Author: Liane Moriarty
Narrator: Caroline Lee
My rating: 5 of 5 Stars
My rating of Narration: 5 of 5 Stars
I don’t know why I’ve waited so long to read a book by Liane Moriarty. Big Little Lies is brilliant. The author brings to life these amazing complex characters and masterfully dissects marriage, motherhood, friendship and many other important topics. It doesn’t matter if you are married, divorced, or single; if you have children or not; if you work full time or you are staying at home; you will find something for you in this book. Read it.
I’ve listened to an audio version and I highly recommend it. The narrator Caroline Lee made such an amazing job here. I think she added a lot to the story. The only downside of audio was that I couldn’t highlight passages I loved; and believe me there were plenty of them.
I loved Liane Moriarty’s writing style and audio format allowed me to appreciate it more. She writes about serious things (it’s a book about a murder after all), but her writing is easy and funny.
Big Little Lies follows lives of three women, who live in one small town and those children attend the same kindergarten. Madeline is a force of nature. She deals with her ex-husband, teenage daughter and school politics with a smile. Gorgeous Celeste has a life from a magazine cover: handsome rich loving husband, two little sons, and big beautiful house. But nothing is like it seems from the first sight. Jane is a quiet and shy young single mother whose past hides painful memories. These three women couldn’t be more different but they form a friendship.
My favorite character is Madeline. She is such an energetic optimistic person. She is strong and honest, she thrives on fights and never back down. She is so caring and loyal to her friends. I wish I had such a friend in my life. Raising a teenager is not an easy task on its own, but having your ex-husband and his new family living in the same area, and trying to be civil and supportive when he participates in their daughters life despite that he abandoned them? Not an easy task.
Celeste’s storyline was like watching a wreck. You know what’s coming but can’t look away. It also made me question how much I really know about people around me, even my close friends. We all are so quick to post our smiling photos and happy updates on social networks, but who knows what happens behind the closed doors?
Jane was another story. It’s obvious that something happened to her in the past. She is broken and lonely. As her story revealed, I sympathized with her. I was so happy to see how she gradually changes.
Big Little Lies is a very character-driven story. Little happens in terms of plot. The pace is slow and there is a lot of mundane life of characters. For me the beauty of this book was in these everyday events and thoughts.
So many things in this book resonated with me. I connected with these heroines on so many levels. There were sad and ugly things like Jane’s past and Celeste’s present and there were happy and filled with hope moments like Jane’s new love and Madeline’s relationship with her husband. Like in real life.
I was especially punched by this whole suburban community scene. All this judgment, talking behind someone’s back. Community expectations and community pressure. How often does a woman, a mother make her decisions thinking about what her neighbors would say, not what is best for her and her family? Though I live in another country in the big city I recognized so many patterns in my life.
The structure of this book is unusual. Between the parts of main story we have the parts where neighbors and witnesses are questioned. At first it was a little confusing and overwhelming, all these short comments from so many people, but as the story progressed I begin to like it. It’s a great illustration on how community thrives on rumors.
The author keeps the readers glued to the pages not only with the fascinating and complex characters, but also with the mystery and suspense elements. We don’t know what happened with Jane, why she is the way she is. At first we have no clue what is wrong with Celeste. And finally there was a murder. From the start we know that there was a murder at the school Trivia Night, but we don’t know what happened and even who was murdered. The author gives the readers little snippets of information and gradually we can see the big picture. Big Little Lies is not a murder mystery in its classic meaning, this aspect made the book more interesting.
I’m not sure I can make this wonderful book any justice. I highly recommend it. Especially in audio.