Friday, November 28, 2014

Book Review: Big Little Lies

 I've recently joined a new book club. For my second meeting with the club, the chosen book was Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty.  Since I read primarily YA novels, I had not heard of either the book or the author--which just shows how woefully out of touch I've become with the world of popular adult literature since leaving my library job, since the book is apparently smashing up the bestseller lists.

This was clearly demonstrated to me when I put my name on the wait list at my public library at it became pretty obvious that there was only a slim chance that I would be able to get my hands on a physical copy of this book before our next book club meeting--a month away.  Okay, I figured, I'd just check out the ebook.  But when I logged onto my public library's Overdrive, there was a waitlist of 8 people ahead of me--for 4 copies of the book.  Wow.

Fortunately, I still have active Overdrive accounts for both the Delphi and Monticello libraries, since we've only been here for 4 months.  So sometimes, when I'm really desperate for a book that my library doesn't have, I check it out on Overdrive from one of those libraries.  So I figured, okay, if the book is this popular, surely one of those libraries will have it and I'll be able to get it, no problem.  Sure enough, both libraries had it.  But--holy cow.  There were 22 people ahead of me on the wait list at Delphi.  Delphi.  Seriously, I didn't know there were 22 people in Delphi who utilized Overdrive.  I think I only ever had to wait for a book once in all the time I lived in Delphi, and I personally knew the person who had the book checked out.  So then I checked Monticello, and whoa.  47 people ahead of me for checkout.  I worked at the Monticello Library and never saw numbers like that.  So at this point, I called my friend Andrea (who is in the book club with me) and asked, "What IS this book???"  She didn't know what the fuss was about either, but we were both awfully curious.

None of my holds ever did come up, but fortunately, Andrea's did.  She read it and then passed it on to me.  And I read that entire thing, all 458 pages, the day of book club in order to get it done on time.  I am a bad, bad mother.  (Although the kids would disagree.  They thought I was awesome for letting them have unlimited screen time for a day, since I usually monitor it pretty closely.)

Anyway, enough backstory.  The book itself.  You would think that 458 pages in a day would be overwhelming, but I was almost glad that I had to knock it out all in one day, because that way I had an excuse for not putting it down.  Aside from the first chapter, which is kind of weird and out of place, the book is a murder investigation and a flashback on the past six months of events that led up to the murder.  Except that Moriarty never tells us who was murdered, which is a fantastic hook.  I spent the entire book agonizing and guessing.

Now that I'm writing this, I feel like there's not a lot that I can actually say about this book without giving away so much of the story.  The basics are that the story centers around three moms: Madeline (who is feisty and loud), Celeste (who is rich and beautiful), and Jane (who is young and alone).  Their kids are all in the same kindergarten class, and the three of them form an unlikely close friendship.  The entire novel centers around the dynamics of both the kids and the parents in that kindergarten class, and it's so skillfully done that I really felt like I knew some of those parents by the end.  (Possibly because some of those parents are such excellent caricatures of parents I have known.  Ahem.)

Madeline is really the force that ties everything together.  Celeste, Jane, and even Madeline's own daughter Abigail all have secrets to keep.  Madeline also has to contend with her ex-husband and his new wife having a daughter in the same kindergarten class as own youngest daughter.  AND Madeline is involved in a bit of a feud with one of the other kindy moms.  Kindy--did I mention that this whole thing is set on a breathtakingly beautiful Australian beach?  I absolutely loved the relationships that develop in this book, and the characters are all so beautifully developed and true to life.

There's not much more that I can say without starting to give away secrets.  Big Little Lies proved a lively discussion for our book club, and I feel like I could still talk about it for hours, so if any of you should choose to read it, let me know and we'll talk.  :)

1 comment:

  1. Great! I've just requested it at the Brownsburg library (thankfully they have 7 copies and only 4 holds ahead of me...since I don't have time to read it until after Christmas, that timing may work well for me.) :)