Title: Big Little Lies
Author: Liane Moriarty
Release Date: July 2014
My Rating: 6/10 Alright
Single mum Jane has just moved to town. She’s got her little boy in tow – plus the secret she’s been carrying for five years.
On the first day of the school run she meets Madeline – a force to be reckoned with, who remembers everything and forgives no one – and Celeste, the kind of beautiful woman who makes the world stop and stare, but is inexplicably ill at ease. They both take Jane under their wing – while careful to keep their own secrets under wraps.
But a minor incident involving the children of all three women rapidly escalates: playground whispers become spiteful rumours until no one can tell the truth from the lies.
Which is when the secrets come out – and now someone is going to pay with their life . . .
I’ll start by saying this is probably more of a 6.5/10. I enjoyed this more than The Husband’s Secret by the same author, but it still didn’t wow me. Liane Moriarty has a writing style that keeps you reading, regardless of whether you’re enjoying the plot. As it turns out, I had so many issues with this book, I’m going to struggle to list them all in an articulate manner.
The biggest problem I had with this book were the characters. They were pretty much the same as in The Husband’s Secret, just with different names. I didn’t mind Jane, but Celeste and Madeline were horribly superficial, snotty, stuck-up, middle-class bitches. Despite their circumstances, I found it very difficult to care about them. Maybe I’m the wrong demographic for this sort of book. Perhaps older women would be able to relate more to it, but I certainly didn’t. The characters are annoying caricatures and, if I’m honest, I’m rather surprised that they’d been created by a woman. According to this book, all women are gossipy bitches; all women are stay at home mothers with rich husbands; all women are defined by their beauty/fashion sense/love of make-up. I could see what the author was trying to do by making it quite humorous, and demonstrating the petty nature of mothers in the playground, but it fell short of the mark and left me feeling angry rather than amused. Perhaps a woman who has school-aged children would relate to this and therefore feel differently, but I was offended.
As far as the plot is concerned, it is a fairly good one. We have the mystery of a murder, which manages to create suspense throughout and keep you turning the pages. We don’t know who has been killed, or who is the killer, but we do know it happens at the school ‘trivia night’, which the first 400 pages lead up to. Throughout these 400 pages, we are treated to an array of ‘mummy issues’, with the little darlings being naughty and getting nits and being bossy and arguing over toys, how cute!!!! No. This book could have been 200 pages shorter. I would have rather had a focus on the issues the three main characters were facing away from their children, which I think Liane Moriarty attempted to make important aspects of the story, but they simply fell flat. I didn’t care enough about the characters to feel sympathy for them. Everything seemed far too trivial for a murder to occur.
Overall, I felt this book was a demonstration of weak women, dominated by men and living a happy, cushy little life. As I’ve already said, I found the gossipy, bitchy ‘playground politics’ to be an insulting portrayal of women.
Although I enjoyed the story more than I did The Husband’s Secret, I don’t think I’ll be reading any more of Liane Moriarty’s books. I gave her another chance as this one had better ratings on Goodreads, but it didn’t quite hit the mark. It was far too chic-lit, annoying and down-right insulting. I apologise for the rambling rant!