Book Review: Big Little Lies
Do you remember those girls in elementary school who were so perfect they were intimidating, whose compliment on your lunchbox made your entire week, and whose shoes you were always eyeing with jealousy? Well now those girls are all grown up with their own kindergartners and someone wrote a book about them.
They have everything, the big shiny SUVs, the perfect volunteering resume and the rich husbands with perfect kids to match. Only now, one of them is a murderer and it all started on the kindergarten playground...
This is Big Little Lies and there's nothing little about it. It's everything we've been missing since Desperate Housewives went off the air. The entire book has momentum that just keeps building and building. Not a lot can surprise people these days but this book definitely has the punch.
The character development is great. I could see a little of myself in each of the mothers, the good and the bad. It is a great illustration of how far mothers will go to ensure their children are protected and loved, but also shows the pitfalls of our competitive human natures and our need for acceptance.
First, you meet one of my favorite characters, Madeline. I kept imagining Terri Hatcher's character in DH. She's lovable in her vulnerability but she's just just as much a scheming ladder climber as the rest of them. She's also the queen gossip which makes her always entertaining. I always appreciate when an author is able to write comically such as Moriarty does in this book. I laughed out loud, which doesn't happen often enough when I read!
Jane and Celeste are two other characters that I couldn't get enough of. I honestly wish each of these ladies would have had their own book that I could dive into. The book lets you get a glimpse into each of theirs lives- but only enough that you get to know them, not enough for you to really know who's responsible for the dead body. Even though you'll find that there may be possibility any of them is capable it, because they all have a little crazy showing.
The plots and twists start when one child accuses Jane's son of choking her on the playground. That's when the claws come out and the moms start teaming up against each other. Then comes the competition that seems to be ever present among mothers and their children. Each mom is fighting to be the most involved, to look the most put together, to throw the best birthday party. As you learn about each character and their own struggles, background and home lives, you begin to feel a momentum build up that leads to a confrontation that's a totally satisfying climatic conclusion.
One wife is hiding a horrific secret and silently suffering. Another is hiding her shame, another tries to masks her insecurities with false confidence. There's one who is raising her daughter alongside her ex husband and his new family, and another with no friends in sight. I could relate to so many of their situations.
It's a great "murder" mystery for anyone who doesn't like all the blood and guts that comes with most thrillers. It kept me guessing until the end and when it all came crashing down, I had to reread the whole scene because I was so caught off guard. It's a breezy read, perfect for summer, but it is also heavy enough, because of the emotional issues, that it sucks you in long after you've discovered the culprit.
I feel like this one of the most vague book reviews I've ever written but it's just that I don't want to give anything away. Just know that there's a great story line that moves fast, there are cliff hangers, funny "little lies" peppered in through out the story from outlying characters and a build up to a really great ending.
Read it. Read it to be thankful that most moms are not this crazy (at least none that I have seen...yet), and because you'll be reminded that everyone is fighting a battle you know nothing about.