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Product Description

DON’T MISS SEASON 2 OF THE GOLDEN GLOBE AND EMMY AWARD-WINNING HBO SERIES
STARRING REESE WITHERSPOON, NICOLE KIDMAN, SHAILENE WOODLEY, LAURA DERN, ZOË KRAVITZ, AND MERYL STREEP

From the author of Nine Perfect Strangers, Truly Madly Guilty, and The Husband’s Secret comes the #1 New York Times bestselling novel about the dangerous little lies we tell ourselves just to survive.

A murder...A tragic accident...Or just parents behaving badly? What’s indisputable is that someone is dead.

Madeline is a force to be reckoned with. She’s funny, biting, and passionate; she remembers everything and forgives no one. Celeste is the kind of beautiful woman who makes the world stop and stare but she is paying a price for the illusion of perfection. New to town, single mom Jane is so young that another mother mistakes her for a nanny. She comes with a mysterious past and a sadness beyond her years. These three women are at different crossroads, but they will all wind up in the same shocking place.

Big Little Lies is a brilliant take on ex-husbands and second wives, mothers and daughters, schoolyard scandal, and the little lies that can turn lethal.

Review

Praise for Big Little Lies

“Ms. Moriarty’s long-parched fans have something new to dig into… Big Little Lies [may have] even more staying power than The Husband’s Secret.”— The New York Times

“Funny and thrilling, page-turning but with emotional depth, Big Little Lies is a terrific follow-up to The Husband’s Secret.”— Booklist (starred review)

Big Little Lies tolls a warning bell about the big little lies we tell in order to survive. It takes a powerful stand against domestic violence even as it makes us laugh at the adults whose silly costume party seems more reminiscent of a middle-school dance.”— The Washington Post

“Moriarty demonstrates an excellent talent for exposing the dark, seedy side of the otherwise “perfect” family unit…Highly recommended.”— Library Journal (starred review)

“Irresistible…Exposing the fault lines in what looks like perfection is a specialty of Liane Moriarty… Moriarty’s sly humor and razor-sharp insights will keep you turning the pages to find out.”— People Magazine

"The secrets burrowed in this seemingly placid small town...are so suburban noir they would make David Lynch clap with glee...[Moriarty] is a fantastically nimble writer, so sure-footed that the book leaps between dark and light seamlessly; even the big reveal in the final pages feels earned and genuinely shocking.”— Entertainment Weekly

“If you''re looking for a novel that will turn you into a compulsive book-finisher look no further. Moriarty has produced another gripping, satirical hit...It’s can’t-put-downability comes from its darker subplots...A book that will make you appreciate the long days of summer.”— Oprah.com

"Reading one [of Liane Moriarty''s novels] is a bit like drinking a pink cosmo laced with arsenic...a fun, engaging and sometimes disturbing read…Moriarty is back in fine form."— USA Today

“A juicy drama.”— People Stylewatch

“Not your average mommy novel. It’s a juicy, twisted murder mystery replete with themes of marital abuse and self-denial…The perfect mindless beach read.”— Purewow.com

“Suburbia is about to get a lot more scandalous.”— Closer Weekly

"The Aussie author of last year’s runaway hit The Husband’s Secret comes back with another winning and wise novel that intertwines the lives of three women."— EW.com

"It’s no mystery why Liane Moriarty is a summer staple: with wit and compassion...[she] keeps it real."— Family Circle

“Riveting and insightful…Moriarty has crafted a great summer read full of perceptive glimpses into the many guises of human relationships: mother-child, husband-wife (and ex-wife) and above all, the strong bond of female friendships.”— Bookpage

"Deservedly popular Moriarty invigorates … women’s fiction through wit, good humor, sharp insight into human nature and addictive storytelling."— Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

About the Author

Liane Moriarty is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Nine Perfect Strangers, Three Wishes, Truly Madly Guilty, Big Little Lies, The Husband’s Secret, The Hypnotist’s Love Story, and What Alice Forgot. She lives in Sydney, Australia, with her husband and two children.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Chapter 1


That doesn’t sound like a school trivia night,” said Mrs. Patty Ponder to Marie Antoinette. “That sounds like a riot.”

