Birchbox, one of my favorite beauty subscription boxes, runs a monthly book club. September's book was Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty. I've only recently gotten back in to the reading-for-fun game, meaning I hadn't heard of the book or the author before. This is a good thing because I went into the book with absolutely no expectations. I didn't even know what the book was about!
Big Little Lies is set in suburban Australia, though I admit that it took me a rather long time to figure out that it was Australia and not England. A majority of the story is told as a flashback. The book opens on an adult trivia night fundraiser at the local school. Someone has been murdered. We don't know who and we don't know how. At this point, we are transported back in time to see, not only the events leading up to the death, but also the dynamics between all of the parents at the school.
I loved this book. One of my favorite things, not related to the story in any way, is that it has very short chapters. This way I could read a couple of chapters while I waited for my daughter to get out of school or while she was in dance class and I wouldn't have to stop mid-chapter when it was time to leave. I also liked that, since this was told as a flashback, each chapter had comments from various parents about the various incidents. Granted, most of those comments were snarky or gossipy but a lot of real life parents are like that.
Another thing I really liked was the dynamics between the three main friends - Madeline, Celeste, and Jane. While I found myself identifying more with Jane (even though I am not a single mother nor have I ever experienced an emotional trauma like she had), I know people who are exactly like Madeline and Celeste. It was nice to see that these people had more than one side to them. Despite Madeline's selfishness and vanity, she was ready and willing to be there for her friends whenever they needed her. Jane's anxiety and need to fit in with everyone was a direct result of the trauma she experienced when her son was conceived. Even though Celeste's life seemed so perfect on the outside, it was anything but on the inside.
The book also deals with some very heavy concepts. Domestic abuse, bullying, children growing up and trying to assert themselves as "real" people. I think, for the most part, these topics were handled well. Moriarty shows that people are flawed but it isn't necessarily those flaws that define them. It is how they handle or react to events or people around them. This will probably be one of my favorite books this year. I'm very glad I got the chance to read it.