Book Review – Big Little Lies

This weekend I finished reading the book Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty (click on the title for the link to Amazon).  I’m left a little without words to describe it.  It was a very well written book that touched on so many things.  The biggest theme, though, was violence against women.  I don’t usually read books like this because I have a hard enough time dealing with all the awful things that happen in real life, let alone in my fiction which I read to escape.

The entire novel follows the daily lives of three women with three very different personalities.  Jane, a single mom with a young boy entering kindergarten for the first time.  Madeline, a mom in her 40s with a 14 year old daughter from a previous marriage and two young children, one of them also starting kindergarten for the first time.  Celeste, a beautiful woman married to a very, very rich man with two young twins also entering kindergarten for the first time.  And all you know from the very beginning is that someone is dead, and it happened during a Trivia Night event that the school holds each year.

Throughout the entire novel you get to follow the three families and their complicated dynamics.  You get to see the frustration of parents raising their children, the emotions of the 5 year olds as they start to learn to navigate school and personal relationships.  In fact, so much of the novel touched me because of the underlying element of family involved in it.  I found myself really identifying with Madeline, who has quirky mood swings and is upbeat and somewhat scrappy.  Sympathizing with Jane and Celeste, whose lives are a little more complicated than you would think at first glance.

I think it’s an important read for women especially because of the message it carries, but also because of the artful accuracy that the author has in portraying such complicated emotions throughout.  She had me feeling fear, love, sadness.  At one point I was moved to tears so immediately that I had to put the book down and sob for a bit.  She even inspired hate.  I was hating some of the characters to such a strong degree that I was moved to violence.  Like some of the characters in certain situations, I also wanted to reach out and just punch some of them in their faces.

I’m not ready to read anything like it any time soon, but overall I rate it 5 stars.  A very powerful read and recommended.

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