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Book Review: Big Little Lies

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Title: Big Little Lies
Author: Liane Moriarty
Publisher: Penguin (7 May 2015)
Genre: Contemporary Fiction/Mystery
Price: Rs. 357 on Amazon
Pages: 496

Just like 'The Handmaid's Tale', I heard of this book too when its show won big at the Emmys. A show headlined by Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon would be quite something. I decided that I'd read the book before watching its adaptation. Also, this was the first time that I was reading Liane Moriarty and I was a bit worried about the writing style. The writing style of Margaret Atwood was very difficult for me to read, so I was a bit wary of trying new authors. Still, I went ahead and ordered the book.

Big Little Lies revolves around the lives of three women and their children who all go to the same school, Pirriwee Public School. Jane is a young, single mother to her son Ziggy. Madeline has a daughter, Abigail from her previous marriage to Nathan and a son, Fred and a daughter, Chloe from her current marriage to Ed. Celeste is a mother to twin boys, Max and Josh and is the beautiful wife of a successful rich banker, Perry White. On the first day of school, Ziggy is accused of bullying Amabelle, another child at the school and soon the all the parents within the school are split into pro-Ziggy and anti-Ziggy. Madeline takes Jane under her wing and along with Celeste, the three women become really close. As close as they are, each woman is hiding something from the other.

While Madeline resents the fact that her first daughter is getting close to her ex-husband's new wife, Bonnie, Celeste is a victim of domestic violence struggling at the hands of her powerful husband. Jane on her other hand hides Ziggy's parentage and later reveals that he was born out of rape. The story traces the day to day lives of these women and their struggles with self-respect, body issues, aging, strength and family love. Needless to say, all their lives are connected in some way or the other.

The story starts with a death on the night of Pirriwee Public's Trivia Night. Murder or not, it doesn't say. Who is dead, it doesn't say. The story then moves back to six months before the trivia night and proceeds from there. While most of the story is a past narrative, the writing and execution is brilliant. I absolutely loved the writing style of the author. It was so easy and beautiful to read. The storyline went forward seamlessly and I found myself identifying with all the three women in some way or the other. Since the writing is effortless, you can read the book really quickly. The well thought of pace helps too. It is a fairly big book with almost 500 pages, but it will not feel that heavy. I read it in three days amidst work and household chores. The story captures you and you will not feel the need to rest before you complete it.

Every character in the book is beautifully etched and their lives are narrated briefly and to the point. There is no nonsense and no fluff here, even though the protagonists are three women. The book is not a girly book and while it does revolve around relationships, the core of the book is a mystery. While Madeline is an adorable character and Celeste the perfect, gorgeous woman, Jane's journey from being meek to finding her strength is applaud worthy. How each woman handles the problems in her life to how each woman finds her own strength and helps the other find theirs is shown really well in the book. Of course there are other adorable characters in the book. From Tom, the kindhearted, almost gay barista to Abigail who wants to save children over the world, the book speaks about different people and their various personalities. The climax was totally unexpected and if you ask me, I'd say well deserved.

You need to read the book to find out who is dead and how each woman finds peace in her life. Trust me, it definitely is worth it. I cannot wait to read more books from this author as I've fallen in love with her writing style.

Verdict: Absolutely a must read, I cannot see a single flaw in it. Loved it!

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars.


  1. 5/5!! Wow!! I am picking up this book next!!
    Liane's other book The Husband's Secret is on my TBR too.
    I am wary of writing style of some best selling authors too. Some bestsellers books are so difficult to read that I poison myself with self-doubt. LOL :D

    1. That I agree, but this one is way too good. Do read it.

  2. 5 stars? Wow! adding it to TBR list right away. The story line sounds interesting and sure, movie-like ;)

  3. Damn... now I have to see the series and read the book! On my next to-buy list from Amazon

  4. Lovely review, I have to read this now. I haven't read any of her books.

  5. Oh wow! That's high praise. Putting it on my TBR right away.

    1. The book deserves it, Rachna. I hope you read and enjoy it.


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