A week later than expected but here we are, reviewing the book of the month on the first Thursday instead of the last. It's our third month and I say we're 3-for-3 on choosing pretty good novels. Click here for more information or check out the 'Books' link in my navigation bar up there. There's a lot going on in this post, so hold on.
Title: Big Little Lies
Author: Liane Moriarty
Publication: Putnam Books, 2014
Major Characters: Madeline, Jane and Celeste
Main Plot: Meet Madeline, Jane and Celeste. The only thing the three have in common is that they each have children who attend the Pirrewee Public School, where a murder has taken place on Trivia Night. Between ex-husbands, terrible twins, single mothers, absentee fathers and the 100 attendees, it's a mystery as to who's dead, who did it, and who saw.
"You had to register the existence of evil, do the little that you could, and then close your mind and think about new shoes."
My Rating: 4 stars (maaybbeee 3.8)
I'm going to refrain from saying too much because, like most mystery-laden novels, the element of surprise is key. But I will express a few key thoughts about what I think worked and what didn't.
There were so many great things about this novel. Starting with the obvious, it continually had me guessing. From the first five pages, we know that someone died during Trivia Night at Pirrewee Public School, and then we are thrust back 6 months in the timeline, to get to know all the players involved. Every other chapter I found myself yelling at the book, "____ died! No, it was _____! OMG, it was _____, I know it!". For the record, I was always wrong :) I really loved the three main characters, specifically Madeline and Celeste. Strangely in fact, I disliked Madeline in the beginning. Then, I realized how much she reminds me of, surprise, me. She's talkative, inappropriate, very nosy inquisitive, easy to excite and even easier to anger. I'm making myself sound incredibly unattractive right now, but she's also fashionable, lively, emotional, a fierce friend and hilarious! Not only was I basically cry-laughing during her chapters but I read a line or two to my boyfriend one night. "Yeah, that sounds like you," he responded, it was insta-love. I was very appreciative of Celeste and her character. The way Moriarty wrote from Celeste's point of view was perfectly done. I understood Celeste's thought process and felt connected to it, and I could imagine how someone in her position would think the way she does. Each woman in the novel had a specific "cross to bear" and I really loved Moriarty's characterization of the way Celeste carries hers.
Although the novel started out a tad slow, despite the death in the first chapter, it picked up speed at around 100 pages and never let up. The pacing from then on was perfect, and after finishing the novel, I understand that the slower pacing at the start was necessary to set the stage, so to speak. I really enjoyed Moriarty's writing and her sass which displayed through a variety of her characters. She's excellent at creating characters with distinct voices. Most chapters are capped with a short dialogue about the murder investigation between an officer and community members. By the middle of the novel, I could tell who was speaking without reading the tag because the voices were that strong.
I had two "issues" so to say with this novel. Nothing huge as I still gave the novel four (ish) stars, but enough to knock it down a star without question. First (it's definitely a personal problem) it was difficult for me to relate to completely. I'm not a mother or a wife. It was difficult for me to fully appreciate the drama of a political kindergarten classroom or the horror of having an ex-husband you can't stand. Many of the interactions were hilarious, but some of the nuances went over my head. Again, it doesn't detract from the quality of the book, just my enjoyment of it. Secondly, I have to say it - I hated the ending. I really did. Trust me, I'm wincing as I say this because I really don't want to hate it. It was such a wonderful, funny book otherwise. But, sigh, I do. It's just... I won't give too much away (skip the rest of this paragraph if you want to go in completely blind), but I thought it was really cliché and damn frustrating. It felt like Moriarty ran out of creativity, and it felt totally forced. I didn't see it coming because it came out of nowhere, literally and in a bad way, and it made it not only unbelievable but implausible. I screamed my way through the last 50 or so pages, especially the last chapter.
Have you read Big Little Lies? It's definitely worth a read. What did you think of it? If you wrote a review, link it down below!
The September book of the month is The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken, a young adult book that proves super powers aren't so super when they can get you killed. I've been wanting to read this for so long and the final book of the series comes out this month! I hope you'll join us :) Click the book to find out more!
And lastly, I bought a lot of books and I wanted so share them with you! Embedded below is a book haul video that I recorded. It's my first ever video so be nice :) But I wanted to show you all the books & didn't want to write a post because who wants to read a book haul? Grab a snack if you end up watching, it's a long one!