrival of Jane and her inscrutable little boy will affect them all.
This is yet another case of me being late for the party. It seems everyone has been reading Liane Moriarty, yet this is the first of her books that I've picked up. I actually have a couple of her books on my e-reader waiting to be read, but I decided to start with this one as it is the most recent and is currently getting quite a bit of buzz.
Folks, I could not put this book down.
I can relate to it--not with the murder or abusive husbands, but with the having kindergarten-aged children as my youngest started kindergarten this year. And, boy oh boy, am I glad that she isn't at the school in this book. Yikes!
I really liked the three women. I could understand why Celeste stayed with her husband, which is saying a lot in today's climate (that's all I say to keep myself from crossing the line into Spoiler Land). And Moriarty does another great job with Jane by creating a character who is completely framed by her past.
And Madeline....there have been many times in my reading life when I've hated characters I was supposed to love, but I think this might be the first time I loved a character I was probably supposed to hate. Madeline has a short temper, is clique-y, and has no qualms about starting trouble wherever she goes....and I simply adored her!
Now, I must end my gushing because there was something about this book I really did not like. You see, it fell into one of my biggest pet peeves. It took some serious topics--which I commend Moriarty for tackling--and treated them almost too lightly in too much of a satirical light. To be fair, while I was bothered by this in Big Little Lies, it was far less than in some other books (such as Julia Fierro's Cutting Teeth). Perhaps that the setting of this particular book--moms of kindergartners--was a bit too close to me, but I couldn't help feeling uncomfortable with some of the tone of this book.
But, while I was uncomfortable at times, I was never so uncomfortable that I would actually put the book down, so that is saying something. I'm also to accept that Moriarty never goes so far that I felt that the book even nears the line between my own discomfort and general inappropriateness.
In the end, I did enjoy this book, even though I wished at times things were toned down a bit. It also introduced me (finally) to a great author who deserves all the accolades she is currently enjoying.
I was not solicited for this review and I received no compensation for this post.