The cat didn’t respond. She was dozing on the couch and found school trivia nights to be trivial.

“Not interested, eh? Let them eat cake! Is that what you’re thinking? They do eat a lot of cake, don’t they? All those cake stalls. Goodness me. Although I don’t think any of the mothers ever actually eat them. They’re all so sleek and skinny, aren’t they? Like you.”

Marie Antoinette sneered at the compliment. The “let them eat cake” thing had grown old a long time ago, and she’d recently heard one of Mrs. Ponder’s grandchildren say it was meant to be “let them eat brioche” and also that Marie Antoinette never said it in the first place.

Mrs. Ponder picked up her television remote and turned down the volume on Dancing with the Stars. She’d turned it up loud earlier because of the sound of the heavy rain, but the downpour had eased now.

She could hear people shouting. Angry hollers crashed through the quiet, cold night air. It was somehow hurtful for Mrs. Ponder to hear, as if all that rage were directed at her. (Mrs. Ponder had grown up with an angry mother.)

“Goodness me. Do you think they’re arguing over the capital of Guatemala? Do you know the capital of Guatemala? No? I don’t either. We should Google it. Don’t sneer at me.”

Marie Antoinette sniffed.

“Let’s go see what’s going on,” said Mrs. Ponder briskly. She was feeling nervous and therefore behaving briskly in front of the cat, the same way she’d once done with her children when her husband was away and there were strange noises in the night.

Mrs. Ponder heaved herself up with the help of her walker. Marie Antoinette slid her slippery body comfortingly in between Mrs. Ponder’s legs (she wasn’t falling for the brisk act) as she pushed the walker down the hallway to the back of the house. Her sewing room looked straight out onto the school yard of Pirriwee Public.

“Mum, are you mad? You can’t live this close to a primary school,” her daughter had said when she was first looking at buying the house.

But Mrs. Ponder loved to hear the crazy babble of children’s voices at intervals throughout the day, and she no longer drove, so she couldn’t care less that the street was jammed with those giant, truck-like cars they all drove these days, with women in big sunglasse leaning across their steering wheels to call out terribly urgent information about Harriett’s ballet and Charlie’s speechtherapy.

Mothers took their mothering so seriously now. Their frantic little faces. Their busy little bottoms strutting into the school in their tight gym gear. Ponytails swinging. Eyes fixed on the mobile phones held in the palms of their hands like compasses. It made Mrs. Ponder laugh. Fondly though. Her three daughters, although older, were exactly the same. And they were all so pretty.

“How are you this morning?” she always called out if she was on the front porch with a cup of tea or watering the front garden as they went by.

“Busy, Mrs. Ponder! Frantic!” they always called back, trotting along, yanking their children’s arms. They were pleasant and friendly and just a touch condescending because they couldn’t help it. She was so old! They were so busy!

The fathers, and there were more and more of them doing the school run these days, were different. They rarely hurried, strolling past with a measured casualness. No big deal. All under control. That was the message. Mrs Ponder chuckled fondly at them too.

But now it seemed the Pirriwee Public parents were misbehaving. She got to the window and pushed aside the lace curtain. The school had recently paid for a window guard after a cricket ball had smashed the glass and nearly knocked out Marie Antoinette. (A group of Year 3 boys had given her a hand-painted apology card, which she kept on her fridge.)

There was a two-story sandstone building on the other side of the playground with an event room on the second level and a big balcony with ocean views. Mrs. Ponder had been there for a few functions: a talk by a local historian, a lunch hosted by the Friends of the Library. It was quite a beautiful room. Sometimes ex- students had their wedding receptions there. That’s where they’d be having the school trivia night. They were raising funds for SMART Boards, whatever they were. Mrs. Ponder had been invited as a matter of course. Her proximity to the school gave her a funny sort of honorary status, even though she’d never had a child or grandchild attend. She’d said no thank you to the school trivia night invitation. She thought school events without the children in attendance were pointless.

