Big Little Lies – Liane Moriarty

Sometimes it’s the little lies that turn out to be the most lethal…

A murder… a tragic accident… or just parents behaving badly?

What’s indisputable is that someone is dead.   But who did what?

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 beach-side 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.

  • 9781743530429Title: Big Little Lies
  • Author: Liane Moriarty
  • ISBN: 0399167064 (ISBN13: 9780399167065)
  • Series: Stand Alone
  • Published: July 29th 2014 by Putnam Adult
  • Format: eARC
  • Genre: Mystery/Women’s Fiction
  • Page Count: 480
  • Source: Publisher
  • Rating: A

Liane Moriarty knows me, well, not really, as we have never met. Yet she unfailingly zeroes in on my weaknesses and deepest fears with her stories and Big Little Lies is no exception. In fact I’m pretty sure that the character of Madeline is me. That is not necessarily a comforting thought but to those who know me the parallels would be obvious. Oh calamity!

When I started school decades ago things were very different, I walked to school by myself and had to cross a large road. Being a September baby when I started junior kindergarten for the first few weeks I was only three years old. Nowadays the idea of sending a child unescorted to school only one year out of toddler-hood is unthinkable. This sea change in modern child rearing is explored in detail in Big Little Lies cloaked in the guise of a murder mystery.

In comparison to what seems to be my miraculous escape from certain death walking to and from school I reflect on what is considered acceptable today. The kindergarten play area is segregated from the rest of the school and at the end of the day the parents line up to pick up their children as the burden of care is transferred from teacher back to the parent. Even if your life seems to revolve around your children you live in fear that you are scarring them for life with each decision you make. How much is too much? Not enough? And so on.

Like The Husband’s Secret, Big Little Lies deals with the intricate connections between three women but unlike The Husband’s Secret the deceptions are myriad and not immediately divulged. As much as I loved The Husband’s Secret, Big Little Lies is just more real and therein lies the appeal. As a parent it was particularly compelling as the scenarios Moriarty so cleverly depicts are ones that could happen anywhere at anytime.

Despite the Australian setting on the other side of the world from my native Canada I still found find myself so lulled by the universally familiar environment of the schoolyard and home that when the inevitable malevolence erupted that had been brewing just beneath the surface all along it still took me utterly by surprise. Of course as you read you realize that that the fall is coming like a roller coaster but when it does occur you are left gasping and just like a roller coaster there is that last hairpin twist.


Liane-MoriartyShe can’t remember the first story she ever wrote, but she does remember her first publishing deal. Her father ‘commissioned’ her to write a novel for him and paid her an advance of $1.00. She wrote a three volume epic called, ‘The Mystery of Dead Man’s Island’

After leaving school, Liane began a career in advertising and marketing. She became quite corporate for a while and wore suits and worried a lot about the size of her office. She eventually left her position as marketing manager of a legal publishing company to run her own (not especially successful) business called The Little Ad Agency. After that she worked as (a more successful, thankfully) freelance advertising copywriter, writing everything from websites and TV commercials to the back of the Sultana Bran box.

She also wrote short stories and many first chapters of novels that didn’t go any further. The problem was that she didn’t actually believe that real people had novels published. Then one day she found out that they did, when her younger sister Jaclyn Moriarty called to say that her (brilliant, hilarious, award-winning) novel, Feeling Sorry for Celia was about to be published.

In a fever of sibling rivalry, Liane rushed to the computer and wrote a children’s book called The Animal Olympics, which went on to be enthusiastically rejected by every publisher in Australia.

She calmed down and enrolled in a Masters degree at Macquarie University in Sydney. As part of that degree, she wrote her first novel, Three Wishes. It was accepted by the lovely people at Pan Macmillan and went on to be published around the world. (Her latest books are published by the equally lovely people at Amy Einhorn Books in the US and Penguin in the UK)

Since then she has written four more novels for adults, as well as a series of books for children.

In August 2013 Liane’s fifth novel The Husband’s Secret was released in the US and within two weeks had climbed the charts to become a #1 New York Times Bestseller. Much champagne was drunk.

Liane’s youngest sister Nicola Moriarty has also released 2 novels, a wonderful, gripping story called Free-falling and her brilliant follow up novel, Paper Chains published by Random House.

Liane is now a full-time author. She lives in Sydney with her husband and two small children who like to climb all over her while she tries to write helpfully smashing their fists against the keyboard and suggesting she might like to watch the Wiggles instead.


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