[447]: Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

Putnam Adult | Hardcover, 480 pages
Publication Date: July 29th, 2014
Adult Fiction | Contemporary
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

Liane Moriarty is an author whose books have always put me on a topsy-turvy. Her characters made me mad, made me laugh, and yes, on occasion, it had inspire a tear or two. Her previous work, The Husband’s Secret, drove me crazy. So much so that I set it aside for future reading. One of the best characteristics of her stories is her uncanny ability to let me into the lives of her characters while making me feel like I’m a peeping jane. Like, I’m encroaching on a private matter that I’m not supposed to see.  But no matter what, I can’t look away. The same is true for this book.

I took this book on our recent trip to San Diego, tucked safely away in my purse no matter where I went. I tell you, I was head over heels with it. I indulged, whole-heartedly and without guilt as I soaked in the story in all my voyeuristic glory. I read it everywhere. I just couldn’t get enough.

She has this ability to tell a story with succinct realism that it’s almost a sickness. Her characters, though most were cut out from a stereotypical cardboard, made for some engrossing read. You have Madeline: spunky, with an in-your-face honesty leads the pack of this school parents dramarama. She is funny, loyal and defender of the oppressed. The oppressed being, Jane: a recent transplant to Pirriwee Beach, who’d immediately become a pariah because her son was accused of bullying a little girl on the first day of school. Also in their little band of merry maids, is perfect Celeste: married to a financier, beautiful, statuesque, but is kind and generous. They each have their own stories and points of views.

This book boasts an unpredictable mystery. One that will have you pulling your hair on its ends, as you try to relieve the pressure in your chest. But not to worry, Liane knows how to  make her readers laugh as well. And it’s the kind of Australian dry humour we’d learned to appreciate from their British counterparts. Considering that the major plot arches dealt with a couple of heavy subjects (abuse and bullying), and that one of the mysteries revolved around a murder, humour was definitely required to ease off some of the tension.

If you’re looking to expand your world, look no further than Liane Moriarty’s work. Though ours is a shaky relationship (I loathed What Alice Forgot), I can always count on her for writing some shockingly honest depiction of how normal married people live. You know, not from what you see on their Facebook but what actually happens behind closed doors.

  • Buona

    Hi Joy! I enjoyed this review so much and reminded me that I oughta try another Liane Moriarty book (and not What Alice Forgot hehe). I did enjoy The Husband’s Secret, and your description of how the author can make you feel like a peeping tom into someone’s marriage is spot on.

    • Thanks, Buona! I have to pick it up again. I wasn’t liking one of the women’s story (the husband left her for the best friend). I was annoyed. Grrrr

  • Ohhh she wrote What Alice Forgot? (Not that I read it). But I’ve also seen Big Little Lies around too! I’ve never read one of her books, but from your review I apparently have to! So yay! But I am a little scared I won’t connect with the characters, since I’m not married yet or in a relationship. hmmmm. I’m sure I’ll enjoy it anyways 😀

    • You’ll do great. If you’re a fan of mysteries, quirky characters and realistic writing, you might be able to enjoy Liane’s works. 🙂

  • I feel so happy when I read her books. The bonding between the characters is so real and strong, you know? I agree with you about feeling like a creep when reading her books. It gets so personal and intimate. Love your review, Joy!!

    • Thanks, Beth. You’ve convinced me to give her another go. As you know, I was not a fan of What Alice Forgot. After that book, I wasn’t sure if I ought to give her another chance. I’m glad I saw this on your TBR. 🙂

  • Faye M.

    Your review definitely convinced me, awesome lady! I like unpredictable mysteries (god knows how much we need those now… a lot that we have on our plate are pretty mindnumbingly predictable!) and I like how it doesn’t only fleshes that out but the development and character building are, too! So exciting! Added it to my TBR :3

    Faye at The Social Potato

    • Thanks, Faye. I hope you’ll enjoy. I know it’s not a thing you typically read, but I’d love to read your thoughts on this book. 🙂

  • Is that your back… ocean/sea? Lucky beech!

    Anyway, I love married people books. We all know HEA isn’t always happy, keeping and staying in a relationship takes a lot of work and even if its fictional, I still enjoy witnessing how some people navigate the challenges.

    • 🙂 Lake house.

