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Big Little Lies - Book Review

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by Janelle (subscribe)
I like to participate in life rather than be a spectator. Music, dancing, theatre, travelling, food, cycling and walking are some of my passions. Writing is an enjoyable pastime that allows me to share my experiences.
Published April 11th 2017
Life Can Be One Big Lie
The HBO television series starring Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon has seen a resurgence in popularity of Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty, which was first published in 2014.

I missed it the first time round but decided I needed to read the book before watching the series. I am a 'read the book first' person, as I find adaptations often don't deliver the true intent of the written word. Big Little Lies is a compelling story with touches of wry dark humour, drama, suspense, mystery and despair. For 470 pages, the reader is invited into the lives of a close-knit school community on Sydney's Northern beaches.

From page one we get the feeling that all is not perfect in the paradise of Pirriwee Public School. "'That doesn't sound like a school trivia night,' ...'That sounds like a riot'". We are then taken back six months to meet the kindergarten families at orientation day. Anyone who has had children would be familiar with playground politics and have probably met some version of the pushy parent 'blonde bobs'. Most readers will identify and sympathise with different characters. Without giving away too much the main characters are single mum plain Jane, beautiful rich Celeste, career driven Renata, hippy second wife Bonnie, the loud passionate Madeline and their children, partners and families.

This book is well written and deals with contemporary themes albeit in a privileged middle class 'white' context. As the story builds it becomes harder to put down, we know that one of the parents is dead but we don't find out who, how or why until page 432 (don't look - it will spoil the suspense). Along the way, there are a lot of other relationship subtexts such as those within blended and single parent families and the love and support that women give each other.

Big Little Lies is a great read that touches on difficult complex subjects. It will make you question the lives of those around you as many of us have something to hide and no one truly knows what goes on behind closed doors. It will be interesting to see how it will translate into an American TV series.
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Your Comment
I am a "read the book first" person as well and really enjoyed this book. There are some changes in the TV series that I didn't like but it is essentially the same story and makes for compelling viewing. I have read other books by Liane Moriarty and enjoyed them all. Highly recommended!
by Postcards from Shayne (score: 2|621) 1052 days ago
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