Synopsis: In the small seaside town of Pirriwee, Australia, Madeline, Celeste, and Jane all have children about to start kindergarten. Something happens on the first day of orientation that causes a rift between the parents and the children in the class, and what follows is a crashing tale of domestic abuse, secrets, and lies.
Review: I loved this book. I borrowed this book from the library, and I loved it so much that I had to go to my local used paperback bookstore to buy a copy after I read it. Big Little Lies is a book that follows three women in Pirriwee, Australia. There is Madeline, mother of three, whose ex-husband’s daughter happens to be in the same kindergarten class as her youngest. There is Celeste, a mother of twin boys, who is rich, beautiful, and seemingly has the perfect life. And then along comes Jane, a 24-year-old single mother, whose son, Ziggy, causes a disturbance on the first day of orientation of kindergarten.
Out of the three main characters, my favorite was Madeline. It took me a bit to get into her character, but once I realized that she truly was genuine, and not just putting up a manic, opinionated front, I really liked her. She felt real. I loved her relationship with her husband, Ed, because it was honest. They showed their exasperation with each other and their love for each other, and I appreciated having a somewhat solid marriage that wasn’t presented as boring. I actually kind of want to stop by their house for a cup of coffee in the morning and just watch how the whole family interact with each other.
The other two main characters, Celeste and Jane, are both dealing with major issues, and their stories are both very powerful, and they are likeable characters. I don’t want to spoil the story and how it unfolds in the book, but what happens to them is real and disturbing and happens every day to women all over the world.
It’s been a long time since a book has tempted me to peek at the end, but once I started Big Little Lies I was hooked and I had to know what happens. When the book begins, you realize someone has died under suspicious circumstances (not a spoiler, you learn all this in the first chapter), but you don’t know who has died. And this mystery of who had died I could not figure out until it happened. There are several mysteries throughout the book, and a couple of them started clicking for me only a few pages before they were revealed (I love when that happens). So, this one kept me up reading late into the night, and I’ve re-read the end twice now (and will probably re-read the end again before I loan my copy out). The ending was that good. Seriously.
I tend to be very hesitant towards books with a lot of hype – my expectations are so high going in, that I’m usually disappointed. This book did not disappoint me at all. It was powerful, I enjoyed the characters, and it deserves all the hype it is getting. I loved it. It is my favorite Liane Moriarty book so far, but I’ve gone back and forth with her books, loving some (What Alice Forgot) and not liking others (The Husband’s Secret). The only one of hers I haven’t read yet is The Hypnotist’s Love Story.
HBO is making a miniseries based on the book, and it stars Nicole Kidman (Celeste), Reese Witherspoon (Madeline), and Shailene Woodley (Jane). And those three will be amazing. I knew who had been cast before I started reading, so I was picturing these actresses while reading the book. They have changed the location of the series from Australia to Monterey, CA, so who knows what else they have decided to change from the book. I’m still looking forward to seeing it, but I’m apprehensive because I loved the book so much.
Bottom Line: Loved it. Loved it. Loved it. And I love the cover. I loved it before I read the book, and I love it even more now that I’ve finished it.
Have you read Big Little Lies? Did you like/dislike it? How about any other Liane Moriarty books? Are you looking forward to the HBO miniseries?