I will be totally honest with you: I only read this book because I watched the television show and was morbidly curious about the book. I have picked up another book by Liane Moriarty (The Hyponotist’s Love Story) which was okay so I wanted to pick up another book by her. Big Little Lies was the perfect fit since I thoroughly enjoyed the television adaptation.
That being said, I actually prefer the t.v. show. Here’s why:
This book carries a lot of heavy material: sexual assault, domestic violence, abuse in general, bullying, and rich people problems. In one moment it feels really deep and real and in the next it feels like rich, white women complaining about rich, white women problems. If you read into the book, it’s supposed to be that way. It’s not only low and middle class people who have hard lives. Domestic abuse and sexual assault happens in all forms of human life these days. But this book still didn’t sit well with me.
I really wish I would have found this book before the television show. I know I shouldn’t be comparing the two genres because they are wildly different, but I liked how the television show handled these issues more. Maybe it’s the visuals, maybe it’s the music and the tone – all of the things a book can’t do – but it’s still my opinion.
That being said, this book is still an excellent read if you want a dramatic thriller set around school problems. The ending isn’t totally obvious (which is nice) but you can totally pick it up if you pay enough attention. It’s like a mystery story that’s full of gossip. Throw all of that in with some real fast paced antics and you’ve got yourself one excellent novel.
The way the book is set up is really cool, which is why it stood out to me in the beginning. There’s little police interviews scattered throughout the book that hint at what is going to come. If you’re smart and read into it a bit, you can totally guess the ending and have a good idea what is going to happen. In the same breath, if you just want to enjoy the ride you can do that too. The structure of this book is so well planned out, and that’s what impresses me. Liane Moriarty has some real talent and I want to see that talent in other novels.
I can totally see why this book is a best seller. It’s a wild book that’s also filled with some deep content. Most people can relate to something in this book, whether it be the white people problems, the struggles of parenthood, broken families or the really dark stuff. At the same time, it’s all packaged so well that it’s also enjoyable. Most books with this harsh of content lose me when it gets too dark, but I just kept trekking along and enjoying the ride. Bonus points for Liane.
My biggest little flaw in this book was that I wanted to see more of these police interviews. I’d like to see the incorrect, unreliable narrators tell more about what they thought happened. Those comments alone could be their own story. Honestly, they impressed me more than the story half the time. I was giggling and sneering at these comments, unable to help myself. I also knew the ending though (the joys of watching the television series first) so it was highly amusing to me.
Personally, I found a lot of the women to be awful. I know a lot of mothers are like that these days, but they definitely aren’t all like that in my neighbourhood. They all fought constantly, seemed to have little communication and listened to their kids more than other adults. Or, you know, didn’t listen when their kids were telling them something really important. It just seemed way over the top at times and I just couldn’t handle their bitchiness. On top of that, the book did seem a pinch too long. There was some content that could have been left out and the story wouldn’t have changed. That’s my inner student calling out to the world though – edit, revise, shorten, and meet the word count!
I think this might be one of those books you can jump back into once you know the ending. It definitely would have been a more interesting experience if I didn’t know what was coming. I could see how Liane set it up along the way, but I didn’t pick up on all of it.
Overall, this book is a cool take on a tough story. All of the connections that are woven throughout this book and the unique style has me intrigued. If you haven’t watched the television show, do it. Maybe read the book first though, because quality wise I think the television show is AMAZE-BALLS.
Three out of five stars.
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If you enjoyed this book (or even the television adaptation), you might enjoy these other books that have been featured on my blog:
#BookReview The Mountain Man’s Dog by Gary Corbin
#TopBooksList Briar’s Crime, Mystery & Thriller Reads
#BookReview Law and Addiction by Mike Papantonio
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