Follows three mothers, each at a crossroads, and their potential involvement in a riot at a school trivia night that leaves one parent dead in what appears to be a tragic accident, but which evidence shows might have been premeditated.
A Brilliant Read
â€œThe Blonde Bobs rule the school. If you want to be on the P&C you have to have a blonde bobâ€¦..Theyâ€™re like Mum Prefects, they feel very strongly about their roles as school mums. Itâ€™s like their religion. Theyâ€™re fundamentalist mothersâ€
Big Little Lies is the sixth novel by Australian author, Liane Moriarty. The Pirriwee Peninsula on Sydneyâ€™s Northern Beaches is home to a diverse range of people, many of whom have children at the Pirriwee Public School and so are present at the Annual Trivia Night Fundraiser. But this year, one of those parents ends up dead. This one, intriguing fact is presented in the first chapter, after which the narrative jumps back six months to trace the sequence of events that led to the tragedy.
Moriarty uses three narrators, each of whom has children starting in Kindergarten: Madeline, confident, outgoing and never averse to voicing her outrage at the smallest injustice; Jane, a single mum with a dark secret in her past; and Celeste, rich and beautiful, and married to a seemingly perfect man. Other perspectives are presented in the form of quotes (some quite perceptive, some decidedly frivolous) recorded after the event by a journalist, from parents and teachers present on the night.
Moriarty gives the reader an original plot with a twist that only the most astute reader will predict. The setting is commonplace and easily recognisable and Moriarty captures the feel of the school situation perfectly. The dialogue is familiar from any cafÃ© or school playground and the characters are real and flawed; none is wholly good or completely evil. Several characters will surprise at the climax, and the reader may even feel some sympathy for the abuser. Readers are likely to find themselves hoping none of the narrators is the Trivia Night victim.
Moriarty touches on some topical themes as well as some age-old topics: domestic violence; body image; the dangers of a one-night-stand; bullying; victim mentality; erotic asphyxiation; infidelity; and bizarre internet auctions. She manages to include a lost plush toy, a Kindy Mothers race, head lice (of course!), a petition, a twisted ankle, a French nanny, little bullies and big bullies, an ex-husband, a gorgeous barista, a profusion of Elvises and Audrey Hepburns and plenty of laugh-out-loud moments.
Moriarty gives her characters both wise words and amusing observations: â€œThen, as she hit her late thirties, her body said: OK, you donâ€™t believe in PMT? Iâ€™ll show you PMT. Get a load of this, bitchâ€ and â€œEx-husbands should live in different suburbs. They should send their children to different schools. There should be legislation â€¦..â€. Also â€œShe looked straight ahead at the briskly working windshield wipers. The windscreen was just like never-ending cycles of her mind. Confusion. Clear. Confusion. Clear. Confusion. Clear.â€ and â€œJane saw that Madelineâ€™s feelings about Janeâ€™s baking were similar to Janeâ€™s feelings about Madelineâ€™s accessories: confused admiration for an exotic sort of behaviourâ€
Fans of The Husbandâ€™s Secret will not be disappointed with Big Little Lies. Readers who can ignore the misspelling of peninsula throughout the text will agree that this is, once again, a brilliant read.