Book Review: Big Little Lies

I haven’t seen the TV show of Big Little Lies but I really want to see it! I thought I would try the book first to see what it was all about. I’ve got to say, Big Little Lies started out as a book I was going to dislike and ended up being one I loved. It’s not a thriller per se, but centres on a big mystery with women at the focus. I honestly had no idea how it was going to end, and for that reason I couldn’t stop reading.

Star rating: 5 stars

Big Little Lies has three central protagonists. Madeline Martha Mackenzie, a mother of Abigail (previous marriage), Fred and Chloe (married to Ed), Jane Chapman (single mother of Ziggy) and Celeste White, mother of Josh and Max (married to Perrie). All of the children go to the same primary school (except Abigail who is fourteen), and so the book follows the politics of being a mother of a child in kindergarten. These women sure do know who to bring the drama.

The plot is told in two timelines – interviews of the people at a school trivia night where someone died, and the months leading up to the trivia night itself. We follow Jane as she navigates being a young mother in a new town, Madeline as she tries to come to terms with being in the same town as her ex-husband who walked out on her when she had a newborn baby, and Celeste whose so-called perfect life is much darker than people think. All three women are friends, but each have their own drama with other mothers at the school – these mothers make up the interviews of the other timeline,

At first I really thought I was going to hate all of the petty dramas of the helicopter parents. They are described as quite shallow, adamant their 5 year olds are gifted, and there is a divide between working and stay-at-home mothers. But I really started to empathise with the protagonists and their struggles. Celeste’s story was the most hard-hitting as her husband is violent with her and she doesn’t know how to leave him, and Jane’s was also an emotional one as she battles past trauma. Madeline’s story is different – but I empathised with her family situation a lot coming from divorced parents.

Overall this book was excellently executed with a really satisfying ending that I didn’t really see coming. It has its humorous moments as well as it’s emotional ones. I didn’t like a book about petty kindergarten mothers would end up having such a powerful conclusion. If you like books that examine people’s lives and have elements of mystery then I’d recommend picking up Big Little Lies.

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