After having read and really enjoyed The Husband’s Secret by the same author last year, I was keen to get my hands on this book this year. I was not let down. In fact, not only did it exceed my expectations but in my opinion it was better then The Husband’s Secret (and if you’ve seen the shere volume of and content of those review then you’ll know that this is a bold claim). I loved it!
This book is centred around a primary school in the beach town of Pirewee in southern Australia. The parents play the starring roles, as do playground politics and a school trivia night murder. Although I am not a parent myself (and this book makes me think I may have dodged a bullet!) I completely bought in to the cliques, bitching, competitiveness, and gossiping that goes on around a primary school.
The three main characters are Madeline (mother of three, one of the leaders of a clique who I fully expected to hate but who was actually a wonderfully witty, flawed, self-depreciating woman who became my favourite character), Jane (young mother of Ziggy, always moving from place to place, has a secret) and Celeste (mother of twin boys, married to a very wealthy banker and gave up her own legal career to stay at home, also has a big secret). All of the characters in this book, from the warring parents to the children themselves felt so rounded and fleshed out that I believed every single one of them. Liane Moriarty knows people! She understands what makes them tick, she gets them! I just love it when I read a book where I fall in step with the characters and don’t feel like I’m having to suspend my disbelief (or worse, roll my eyes).
I don’t really want to say too much about the plot; we know straight away that one of the parents has been murdered at a school trivia night. The story, after that first chapter, takes us back in time and shows us the lead-up to that night. While this isn’t a murder-mystery book at all, there is always that element of wanting to know who was killed and who killed them which gives a great forward momentum in the book. For me though, this was a character-driven book, and a fantastic one at that.
I loved it. Just loved it. One ogf the best books I’ve read this year.
NB/ 1) I receievd my copy of this book via Netgalley in return for an honest review. 2) This book is called Big Little Lies in the USA and Australia.