This month I was sent the novel Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty to read for Birchbox’s book club! Rumor has it that Nicole Kidman and Reece Witherspoon’s production companies have teamed up and bought the production rights to make this into a movie, so definitely keep your ears open for that.
For those of you who love fiction, this is a truly excellent, entertaining and captivating novel. Generally, I prefer non-fiction and memoirs because so many fiction novels tend to be overly dramatic, unrelatable and unrealistic; however, this book has just enough real-life drama to be believable, and the characters are people who can easily be your neighbors. It’s a large novel, but I read it all in just a few sittings because it kept me entertained, interested and had me wanting more.
The cover of this novel pictures a large, brightly colored lollipop smashed into a thousand little pieces — an excellent metaphor for the sugar-coated lives these characters lead until the truth is revealed and the image is shattered.
The story is centered around the lives of three women: Madeline, Celeste and Jane. Madeline is a feisty woman who has just turned 40 and isn’t sure how she feels about it. She is married to Ed, a good-natured father who is great with putting up with all of Madeline’s feelings flying everywhere, and together they have two small children, Chloe and Fred. Madeline has a teenage daughter, Abigail, from her previous marriage to Nathan, who happens to live in the same community with his younger yogi wife and their daughter, Skye. Madeline is vocally not thrilled to see her ex-husband so often, especially when Abigail starts to favor his family more than hers. Madeline is the most honest, raw and open character with a quick temper who often suffers from verbal diarrhea, is fiercely loyal and a bit egocentric.
Celeste is a painfully gorgeous woman with twin boys, an impressive house, lots of money, and a handsome husband who travels the world. Celeste is kind, generous, is often distracted by her own private thoughts. Of all the big little lies kept in this book, hers are continuously unravelling and are the most damaging.
Jane is a single mother and has just moved to town with her son Ziggy, who is classmates with both Celeste’s and Madeline’s children. She is a thin, plain-looking young woman of 24 with her hair pulled tightly back and is always secretly chewing gum. The subject of Ziggy’s father is always dismissed as a one night stand and is dropped immediately after that. Once Ziggy is accused of choking one of his classmates on orientation day the subject of bullying is introduced and is carried throughout the novel.
Everyone has big little secrets that are kept hidden and tucked away from society: a damaging and hurtful past that is covered up with a smile, bruises from abuse hidden behind excuses and clumsiness, and abandonment issues masked by an overcompensation to do everything by yourself. The question is, when is enough enough, and what are you willing to do to be free? Who in your life will raise you up and fight by your side? Who will see through the smiles, excuses and overcompensation, and when they do, will you allow them to truly see you?