I became a fan of Liane Moriarty when I read My Husband’s Secret (read my review here). She has a gift of writing complex stories with multitude of characters and effortlessly merging all small stories in the end that makes you wonder how could you not see it coming. Her books overwhelm me in the beginning – there are too many characters, too many details about them and a lot going on. I found myself struggle with it in The Husbands Secret but later realized its okay, it’ll all fall in place as I read further. Big Little Lies overwhelmed me all the same, especially with the story going in flashback and people’s comments going in the present after the ‘incident’. It took me a while to even know what the ‘incident’ was.
With her impeccable way of story telling and her complex but well carved characters Liane Moriarty has created a fantastic suspense thriller. She keeps you guessing right from the beginning – what’s the incident everyone is referring to, who was it, was it just one or were there more, who did it and how. Within a few pages she takes the reader from the innocent, almost boring musings of Mrs Ponder to a roller coaster ride through the lives of parents of Pirriwee Public School. Within a few chapters the unsuspecting group of parents become individuals with compelling personalities. And the best part is that each passing chapter unfolds a new motive making you uncertain of who could be the victim(s).
Like her previous books, Big Little Lies is a women dominated plot. It’s the story of women who are competitive, women who are insecure about losing their teenage daughter to the ex-husband, single mothers who are struggling to find a footing in a new place, women who want to protect their children, women who are dealing with an emotional trauma, women who are going through domestic abuse but justify it one or the other, women who bitch about one another and women who support each other, women who are willing to sell their virginity for women they would never meet, women who are willing to lie under oath for women they hate, women who are willing to kill for women they are not even friends with!! Oh calamity!!!
The book moves at a slick pace and there is a big build up to the grand finale – the school trivia night. The book consumed me with its intricate plot and crazy anticipation of what happened at the fateful night. I couldn’t put it down, even when I did the book stayed on my mind. I found myself holding my breath at some places. When I finished reading Big little Lies it felt as if I just got off an emotional roller coaster.
Liane Moriarty has again touched upon 2 very sensitive topics in the book – bullying and domestic abuse. (She did it earlier with infertility in What Alice Forgot). It’s commendable how she could weave such serious subjects in the story and yet keep it fun.
Like I mentioned in my earlier review, Liane Moriarty has original stories but her characters resemble each other more than they should. This was the reason I gave a long gap between What Alice Forgot and Big Little Lies. I still feel the overlap between her characters in the two books but having read the previous book some time ago I don’t remember the details too well to really draw parallels.
The book scores full marks on entertainment. It’s an intense enthralling read and I enjoyed every minute reading it. One of the best murder mysteries I have read lately!