Big Little Lies follows three women, each at a crossroads:
Madeline is a force to be reckoned with. She’s funny and biting, passionate, she remembers everything and forgives no one. Her ex-husband and his yogi new wife have moved into her beloved beachside community, and their daughter is in the same kindergarten class as Madeline’s youngest (how is this possible?). And to top it all off, Madeline’s teenage daughter seems to be choosing Madeline’s ex-husband over her. (How. Is. This. Possible?).
Celeste is the kind of beautiful woman who makes the world stop and stare. While she may seem a bit flustered at times, who wouldn’t be, with those rambunctious twin boys? Now that the boys are starting school, Celeste and her husband look set to become the king and queen of the school parent body. But royalty often comes at a price, and Celeste is grappling with how much more she is willing to pay.
New to town, single mom Jane is so young that another mother mistakes her for the nanny. Jane is sad beyond her years and harbors secret doubts about her son. But why? While Madeline and Celeste soon take Jane under their wing, none of them realizes how the arrival of Jane and her inscrutable little boy will affect them all.
Big Little Lies is a brilliant take on ex-husbands and second wives, mothers and daughters, schoolyard scandal, and the dangerous little lies we tell ourselves just to survive.
I really didn’t expect this book at all. I thought it was going to be a lighthearted look at three women with a bit of drama over Jane turning up and maybe she causes some issues with a husband. What I got was 100% better than I imagined, so I’m kind of glad I went into this book not knowing a lot about it.
It was really quite suspenseful, you are introduced to the focal point of the story; the trivia night; first through a complete outsider and then it goes back to a few months before that night and we get to see all the events leading up to it. They are slowly revealed to us in a way that makes you almost frustrated, in the best way of course, because you just really want to know what happened.
The story is told from Madeline, Celeste and Jane’s point of view but is also interspersed with snippets from other parents from the school and some of the teachers. I loved reading these little bits, I thought it broke up the story nicely and added some humour, but also showed how different people’s opinions can be.
I adored all the main characters, which is unusual for me. Madeline was my favourite, it was quite funny the way she was prone to, what I can only describe as, fits of dramatic rage, always one to make a scene but usually with the best intentions at heart. Celeste who always seemed to be dealing with a lot of guilt over being rich and beautiful and then how she has to grow as a person. I loved how Jane went from being the shy and anxious newcomer to opening up and finding herself and working through her issues.
The plot I won’t really go into because there are so many intricate storylines that make up the bigger picture and also because I really think that this is the kind of book that you want to go into knowing as little as possible. What I will say is that, for me, it spoke to how we all perceive things differently, how seemingly small actions or judgements can have massive consequences and how traumas can have such a large effect on people but also their family and friends.
Big Little Lies is a fantastic book, one that will keep you hooked and reading into the small hours of the morning. It has a great story and characters and the perfect amount of humour, drama, and mystery, I would definitely recommend this book.
Content warning: Verbal abuse, physical abuse