The children had their weekly school assembly in the same room. Each Friday morning, Mrs. Ponder set herself up in the sewing room with a cup of English Breakfast and a ginger-nut biscuit. The sound of the children singing floating down from the second floor of the building always made her weep. She’d never believed in God, except when she heard children singing.

There was no singing now.

Mrs. Ponder could hear a lot of bad language. She wasn’t a prude about bad language—her eldest daughter swore like a trooper—but it was upsetting and disconcerting to hear someone maniacally screaming that particular four-letter word in a place that was normally filled with childish laughter and shouts.

“Are you all drunk?” she said.

Her rain-splattered window was at eye level with the entrance doors to the building, and suddenly people began to spill out. Security lights illuminated the paved area around the entrance like a stage set for a play. Clouds of mist added to the effect.

It was a strange sight.

The parents at Pirriwee Public had a baffling fondness for costume parties. It wasn’t enough that they should have an ordinary trivia night; she knew from the invitation that some bright spark had decided to make it an “Audrey and Elvis” trivia night, which meant that the women all had to dress up as Audrey Hepburn and the men had to dress up as Elvis Presley. (That was another reason Mrs. Ponder had turned down the invitation. She’d always abhorred costume parties.) It seemed that the most popular rendition of Audrey Hepburn was the Breakfast at Tiffany’s look. All the women were wearing long black dresses, white gloves and pearl chokers. Meanwhile, the men had mostly chosen to pay tribute to the Elvis of the latter years. They were all wearing shiny white jumpsuits, glittery gemstones and plunging necklines. The women looked lovely. The poor men looked perfectly ridiculous.

As Mrs. Ponder watched, one Elvis punched another across the jaw. He staggered back into an Audrey. Two Elvises grabbed him from behind and pulled him away. An Audrey buried her face in her hands and turned aside, as though she couldn’t bear to watch. Someone shouted, “Stop this!”

Indeed. What would your beautiful children think?

“Should I call the police?” wondered Mrs. Ponder out loud, but then she heard the wail of a siren in the distance, at the same time as a woman on the balcony began to scream and scream.

Gabrielle: It wasn’t like it was just the mothers, you know. It wouldn’t have happened without the dads. I guess it started with the mothers. We were the main players, so to speak. The mums. I can’t stand the word “mum.” It’s a frumpy word. “Mom” is better. With an o. It sounds skinnier. We should change to the American spelling. I have body-image issues, by the way. Who doesn’t, right?

Bonnie: It was all just a terrible misunderstanding. People’s feelings got hurt, and then everything just spiraled out of control. The way it does. All conflict can be traced back to someone’s feelings getting hurt, don’t you think? Divorce. World wars. Legal action. Well, maybe not every legal action. Can I offer you an herbal tea?

Stu: I’ll tell you exactly why it happened: Women don’t let things go. Not saying the blokes don’t share part of the blame. But if the girls hadn’t gotten their knickers in a knot . . . And that might sound sexist, but it’s not, it’s just a fact of life. Ask any man—not some new-age, artsy-fartsy, I-wear-moisturizer type, I mean a real man—ask a real man, then he’ll tell you that women are like the Olympic athletes of grudges. You should see my wife in action. And she’s not even the worst of them.

Miss Barnes: Helicopter parents. Before I started at Pirriwee Public, I thought it was an exaggeration, this thing about parents being overly involved with their kids. I mean, my mum and dad loved me, they were like, interested in me when I was growing up in the nineties, but they weren’t, like, obsessed with me.

Mrs. Lipmann: It’s a tragedy, and deeply regrettable, and we’re all trying to move forward. I have no further comment.

Carol: I blame the Erotic Book Club. But that’s just me.

Jonathan: There was nothing erotic about the Erotic Book Club, I’ll tell you that for free.

Jackie: You know what? I see this as a feminist issue.

Harper: Who said it was a feminist issue? What the heck? I’ll tell you what started it: the incident at the kindergarten orientation day.

Graeme: My understanding was that it all goes back to the stay-at-home mums battling it out with the career mums. What do they call it? The Mummy Wars. My wife wasn’t involved. She doesn’t have time for that sort of thing.

