Audio Review: Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

Big Little Lies

Title: Big Little Lies
Author: Liane Moriarty
Narrator: Caroline Lee
Reviewer: Grace
Genre: Women’s Fiction, Suspense
Length: 16 hours, 514 pages
Rating: 5 stars

Synopsis

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.

Grace Review

Story: 5 stars
Oh calamity!

If you are like me, you escaped high school unscathed but also with a sigh of relief.  “Thank God it’s over.”  What you forget is that when your children begin school, you have to deal with rumors, judgement and insecurities all over again.

Parent should set a good example for their children.  This story highlights how horrible things that can happen when you don’t.  From three women’s’ POVs, we get a glimpse into their lives as they unravel, and how they deal with each hardship they face.

If there is a lead character of this book, it is Madeline.  She’s the glue that keeps everything together. She also is the lead trouble maker for all of the drama that falls on the group.

What I loved with Madeline is how she stood up for her new friend, Jane, who had the majority of the school on some ridiculous witch hunt for her son’s head.  But more on that later.  She also has great bullshit detector and doesn’t just roll over and follow the crowd.  She’ll lead the crowd in another direction with her own pitch fork.

What makes Madeline relatable is how she handles the distance between her and her daughter, with the Zen step-mother in the picture.  I could feel her pain as her daughter walked all over her, and it broke my heart how she had to cover up her pain to make her child happy.  And while she’s feeling this pain, she focuses on others.

Jane meets Madeline in the most unusual circumstances, on the side of the road with Madeline nursing a bad ankle injury.  The assistance Jane provides is not forgotten and Madeline pays her back in spades.  It is on kindergarten orientation day that Jane’s life unravels, when her son, Ziggy, is accused of bullying.  This one instance gets completely out of hand.  With bullying being such a hot button issue, this book seems to poke fun at the parents meddling and how they can ruin something they know nothing about.

The other issue with Jane is Ziggy’s father.  The circumstances of Ziggy’s conception are sad, and even worse when more details are provided.  Added to the pain of that conception, is that the lack of a father figure in Ziggy’s life puts additional pressure on Jane.  I liked how she weathered everything that was thrown at her.  It was horrible and unfair but she does everything right to get to the bottom of the story.  She’s got a quiet strength that is admirable.

Of the three women, Celeste’s story is probably the saddest.  To everyone else, she has the perfect life.  Money, looks and the perfect husband.  But everything isn’t as it seems.  Everything about her story made me upset.  She is so accepting of her circumstances, but with time, finds her own strength.  What’s equally heartbreaking is how much she kept from her friends.  She truly had no support system in that regard.

The overall story switches back and forth between the three ladies, interspersed with commentary from other parents at Pirriwee Public School, where all the their children attend.  They serve as a countdown to Trivia Night when someone is murdered.

I loved how I couldn’t figure out who that was.  The whole night in fact was a huge shock.  Apparently I’m the minority on that, and others figured it out.  I blame audio books there, maybe I missed a line or two that was a big hint.  But the twist is oh-so-good, yet extremely unfortunate.

Performance: 4.5 stars
While this story is written from multiple POVs, it only has one narrator, my preference.  I thought she did an amazing job switching voices to match each personality, and did a better job with the male voices than many other female narrators.  The narrator does have an odd voice for Madeline, but she captures the woman’s spirit perfectly.

This is a long audio book, but she kept me entertained from the first word to the last.

Overall: 5 stars
This book is a mix of relatable parental experiences, and over the top nonsense.  It’s engaging and thoroughly entertaining.  I’d absolutely recommend it to any parent.

I can’t wait to see how it translates to TV, when HBO runs a 7 part series on the book in 2017.  The casting is INSANE!!!

– Grace

PURCHASE LINKS
Ebook: Amazon US – Amazon UK – iTunes
Amazon US audio

Goodreads

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