book reviews | fiction

Book Review: Big, Little Lies

big little lies

Liane Moriarty is fast becoming one of my favourite Australian authors. Her book ‘The Husband’s Secret’, a NY Times No 1. Best Seller, has sold over 1 million copies alone. And Liane’s latest book, the highly anticipated ‘Big Little Lies‘ is bound to do the same.

Big Little Lies surrounds the lead up to shocking event – a death, at the Pirrawee Public school trivia night. Now I don’t know about you, but just this premise was enough to get me to read this book. How on earth was someone killed, possibly murdered, at a school trivia night?…I wondered, intrigued. And yep, from the first page, I was hooked.

Liane has a remarkable ability to tell stories. Stories that on the outside may seem black and white, but stories which we all know are many shades of grey in between. In fact Liane’s stories are shades of blues, reds, greens, yellows; every shade on the spectrum. The colour in her writing, from emotions to plot, to dialogue, is superb.

She is a writer that I truly admire. And even more so after hearing her interviewed by Allison Tait over at the Australian Writers’ Centre “So you want to be a writer” podcast. You see, Liane is a panster! Yes! Someone who writes by the seat of their pants with only a flimsy idea of what the story is about and where it is going. Once you read Big Little Lies, you too will be amazed, that this intriguing book could be written in this way. Now that’s talent!

But I digress, on with the review…

Big Little Lies follows the lives of three main characters Madeline, Celeste and Jane along with other minor characters all who have children at Pirrawee Public. In the book Liane weaves the stories of these women intricately and with effortless beauty. At times the characters were so believable with their faults and eccentricities that I forgot I was reading a novel of fiction. These characters could be anyone at your school, people you pass on the sidewalk, or smile towards at the supermarket.

The book touches on subjects and issues that are sometimes hard to deal with. Domestic abuse, how women are treated by society, bullying, the harsh judgments that mothers place on each other and the fallacies of our life. The book will make you look at your own life and think hard about the story you are telling, the social mask you wear and the judgments you make of others.

Liane’s approach to these issues are at times lighthearted, and at other times deadly serious. This was perhaps the only thing that irritated me about the book. At times it felt you were ready a Shakespearean comedy and at others a real life, heartbreaking story splashed across the newspaper. Truth be told, she handled it well, but at times I did find it hard to separate the two conflicting tones of the book.

Big Little Lies will make you smile, cry, nod your head, and at times break your heart. You will be captivated, engrossed and you will become annoyed any time you are interrupted during your read. And then when you are finished the book, the characters and the questions it raises will stay with you.

4.5 out of 5 for this one. A must read.


Have you read Big Little Lies?
What are you reading right now?