Year Published : 2014
Genre : Contemporary Fiction, Mystery, Chick Lit
Edition : Kindle eBook
# of Pages : 460 pages
Time Spent Reading : 7.5 hours
A murder . . . a tragic accident . . . or just parents behaving badly?
What’s indisputable is that someone is dead.
But who did what?
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.
I just want to start this review by saying that there are certain things that I tend to avoid when considering books. This one has almost all of those things and yet I absolutely loved it, go figure. I have nothing but good to say about the writing style. It’s very simple, direct, yet manages to bring life and noticeable variance to the characters. A total page turner. I was completely pulled into the world of the characters and grew to appreciate each one of the three main protagonists. To sum it all up, I loved this one.
So those things I tend to avoid- chick lit contemporaries about motherhood and marriage. Settings that are a little too clean and down-to-earth. I prefer the fantastical over the realistic, and gritty over easygoing. Just a cursory glance might make this novel seem like a sort of cross between a mommy blog and family sitcom- it’s really not.
Right from the start the atmosphere is a little off-kilter, a bit quirky and whimsical in an almost parodic way. We find out quickly that one of the major characters is going to die. We see a mixture of the past events and humorous little crime interview snippets with side characters in the present. I changed my mind at several junctures about who I thought was going to die- and who the killer might be. This set up is very dynamic and interesting. The shifts from humorous to serious are smoothly handled. The heavier subject matter (the main one being domestic violence) was poignant and intense in conveying the complex issues facing the character dealing with that situation. There is more than meets the eye to each of the three main characters.
As mentioned prior, this is a fast read. The pace is great, though I did get impatient with parts toward the the last quarter or so. By that point I’d become attached enough to the characters that I worried for how things might turn out for them, just dying to know what all happens on the pivotal “trivia night” where chaos is hinted to ensue. The ending was worthwhile (I actually loved it, for a certain personal reason) and not too guessable.
Overall Rating – 10/10
Why You Should Try It – Excellent writing that manages to be simple yet effective at bringing the characters to life. The three main characters could be considered similar but through the strength of great characterization I never mixed them up. The murder mystery is plotted in a clever way. A nearly unguessable ending.
Critique – For those who are looking for an all-focused mystery, the focus on characters and their day-to-day problems might not be riveting enough. The trivia night probably could have been more explosive for all the tension leading up to it.
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