Seeing as this book is everywhere these days due to the TV series, can I just say that it is most deserving of the hype surrounding it. Trivia night at Pirriwee Public as ended in shocking tragedy with a parent dead, physical altercations and several others in hospital. How did it end up here? Was this tragedy murder or a horrible accident? Who is to blame? It all began four months before trivia night with one little story.
I had little knowledge of the plot before I jumped into this book. I has been sitting on my shelf for months and thanks to the hype of the TV show I figured it was time to see what all the fuss was about (and to make sure I didn’t witness any spoilers). What I found was a novel with the perfect balance of light and dark. This novel deals with serious themes of violence, both domestic and sexual and yet it maintains a light parody of playground politics. Seriously, if you are a school mum or dad or a teacher pick this up if only for the acute stereotypes found within pretty much every school around.
Moriaty, in my opinion, writes an important portrayal of domestic violence. She reiterates that it can happen to anyone, it can go both ways, that you can still love the person doing it to you. If the depiction within Big Little Lies makes just one person reconsider what domestic violence is and how it can escalate and changes their actions, stands up for themselves, it is worth its weight in gold.
This novel has the perfect balance with a biting satire of parenting and schoolyard dramas. The friendships, politics, stereotypes, guilt and jealousy and, yet, it still retains a lightness and playfulness in this mocking. The format was another highlight, with the witness statements sprinkled throughout the novel doing much to inject the lightness, stopping this novel from becoming too dark. The pacing and mystery was perfect keeping me on my toes throughout the novel. I couldn’t put this down and given the opportunity I would have likely devoured this in a single sitting.
The characters narrating the novel were all likeable and very relatable. My absolute favourite from the beginning was Madeline. She loved and cared too much, jumped to her friend’s defence whenever necessary and was full of pettiness of the kind we are all guilty of but probably never voice. She was completely relatable and always meant the best and I loved her form beginning to end. Celeste and Jane were great characters too along with the many supporting roles within the book. Moriaty slides in the Aussie cliches perfectly without making the novel confusing or inaccessible for readers of other backgrounds and I found myself giggling at these little Aussie-isms sprinkled across the pages.
I could not predict the outcome and at one point even had to physically put the book down after one (of the many) revelations. The writing was masterful and I look forward to reading more of Moriaty’s work in the future, oh, and watching the TV adaptation too. I give Big Little Lies five dangerously strong cocktails that turn Trivia Night upside down.