Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Oh, Calamity

"Champagne is never a mistake."
--Liane Moriarty, Big Little Lies

Genre: Adult Contemporary
Publisher: G.P. Putman's Sons
Pages: 460
Publication Date: July 29th, 2014
Source: Borrowed
Previous Books in Series: Standalone
Goodreads Description

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.

Books like Big Little Lies remind me why I love reading. It’s the kind of book I randomly picked up at the library because 1. the cover got my attention and 2. the summary sounded intriguing. I’m not going to go so far as to say I have as sixth sense about my reading choices but I kind of do. There was nothing particularly unique or shocking about the summary but as I was reading it I just had a feeling I would like this book. I checked it out and oh, shit it’s all of the sudden my last week in San Francisco and I have 3 library books unread. Because I refuse to accept defeat, I made these a priority. I’m a mood reader and while I wasn’t exactly ‘feeling’ Big Little Lies, I decided to start it on morning before work just to see if it would spark my interest…oh and spark it did, more like an inferno. I. Could. Not. Put. This. Down. Let me tell you why…

The Writing

This is my first Liane Moriarty book and I know I will obsessively seek out and read all her backlist books. There is nothing particularly unique about her writing style except that it’s amazing. Its the effortless quality that engages you immediately and before you know it you’re 100 pages in and there’s no looking back. The flow and pacing is fantastic and she makes you care about the story and the people in it. Hand in hand with the writing…

The Characters

…are her characters. Her characters MAKE the book for me. Madeline, Celeste, and Jane are three very different women who all have children in the same kindergarten class. Circumstance, coincidence, or fate brought them all together on the orientation day and from those perfectly orchestrated moments in destiny, these women will forever be changed by one another. They form a bond of friendship that shouldn’t make sense but it just does. They support one another and their dynamic is everything that is right with female friendships. They are all so unique and different, they have their quirks and flaws and Moriarty’s writing makes you fall in love with every aspect of their personalities. And let’s go one step further…


Celeste lives the ‘perfect’ life from the outside. She is beautiful, her husband is rich and equally good-looking, and she has two adorable twin boys. But nothing is as it seems within the walls of Celeste’s home. She is seen from others as a little flighty but her inner thoughts are anything but. She is intelligent and stronger than most and she is a dark horse of depth that you never see coming. Celeste is similar in this respect to…


…Jane. Jane is a young mother, new to town, and almost immediately ostracized as her son Ziggy is accused of bullying another child. A lot of the plot derives from this conflict and did he or didn’t he but the silver lining of this conflict is that we get to see Jane. Really see her as a person and mother and how fucking fantastic she is. She is so strong in the face of adversity, she does not back down or cower to the ‘popular’ moms, and she does everything in her power to help her son and find out the truth. Her struggles had my heart breaking and yearning to help her. Which brings us to…


…Madeline is good and bad where I see myself in 15 years. She is outspoken, takes no shit, and gives zero fucks. She is fiercely protective of her friends and I admire this so much in her. She goes to bat for the people she cares about and it gets her into trouble most of the time but she doesn’t care. She knows its the right thing to do to stick up for people who are being picked on and have her friends back. She loves her children and husband immensely and is a little over the top at times but that’s why I love her. She has an ex-husband who abandoned her and their child at birth who now has a new family and the anger I felt on her behalf was palpable. I hated reading about her pain because it was all so unfair. Can we tell I connected with Madeline? Seriously though, I loved her. I loved ALL of them. And while the characters made the story for me.

The Plot

…What I did not know going into this book was that there was going to be an underlying secret/mystery we weren’t privy to. Somebody is killed at a school function and the secret is figuring out 1. who died and 2. was it murder and 3. who did it? Oh! It was deliciously twisted and I could not stop reading because I HAD to figure out who it was! I wont’ lie, I kind of figured out small parts and I was able to give myself a small pat on the back. It wasn’t obvious at all but I’m a sleuth at figuring out plot twists.

The Experience

I loved this book so hard. While the secret kept me turning the pages, the characters drive this story and made my reading experience what it was which was amazing. I would recommend this book to any and all people because the women of this book are each so phenomenal I want everyone to meet them.

If you love amazing characters, well-written stories, and a plot that is beyond engaging…this book’s for you.


  1. I have a signed copy of this sitting on my bookshelf - it was a BEA grab - I do believe you've convinced me to read it asap!


  2. I know you already told me to read this one, and I will, but I wanted to say that even if you hadn't, I would have picked it up based on all the gushing you did about it in this review!


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