      Well, you might get more than what you’ve bargained for if you’re looking to read realistic married people book. I hope you’ll give it a go, Braine.

  • I’ve never read anything by Liane Moriarty but this sounds like something I’d like to read. I love mysteries! especially those that are unpredictable (and a mystery with humor is pretty nice to me~~).. I’ll definitely keep my eyes out for this one. Great review! 🙂

  • Oh it sounds very interesting and well done. I didn’t know about this one but the fact that it’s realistic and that you couldn’t get enough of it is wonderful! I’ll have to look closer at this one. great review!

  • I have heard of this book, but hadn’t read anything about it. I have yet to read any Liane Moriarty books. It sounds like this should be added to my TBR though. I think I own one of her books though, What Alice Forgot sounds like a familiar title, but I don’t think I’ve actually read it since I’m not remembering it at all. I will have to read Big Little Lies and come back to post my thoughts!

    • If I were you, I wouldn’t start with What Alice Forgot. Alice was really a hard person to like. I’d say, start with this one. 🙂

  • I enjoyed this one. Being a parent, I loved how she showed the whole helicopter-parent-went-wrong thing. And the whole time I was dying to know what happened at the end. I read this on a plane and I hate flying and it was the perfect distraction 🙂
    Jen @ YA Romantics

    • Helicopter parent. I’ve never known of the word until I read this book!

      Thanks for stopping by, Jen!

  • I love the fact that this author inspires so many feels for you and sucks you into the story each time! I’m not familiar with this author, but she sounds wonderful. 🙂

    • I do like that she knows when to make her readers laugh, and when to make them cry. Sometimes, together all at once.

  • BEACH! I love the pictures you always share of your books. <3 You are awesome, Joy 😀 And I love this review too. <3 Haven't heard of the book before, and not for me, but sounds interesting ;p And yay 😀 I'm glad you enjoyed it so much. <3 probably not for me, as I am not married, or anywhere close to, lol 🙂 but I'm so happy you thought it was awesome. <3

    • Definitely not a “Carina read”! Thanks, hun!

  • Christy

    I need to read this. It was already on my radar, but now it’s slapping me in the face. I haven’t read any of this authors work, but obviously I need to change that.

    • I’ve only read a couple of her books. And it hasn’t been love all around. But I love that she gets my motor going – either way. 🙂

  • Shockingly honest? The kind of shocking that might be too much for a YA reader? I’m terribly sensitive that way, but it sounds like an awesome read.

    • Well, if you’re a married YA reader, it might not be so bad. 🙂

  • I’ve been seeing this book around Goodreads a lot! The writing sounds absolutely beautiful and you sound like you were entirely consumed by the story, Joy!
    I’ve got to check this out more.
    Lovely review!

  • I love that this author can inspire so many thoughts and emotions in you, that is awesome. It sounds like she is someone I should really check out further and give a try.

    • The best thing about her books is that she seems to get it, you know? She knows the kind of duplicity people go through to face their everyday life. It’s something else.

      Thanks for stopping by, Ali!

  • I haven’t heard of this author… but if you are so fond of her, I’ll be sure to check out her work! Great review, Joy 🙂
    Book Maniac Reviews

    • Meh. I have a like/dislike kind of relationship with her. But she’s brilliant as far as realistic fictions goes. Thanks, Kiran!

  • I have this book, too and can’t wait to read it! I love a good mystery and it definitely sounds like smth I might enjoy. 🙂

    • Yes! But the mystery is pretty light, I think. Some might even say, there’s not much suspense to it. Really hope you’ll enjoy this one, too!

  • I didn’t love WHAT ALICE FORGOT either, and that’s her most popular one, I think? Because of Oprah. I’ve loved all the other books I’ve read by her, though–she really does unpeel marriages and relationships so well. I find her so addictive, too–every time I get one, I feel so consumed when I read it, and I have a hard time putting it down. So glad you enjoyed this one!

    PS–I always have such a hard time leaving a comment here. I never remember the WP password/user name for whatever comment system this is, so I then choose Twitter, but then it doesn’t remember the comment/logs me in/out…literally took me 8 refreshes to leave this one!

    • So sorry, Miss Wendy! I had a hard time replying to someone’s comment today. I must investigate and see if I can make this easier. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by! I love hearing from you.