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Book Review: Big Little Lies

Book Review: Little Big Lies

Mar 28, 2017
by Diane McCurdy, Film and Book Reviews

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 I watched the first episode of the seven part HBO series, Little Big Lies and I was so enthralled I immediately went to the source material.  Liane Moriarty, the author from whose work the TV version was adapted, is an Australian whose books have sold over six million copies.  This particular novel debuted at #1 on the New York Times best seller list.  Moriarty is one of the very few writers who have had three books on that prestigious list simultaneously.

Little Big Lies is about the lives of kindergarten moms and their offspring.  Maybe that concept doesn’t  seem so sophisticated or sexy, maybe it sounds a little like a soap opera or ckick-lit. And maybe it is all that but it is so much more. It is layered and complex touching on many social issues such as bullying, spousal abuse, misogyny, teenage angst, adultery and ultimately murder!

Madeline is the perky mother of Chloe.  She is stylish and feisty and has an ex-husband who has a child by his new wife who is enrolled in the same class as Chloe.  She befriends Jane, a plain, single parent who harbors a deep, dark secret about her son’s birth father.  To round out the primary trio is Celeste the beauty whose attractiveness is stunning. Her husband is so rich that Celeste can donate twenty thousand dollars to charity when she is feeling frustrated.  A pampered daughter of Renata, a brusque business woman, accuses Jane’s son of bullying thereby dividing the kindergarten into two camps.  Things spiral out of control from there.

The actual physical set up of the story is intriguing.  Initially we know that there has been a murder.  The plot is set up against “Trivia Night” a school fund raiser.  The reader is then sent back several months before the event and gradually the climax is reached on that fateful evening.  Most chapters end with random comments by various characters reflective of what transpired at that affair.  The denouement is totally unpredictable.  That is what makes it so delicious.

In the TV series Reese Witherspoon is Madeline, Celeste is Nicole Kidman.  These ladies produced as well and are so sure of the author’s appeal they have optioned the film rights for her latest novel, Truly, Madly, Guilty.

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