Tuesday, August 19, 2014
Book Review: Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
Author: Liane Moriarty
Enjoyment Rating: ****
Content Alert: physical abuse, swearing, conversations about sex
I am not a mom who gets a lot out of being at my children's elementary school. I think part of this is because I alway have little ones hanging on me which makes volunteering difficult, and part of it is because I'm a little bit nervous about breaking into the social circle that seems centered on school life. Liane Moriarty's book Big Little Lies, centers on the lives of the mothers of the children in Miss Barnes's kindergarten class at Pirriwee Public school in coastal Australia, and culminates in the death of one of the parents at a school fundraising night.
While the book appears relatively light at first, and even sort of satirical, painting the characters with broad strokes (the "Blond Bobs" who run the school, the mothers who are obsessed with Clorox wipes, the hot nanny, the working moms who are always at board meetings), but the book, which centers on the lives of three moms: Madeline, who now has to see her ex-husband and his new wife at daily school events, Jane, a single mom new to the area whose son is accused of bullying another student, and Celeste, whose wealth, beauty and adorable twin boys hide the fact that she's being abused by her husband. The story started slowly, and definitely picked up steam as it went along. Moriarty presents both the straightforward, linear narrative, with police/journalist interviews at the end of each chapter, which function as a sort of Greek chorus, while highlighting the events to come.