Saturday, October 14, 2017

Book Review: 'Big Little Lies' by Liane Moriarty

Liane Moriarty's latest work of seriocomic fiction, "Big Little Lies," focuses on the conflicts, secrets, and betrayals that poison relationships between husbands and wives, parents and children, and friends and neighbors. The novel is set in Australia and centers around a tragedy that occurred during a trivia night in the local elementary school. The suspense arises from the fact that, at first, we do not know exactly what happened. Via flashbacks, witness statements, and inflammatory bits of gossip, a picture emerges of a town divided into haves and have-nots.

The author cleverly satirizes working mothers who boast about their ability to juggle their careers and home lives, and also pokes fun at affluent moms who lord it over their "inferiors." There are several standouts among the large cast: Forty-year old Madeline Mackenzie is good-hearted and outspoken when she perceives any sort of injustice. Two other women tug at our heartstrings: Twenty-four year old Jane Chapman is a single mum, whose five-year-old boy, Ziggy, is accused of bullying. The gorgeous Celeste White is married to a rich and handsome man, but her chums do not realize that her personal life is far from idyllic.

As Moriarty digs beneath the surface of each individual's fa├žade, she demonstrates that what appear to be harmless lies can inflict a great deal of damage, especially when the falsehoods conceal ugly truths. So much grief might be avoided if people would be more honest with themselves and others. Along with her exploration of timely themes, Moriarty entertains us with sparkling dialogue, sharp humor, and a gripping mystery. "Big Little Lies" is a page-turner that will undoubtedly attract a large and appreciative audience.

Editor's note: This review was written by Eleanor Bukowsky and has been reposted with permission. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right

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