Monday 20 January 2020

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty Book Review

2020 is the year I get back into book reviews. There, I've said it, no going back on it. I used to love sharing book reviews and for a while I was reviewing every book I read but then I sort of picked up the pace last year and it would have been way too much if I'd carried on like that. I've sort of gone the complete opposite way now though and I very rarely share book reviews at all on my blog, I think I convinced myself I was repeating myself all the time and no-one was really interested but even if they're not, who cares? When I feel really passionate about a book I've read, I'll share, and one book I've read recently which I actually keep thinking about is Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty. 
Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty book held up in front of pink bedding
'Three mothers, Jane, Madeline and Celeste appear to have it all...but do they? They are about to find out just how easy it is for one little lie to spiral out of control. Single mum Jane has just moved to town. She's got her little boy in tow - plus a secret she's been carrying for five years. On the first day of the school run she meets Madeline - a force to be reckoned with, who remembers everything and forgives no one - and Celeste, the kind beautiful woman who makes the world stop and stare, but is inexplicably ill at ease. They both take Jane under their wing - while careful to keep their own secrets under wraps. But a minor incident involving the children of all three women rapidly escalates: playground whispers become spiteful rumours until no one can tell the truth from the lies. It was always going to end in tears, but how did it end in murder?'

My review

Big Little Lies was my first book of 2020 and yes I know it's very, very early to be thinking like this but I can already see it being a contender for my top books of 2020. There are several reasons I'm saying that which I'll get into soon but first of all if you've not heard of Big Little Lies, where have you been?! To be fair, it took me a long time finally watch the TV series, after it had been hyped up for months and months, I was worried I just wouldn't 'get it'. I did finally watch the show last year though just before series 2 was released and I had no idea what I was getting into. Now I've read the book and seen the show, I really do think they've done a brilliant job in translating the story to screen but that's something else I'll get back to later.

I got the book for Christmas and I knew I wanted to start the year with it so I held off until January and it was 100% worth the wait. Instantly I liked the character of Madeline. She's fussy, over the top, a bit of a gossip but oddly relatable at times and someone I just really enjoyed reading about. She is the friend we all need. I love how Liane gets across Madeline's tougher side when it comes to her friends and shows how fiercely loyal she is but also her softer side when it comes to her husband Ed and her children. Next we have Celeste who I found really intriguing from the off. I think the internal struggle she has about her relationship with her husband Perry was very interesting and probably hits very close to home for a lot of people. Perry is abusive but in a very weird way it adds an exciting element to their relationship for Celeste so throughout she's struggling to work out if what's happening is right, when enough is enough and how she gets out of it. I found her baffling at times but I also really felt for her. And finally there's Jane who I had massive sympathy for. A single mum to Ziggy who on his first day of school is dragged into a bullying row, is just struggling and doesn't know how to deal with being in a new city with these new 'perfect' friends and the dreaded topic of Ziggy's dad. 

One of the things I liked the most about Big Little Lies is how Liane has set out the book. We have short snappy chapters which make it incredibly easy to just keep going and going with it and we have alternating chapters between the women so we're always getting a different perspective. Aswell as that we also have extracts from interviews the police have conducted following a murder which until the end, we're unaware of the victim or culprit and it was interesting to see how the three women are viewed by other parents from the school. It's just such a well crafted and suspenseful plot that even though because I'd seen the show first and knew the outcome, I still felt that tension and I know if I'd read the book first, I would have genuinely had no clue. Everything just builds nicely throughout and nothing is given away until the very end. Aswell as having a fantastic plot, Liane has made this such an easy read. I was torn between wanting to read it all in one sitting because I was enjoying it so much but also wanting to savour it and keep it going for as long as possible. 

Going back to the translation from book to TV series, it just works. Since re-watching the show after finishing the book, you can tell there are a few changes that were made but they're not bad changes, they still fit and make sense. I also think the casting was spot on. Reese Witherspoon for Madeline is inspired! She IS Madeline. It's also the first time I've been wowed by Nicole Kidman, she just played Celeste perfectly, she steals each scene she's in even when she's hardly saying anything. I do have to mention Laura Dern though who plays a fellow parent, she is fricking outstanding! Anyway, before this becomes a review of the TV series rather than the book, I better wrap things up.

Big Little Lies is a fantastic book that is totally worth all of it's hype and praise. I already know I'll be re-reading it in future. I'd love to know if you've read the book too or seen the show? If so, what did you think?

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Heather Nixon said...

I haven't read the book OR watched the TV show!!

Hannah said...

I can't believe that I haven't read the book or watched the TV show. The book sounds like a great read though, I love shorter chapters it always feels like you're making a lot of progress xx

Hannah | luxuryblush

ALLIE NYC said...

Oh wow bad me I didn't know this series was based on a book. Sounds like a great read, Ilove the series. I am currently reading The Buy Side.

Allie of

Sophie said...

I hate to be this person but I read this book after watching the show too and I think seeing the show first ruined it for me. It was adapted so brilliantly for tv that the book fell short for me afterward. The additions they made to some of the characters for tv fit so well and added so much to the story. I agree that the structure of the book is brilliant, I wish I'd read it first to enjoy it more! x


jennyinneverland said...

I watched the first series and absolutely LOVED it so I'd be keen to read the book. I like doing both and comparing how they are! x


Tiffany Timms said...

You definitely should, both are equally brilliant xx

Tiffany Timms said...

Yeah I totally agree, love that they don't drag as then it feels I'm reading forever but getting nowhere! x

Tiffany Timms said...

I think the book has been out a long time so the series has sort of brought it back to life again xx

Tiffany Timms said...

I completely get what you're saying. There were moments I felt that the show had more detail than the book but on the whole I really enjoyed both xx

Tiffany Timms said...

Me too! I was worried the book just wouldn't compare after watching the show first but I think they're both brilliant x

Daisy said...

YAY! Welcome back to the book reviews! I've been meaning to watch the show since I think Reese Witherspoon is amazing but never knew it was a book too! Can't wait to check them both out!

Daisy xoxo | TheDeeWhoLived

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