If you couldn’t tell from my last book review, I really enjoy a good murder mystery book. Based on the summary and recommendations from friends, I knew I had to pick up Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty.
The story, which takes place in Australia, opens on the night of the murder which occurs during a trivia night fundraiser.
Moriarty doesn’t revel too much but let’s the reader know a murder has taken place and there is complete pandemonium as the local police try to figure out what actually happened. We even get statements from various parents attending the event at the end of each chapter.
To totally through you off, the story jumps back several months to Kindergarten orientation day. New to town, Jane, a young mother with a son named Ziggy, runs into a fellow mother, Madeline, who is on her way to the same orientation with her daughter Chloe. Madeline injured her ankle (on her 40th birthday of all days!) and Jane graciously helps her, making the two instant friends. Once the pair arrive at Pirriwee Public School, it becomes glaringly obvious that Jane is much younger than the other mothers.
While the children are at orientation, Madeline and Jane go to a local coffee shop where they are joined by Celeste, another mother who has twin boys, Max and Josh. Jane and Celeste quickly learn the school politics and the three basically agree to stick together all year. The three learn some more about each other, like Madeline’s ex-husband’s daughter is also attending Pirriwee, Jane is raising Ziggy on her own and Celeste’s husband is constantly traveling on business. As the story continues, Moriarty dives deeper into each woman.
Upon arriving back at the school, Ziggy is accused of injuring another little girl, who’s mother of course is not exactly friendly with Madeline. As a result the lines between parents become drawn and the school kind of takes off from there. Ziggy and Jane become subject to petitions from parents trying to get him expelled and even though she has her own stuff going on Madeline is quick to step up and defend her friend. Additionally, Ziggy is almost at that age of wanting to know his father, a man Jane had a one-night stand with and she’s not even close to letting herself go there with a five year old. She does confide in both Madeline and Jane who are of course sympathetic to the entire situation.
Madeline’s teenage daughter Abigail, whom she raised alone, has started to rebel and doesn’t exactly see eye-to-eye anymore with her mother. Abigail now thinks her step-mother Bonnie is such a role model and starts to emulate her qualities, right down to advocating rights of women and become vegan. Madeline is not too pleased with these developments, especially since her ex-husband decided to start a new family and live in the same town, but grudgingly lets Abigail move-in with her father. I felt as though this change needed to happen in Madeline’s life so she could see things and people a little differently. Her opinion about several parents, including her ex-husband’s wife changes for the better.
Now for Celeste. It’s really true what they say, you never know what goes on behind closed doors. Unfortunately for Celeste, her what looks like a perfect marriage is anything but. Her husband, who is frequently traveling for work, hits her and for silly reasons. Of course he swears every time it’ll never happen again and buys expensive things to make Celeste happy, but that peace only lasts for a few weeks, if that. It takes a lot, but Celeste finds the strength to finally talk to someone and starts to plan a life with her twins alone in a small apartment. Sadly for Celeste, her husband finds out the night of the fundraiser and that’s when all of the secrets start to come out…even which child is actually the Kindergarten bully!
But wait, who dies? I can’t tell you that. I’m sure you’re thinking one thing, I know I was while reading, but Big Little Lies provides for one huge twist you won’t see coming. If you love a really good page tuner, this is the book for you!! By the last 50 pages or so, my jaw was basically on the floor but all the developments. Moriarty doesn’t disappoint and I hear her other books are just as good!!