Big Little Lies

In My Book Club Books on March 26, 2015 at 11:17 pm


by Liane Moriarty

Adult Fiction/©2015/ 460 Pages

Publisher’s Synopsis (Courtesy of Goodreads):

Sometimes it’s the little lies that turn out to be the most lethal. . . . A murder… . . . a tragic accident… . . . or just parents behaving badly? What’s indisputable is that someone is dead. But who did what? Big Little Lies follows three women, each at a crossroads: Madeline is a force to be reckoned with. She’s funny and biting, passionate, she remembers everything and forgives no one. Her ex-husband and his yogi new wife have moved into her beloved beachside community, and their daughter is in the same kindergarten class as Madeline’s youngest (how is this possible?). And to top it all off, Madeline’s teenage daughter seems to be choosing Madeline’s ex-husband over her. (How. Is. This. Possible?). Celeste is the kind of beautiful woman who makes the world stop and stare. While she may seem a bit flustered at times, who wouldn’t be, with those rambunctious twin boys? Now that the boys are starting school, Celeste and her husband look set to become the king and queen of the school parent body. But royalty often comes at a price, and Celeste is grappling with how much more she is willing to pay. New to town, single mom Jane is so young that another mother mistakes her for the nanny. Jane is sad beyond her years and harbors secret doubts about her son. But why? While Madeline and Celeste soon take Jane under their wing, none of them realizes how the arrival of Jane and her inscrutable little boy will affect them all. Big Little Lies is a brilliant take on ex-husbands and second wives, mothers and daughters, schoolyard scandal, and the dangerous little lies we tell ourselves just to survive.

My Thoughts: At first glance, I thought this was going to be a fluffy read, but, as it turns out, it has real substance. The plot is very clever and well thought out. You know someone died, but you don’t know who or why. This definitely keeps you guessing all the way through. In addition to the mystery, there are key messages within the plot centering on the issue of bullying, as well as the politics of divorce, motherhood, and school. Each character serves a purpose, and there is quite the cast of characters. The most thorough character development, of course, was reserved for the main characters, who continued to evolve right up to the last chapter. However, even the lesser characters received a certain level of substance. All in all, an enjoyable, worthwhile read complete with an engaging plot and memorable characters, as well as many parts that will make you stop and think.

My Rating: 5/5 Stars

Literary Epicureans Book Club Discussion

This book was a hit with everyone. Our discussion centered around the interesting format with all its false foreshadowing leading to numerous wrong guesses. We were all impressed with how well thought out the plot was, complete with purposeful hints that were masterfully misdirecting. Not one of us figured out who the victim was until the moment it was revealed. And we couldn’t have been more satisfied with who it was. Being that all of us are involved with education, we thought the author was spot on with the incidents at the school, especially the ones involving helicopter parents and the staff efforts to deal with everything in general and the process of getting to the root of the bullying in particular.

We then went on to discuss the characters, how they evolved throughout the story, and which character we identified with most. We liked how the author slowly filled out and revealed each character as the story progressed. Our opinions and understanding of Madeline and Celeste deepened considerably over the course of the book, but it was Jane’s backstory, how it all came together and connected, as well as Bonnie’s backstory, that took us all by surprise. One member noted, and we all concurred, that Madeline, Celeste, and Jane made an unlikely but very cool trio, supportive and loyal to each other.

This discussion led into a deeper discussion about the moral dilemma of doing something that is wrong in order to do something right, specifically as it pertained to the characters in the book, but also as it pertains to our own personal belief systems.

As we wound up our lively discussion, one member commented about Madeline’s newly formed book group, The Erotic Fiction Book Club. We decided it was time to actually name ours. So the previously Unnamed Book Club is now officially The Literary Epicurean Book Club.

Book Club Rating: 5/5

Book Club Discussion Questions

Our “When Push Comes to Shove” Dinner Menu


Pink Moscato Champagne and Raspberry Lemonade Cocktail

Assorted Cheeses with Crackers and Veggies with Hummus

Gourmet Pizzas (Vegetarian and Chicken Ranch)

Perfectly Simple Pizza Salad and Mixed Spring Fruit Salad

Chocolate Chip Toffee Cookies and Haagen Das Ice Cream

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