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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Big Little Lies: A Novel

I love Liane Moriarty and I will read anything she writes. So when at Book Expo America, I asked someone what they were in line for and they told me Liane's new book, Big Little Lies, I almost died and cut in line. I didn't, and my patience paid off. 

What really happened that school trivia night? Someone is dead, but was it an accident? You never know what is happening behind the scenes. The parents of Pirriwee Public School behave badly in so many ways: one campaigns to get a Kindergartener expelled for bullying, another lives for carping on her ex-husband's new wife, and they all look the other way when it comes to their own children. They all, too, hide their own secrets behind closed doors. Three friends move through the year together, but as the secrets slowly start to leak out, they will lead to the ultimate climax.

It will come as absolutely no surprise that I loved this book. Even more than that, I adored it and I want everyone to read it right now so we can all talk about it. I called my mom immediately and told her about it. Ever since What Alice Forgot I have been passing on Moriarty's books to my mom and we gush about them. This is no different, except since it's an autographed ARC (advanced review copy) she isn't allowed to take it out of the house and she has to wear gloves. Kidding about the gloves. Sort of.

Anyway, I described it as classic Moriarty but deeper. I loved her earlier stuff and obviously I think she is a grand storyteller, but more than that this book got into some pretty deep issues regarding domestic abuse that Moriarty treated with such care and humility. I felt she really captured the psychology behind why women stay in such relationships and she treated it delicately with the character of Celeste. There didn't seem to be any preaching or any pandering, but instead treated Celeste as a genuine person with a beautiful arc that allowed us to watch her suffer and live while still grow as a character.

I also loved all of the supporting characters in this book. The main characters of Madeline, Celeste, and Jane were fascinating and well worth the read in and of themselves, but it was also Madeline's mixed up family relations that were funny and meaningful, and figuring out who these three women were in the context of their communities was funny and engrossing and positively funny. Even the "mean girl" of the story was a sympathetic character; while she was incredibly obnoxious (as I imagine she would be if I met her in person), she was also easy to understand and relate to her meanness. We all know someone like her.

The story was really fantastic, and to be honest, I really had no clue who was going to kick the bucket until toward the end when all the pieces started fitting together. It was an incredibly crafted and tightly woven story and I might have to say that I think this is Moriarty's best piece to date. It is almost 500 pages that reads as if it is so much more. I must forewarn you--if you pick this book up, don't expect to put it down until you are done.

Hard copy available below.

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