At long last here is our follow-up to the recommendations about marriage and motherhood. Interestingly, many of the same themes are paramount in Liane Moriarty’s Big Little Lies. Betrayal, violence, secrets, and the constant pressures women face as mothers, wives, and in their relationships with each other.
5 reasons to read:
1. Moriarty writes about suburban life in Australia and the struggles modern mothers face.
2. Except for a few g’day mate’s this novel could take place in any American town and US readers will have no trouble relating to the gossipy drama.
3. Moriarty’s characters are multidimensional–sure they worry about which designer stilettos to wear to “Kiss-and-Drop/Pickup”, but they are also fiercely protective of their friends and, most importantly, their children.
4. Murder at a school fundraiser is the outcome the plot is propelling towards, but the conclusion is one you won’t expect.
5. Some very gritty topics are addressed in a realistic way such as bullying and domestic violence.
The Long View:
Big Little Lies begins 6 months before the fateful trivia night fundraiser at Pirriwee Public School in Australia. Jane, a twenty-four-year-old mother, has come to Pirriwee to set down roots with her son, Ziggy. She enrolls him in kindergarten, hoping the beach town will be a fresh start for each of them. Ziggy was a product of a one-night-stand gone terribly wrong and the violence of that night is still paralyzing Jane. “Glittery” Madeline befriends Jane on kindergarten orientation when she sprains her ankle and Jane comes to her rescue. Madeline has the perfect nuclear family now–husband Ed, son Fred, and daughter Chloe, who is the same age as Ziggy. But Madeline also has an older daughter, fourteen-year-old Abigail, from her marriage to Nathan. While Nathan may have abandoned Madeline and Abigail, he is now a prize husband to his wife, yogi Bonnie, and attentive father to his five-year-old daughter, Skye. And then there is Celeste. A breathtakingly beautiful former lawyer, Celeste is the mother of twins Max and Josh. Celeste and Madeline are friends, and Celeste and Jane quickly become friends as well. They both have secrets and deep emotional wounds–only later is it revealed how deeply connected their pain is. Celeste’s husband–charismatic, ridiculously rich, and a loving father–beats Celeste. It is such an unlikely occurrence to Celeste that even after 5 years of the fear, violence, and sadness, she is just now contemplating how dire her situation is. At kindergarten orientation when the parents come to pick up the children, a little girl named Amabella is choked by a little boy. When asked who hurt her, tearful Amabella points at Ziggy and from then on Amabella’s mother is on the war path. The trivia night is when all the lies and secrets come out. Throughout the book snippets of interviews of everyone involved hint at the terrible outcome of a night out for the parents. Moriarty weaves together the stories of these three mothers and takes a close look at what motivates them, their deepest fears, and the complicated relationships each of them have with men. While they come from different backgrounds, they are all mothers and have experienced betrayal by someone they trusted. Moriarty’s novel is funny, raw, and real–and her writing is truly in league with some of our other motherhood and marriage recs.
Order Big Little Lies