Thursday, October 29, 2015

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty~★★★★

Author: Liane Moriarty
Title: Big Little Lies
Release Date: July 29, 2014
Publisher: Penguin Audio, unabridged edition; read by Caroline Lee
Genre: Fiction

Audio Book Cover: "Pirriwee Public’s annual school Trivia Night has ended in a shocking riot. One parent is dead. The school principal is horrified. As police investigate what appears to have been a tragic accident, signs begin to indicate that this devastating death might have been cold-blooded murder. 
In this thought-provoking novel, number-one New York Times–bestselling author Liane Moriarty deftly explores the reality of parenting and playground politics, ex-husbands and ex-wives, and fractured families.  And in her pitch-perfect way, she shows us the truth about what really goes on behind closed suburban doors."

Taryn's Review: I had this audio book sitting in my passenger seat until it was removed by a friend who was accompanying me to brunch. The friend was excited to see the audio book, exclaiming that he had read all of Liane Moriarty's books in succession because he found them to be so great. It's a good thing he said this because I wasn't loving the beginning of the book; I even had contemplated quitting, especially since the audio book was thirteen discs long! His compliments made me decide to continue with the book and I'm glad I did.

The initial "mommy wars" that set up the book were of no interest to me. However, as I kept listening, more complex issues came to the surface to revive my interest in the book. Liane Moriarty was very masterful in the way that she crafted the story with each chapter bringing the reader closer to the infamous "Trivia Night," which was the scene where all hell broke loose, as the the reader was told. The question was what exact hell broke loose?  As the Trivia Night crept closer, my mind was unsure of which parent would lose his or her life.

For as funny as the book was in places, it was also heavily steeped in issues: infidelity, betrayals, bullying, violence, and eventual death. The main characters of Madeline, Jane, and Celeste each struggled in some way with the issues and as their issues were revealed, I found myself becoming very attached to each character and hoping it wasn't one of them that would perish at Trivia Night. I was fairly engrossed in the book by disc three and I enjoyed the building anticipation of discovering what exactly happened on Trivia Night. I felt a variety of emotions throughout the book from big laughs at funny quips to tear-filled eyes during emotional interactions. And a revelation of Jane's struggle was a complete surprise to me and literally had me aghast.

Some of the parent drama was too involved for me at times. I just didn't care about Kindergarten parents fawning over their special snowflakes and my interest definitely waned in those parts. Madeline's story line between her ex-husband and her daughter also felt overplayed. I think Madeline made some poignant thoughts about what she was experiencing, but it seemed like so much energy was devoted to their relationships when it wasn't necessary. And I'm still not sure why there was the inclusion of Madeline's daughter's "project" to help Amnesty International. It added nothing to the book for me and could have been completely removed, shortening the book and keeping the reader focused on the more important issues at hand.

I'll definitely read a Moriarty book again, no doubt. Big Little Lies was picked up by HBO in May 2015 for a limited-series and it was announced that Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon had signed on to the project. I don't know if the women are signed on to act in the series or do something behind the scenes, but either way I'll probably watch it. It really was a wonderful, engrossing read and I plan to add more Moriarty books to my to-be-read list.

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