Friday, January 04, 2019

Lying (Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty)

My first book read in 2019, Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty, fulfills both book 1 read in week 1 of the 52 Books Read in 52 Weeks Challenge and one of the challenges on the 2019 Modern Mrs. Darcy Reading Challenge list: "a book in the backlist of a favorite author".  I don't know that Liane Moriarty fully qualifies as a favorite author as I have only read one other book of hers, Nine Perfect StrangersFind that review here. However, one of the libraries in our county-wide system discarded their large print version of Big Little Lies so I snatched it up for a mere couple of dollars. Moriarty wrote it before Nine Perfect Strangers so I was set to meet the backlist challenge.

Note: I had to look up to see what a backlist is (it's a list of books an author has written before the one you are currently reading, and it is usually at the front of the current book). I thought maybe it was other book titles by other authors that the author one is reading mentions within his or her book, if that makes sense.

I was prepared for a well-written story as most reviewers of Nine Perfect Strangers felt it did not match the greatness of this book Big Little Lies. It was excellent, four stars excellent; however, I can't write that it was better than Nine Perfect Strangers. The books are different from one another.

I wasn't quite prepared for the seriousness of Big Little Lies. Moriarty's humor and satire come through but there are some deep issues dealing with abuse in Big Little Lies. CAVEAT: the situations could spark emotions in readers who have had to deal with these issues although I also hope that if someone is going through the same issues that this might encourage them to seek help.

I can imagine that someone who reads Big Little Lies first and then follows up with Moriarty's next book might have expected something just as serious as they read Nine Perfect Strangers, but Moriarty mixed it up a bit. Her satirical take on modern life is in both books, but is more prevalent in the later book. It will all boil down to a matter of taste. I liked both books. I gave away Nine Perfect Strangers to my son because I thought he would enjoy the health spa improvement satire in it, but I don't see me giving him Big Little Lies because Moriarty gets more into the heads of her female characters in this book. Not that males can't read a book heavy with female characters. Heavens! Females have read books heavy in male characters for years!

Big Little Lies would make a great book discussion group read (there's even a so-called book discussion group in the story although mostly they gossip). CAVEAT: Moriarty occasionally drops the "F" word and other like terms. When this happens I tend to remember something I read 20 or more years ago. An Australian writer (like Moriarty but not Moriarty) stated that Americans had such clean speech but horrible morals whereas research showed Australians with high morals and colorful speech.

I can't go into much more without revealing plot spoilers. Yes, there is a mystery to be solved and I enjoyed how Moriarty set up the book. For my friends who hate ambiguous endings, you will like this book because it is not ambiguous. In spite of some fairly shallow conversations, the people are complex. I read 675 pages in three days, but it was large print. Still it's not a small book and it is easy to stay interested in the story and read it quickly.

---My real life section of the blog as it relates to this book. The children. The children see and they do what mom and dad model. It can be cute, but it can also be horrible when it deals with these situations. Our family did not, but no one gets off free of missing the mark in this book. Gossip and pettiness is framed humorously, but those "big little lies" come back to haunt you. 

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