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Reviewed by Bobbi BensonSecond Life by S.J Watson

Let me tell you, this phrase perfectly sums up “Big Little Lies.” The whole delightfully quirky mystery begins with a gorgeous pair of shoes and anyone who knows me at all, knows that now I’m hooked.  These beautiful heels are the perfect metaphor for the small Australian beach town of Pirriwee, beautiful to look at, but not quite stable and very easily broken.

The book centers on three mothers — Madeline, Celeste and Jane — three women who, despite having very little in common except their kindergarten aged children, become fast friends. 

After an unfortunate incident at the kindergarten orientation the parents of Pirriwee Public School become embattled in a petty, underhanded war with our three heroines pitted against another group of women.  As the remaining mothers and one harassed stay-at-home father jump to take sides the narrative becomes increasingly and hilariously confused. 

“Big Little Lies” reads like a gossipy chat over coffee with your best girlfriend. However, underneath the surface Moriarty weaves a dangerous tale of bullying, class separatism, domestic violence, internet predators, adultery and murder.

We begin with the annual Pirriwee Public School trivia night (this year’s theme is Elvis Presley and Audrey Hepburn), where something dreadful happens but we have no idea what.

The author then brings us back to six months before trivia night and we get to know the sassy bright Madeline, beautiful but distant Celeste, and seemingly plain single mom Jane.  As we inch closer and closer to the event in question, the women’s secrets are unveiled one by one and Moriarty drops infuriatingly vague hints about who has done what to whom.  Interspersed with the story are interview style quotes from the other trivia night attendees and one exasperated police officer, helping lead us to the climax. 

Liane Moriarty made me laugh, cry, and at one point actually gasp out loud.  She explores many social issues without becoming overwhelming, and tackles morality without becoming trite or clichéd.  After all as Celeste says, “This can happen to anyone.” 


Come check it out at Lewisporte Public Library, our hours are:

Mondays: 1-5 p.m.

Wednesdays: 1:30-5, 6:30-8:30 p.m.

Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays: 10 a.m. -12 p.m. and 1:30-5 p.m.


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