Four months ago I was very pregnant and impatiently awaiting the arrival of my first born. With an ever-expanding belly, I was working less and worrying more. I needed a good distraction, something to keep my mind occupied while I waited on this baby to arrive. I browsed the book section of Target, slim pickings, and settled on Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty. I started reading with the intent of little by little, instead I got sucked in and read the entire book in two days.
Prior to picking up Big Little Lies, I had just read Girl On The Train for my book club. I know, I was behind the times on that one. Anyways, I enjoyed Girl On The Train well enough, but for me, the element of surprise was missing from this thriller. I saw every “surprise” twist coming from a mile away. I had figured out the “who done it” part long before the killer’s identity was relieved in the book. Kind of takes the fun out of it.
That being said, when I chose Big Little Lies to be my next read, it wasn’t in hopes of unexpected plot twists, but merely just for fun. So, imagine my surprise when I was caught off guard by an unexpected twist. When the secret identity of a certain someone was finally revealed, I didn’t see it coming. I literally sprung up from the couch and yelled “holy shit” as my dogs looked at their crazy owner in confusion. To add to the mystery, the novel begins with the a death and the investigation continues intermittently throughout the book, but it’s not clear who is dead, nor who is responsible. I did my fair share of guessing who may have died and who may have done the deed, but unlike with Girl On The Train, I just couldn’t figure it out. At the end, all was revealed and it tied together quite nicely, scandalously, but nicely.
My other favorite part of this book? Madeline. There was something about Madeline that I just gravitated towards. I was seriously hoping that my favorite character wasn’t the deceased, or the murderer. She definitely has her flaws, way to involved in other people’s drama for one, but she was so real to me. She fun, and had a big presence, but she was also vulnerable when it came to family, like the hurt she felt when her daughter decided to move out. No matter what was going on in her own life, Madeline wanted to be everyone’s fix-it lady, which often backfired in her face. Still, Madeline was like a breath of fresh air in comparison to Jane and Celeste, both of whom painted the picture of wounded, sad women. I think I felt a connection to Madeline and saw some of myself in her, some good and some bad.
Madeline is just one of the various types of women portrayed in this novel. Throughout the novel, there is consistent, if not petty, drama between the career moms and the stay at home moms. Both sets of women feel judged for their choices, something many women can relate to in real life. To add to the mix, Jane is a single working mother just trying to make ends meet, who is ostracized by all but a few moms (enter Madeline, another reason why I love her). Chapter after chapter, these women are at each others throats, often bringing the children into their drama. Then, with the revelation that one of them has been suffering, they put aside their differences and finally come together to lift their fellow woman up. I loved this and what it says about women today. We are so quick to judge each other for our appearances, our career choices, our parenting style, we often forget that we are stronger when we work together. In the words of Queen B, who run the world?
All in all, this was a fun read. It was quick, interesting, and clever. The plot twists alone are enough for me to keep recommending it to my fellow book worms. And now, it’s a limited series on HBO! I watched the first episode a few nights ago, and I can’t wait to see it through. Reese is a perfect Madeline; actually I feel like the casting is spot on in all respects. I know it’s only been one episode, but so far, the show is staying fairly true to the book. I feel like they may have revealed too much about some characters too soon, but there is still plenty to ponder for those who haven’t read the book. And if you fall into that category, I encourage you to push pause on the remote and go read the book first!