Thea: You journalists are just loving the French-nanny angle. I heard someone on the radio today talking about the “French maid,” which Juliette was certainly not. Renata had a housekeeper as well. Lucky for some. I have four children, and no staff to help out! Of course, I don’t have a problem per se with working mothers, I just wonder why they bothered having children in the first place.

Melissa: You know what I think got everyone all hot and bothered? The head lice. Oh my gosh, don’t let me get started on the head lice.

Samantha: The head lice? What did that have to do with anything? Who told you that? I bet it was Melissa, right? That poor girl suffered post-traumatic stress disorder after her kids kept getting reinfected. Sorry. It’s not funny. It’s not funny at all.

Detective-Sergeant Adrian Quinlan: Let me be clear: This is not a circus. This is a murder investigation.


Chapter 2

Six Months Before the Trivia Night


Forty. Madeline Martha Mackenzie was forty years old today.

“I am forty,” she said out loud as she drove. She drew the word out in slow motion, like a sound effect. “Fooorty.”

She caught the eye of her daughter in the rearview mirror. Chloe grinned and imitated her mother. “I am five. Fiiiive.

“Forty!” trilled Madeline like an opera singer. “Tra la la la!”

“Five!” trilled Chloe.

Madeline tried a rap version, beating out the rhythm on the steering wheel. “I’m forty, yeah, forty—”

“That’s enough now, Mummy,” said Chloe firmly.

“Sorry,” said Madeline.

She was taking Chloe to her kindergarten—“Let’s Get Kindy Ready!”—orientation. Not that Chloe required any orientation before starting school next January. She was already very firmly oriented at Pirriwee Public. At this morning’s drop-off Chloe had been busy taking charge of her brother, Fred, who was two years older but often seemed younger. “Fred, you forgot to put your book bag in the basket! That’s it. In there. Good boy.”

Fred had obediently dropped his book bag in the appropriate basket before running off to put Jackson in a headlock. Madeline had pretended not to see the headlock. Jackson probably deserved it. Jackson’s mother, Renata, hadn’t seen it either, because she was deep in conversation with Harper, both of them frowning earnestly over the stress of educating their gifted children. Renata and Harper attended the same weekly support group for parents of gifted children. Madeline imagined them all sitting in a circle, wringing their hands while their eyes shone with secret pride.

While Chloe was busy bossing the other children around at orientation (her gift was bossiness, she was going to run a corporation one day), Madeline was going to have coffee and cake with her friend Celeste. Celeste’s twin boys were starting school next year too, so they’d be running amuck at orientation. (Their gift was shouting. Madeline had a headache after five minutes in their company.) Celeste always bought exquisite and very expensive birthday presents, so that would be nice. After that, Madeline was going to drop Chloe off with her mother-in-law, and then have lunch with some friends before they all rushed off for school pickup. The sun was shining. She was wearing her gorgeous new Dolce & Gabbana stilettos (bought online, thirty percent off). It was going to be a lovely, lovely day.

“Let the Festival of Madeline begin!” her husband, Ed, had said this morning when he brought her coffee in bed. Madeline was famous for her fondness of birthdays and celebrations of all kinds. Any excuse for champagne.

Still. Forty.

As she drove the familiar route to the school, she considered her magnificent new age. Forty. She could still feel “forty” the way it felt when she was fifteen. Such a colorless age. Marooned in the middle of your life. Nothing would matter all that much when you were forty. You wouldn’t have real feelings when you were forty, because you’d be safely cushioned by your frumpy forty-ness.

Forty-year-old woman found dead. Oh dear.

Twenty-year-old woman found dead. Tragedy! Sadness! Find that murderer!

Madeline had recently been forced to do a minor shift in her head when she heard something on the news about a woman dying in her forties. But, wait, that could be me! That would be sad! People would be sad if I was dead! Devastated, even. So there, age-obsessed world. I might be forty, but I am cherished.

On the other hand, it was probably perfectly natural to feel sadder over the death of a twenty-year-old than a forty-year-old. The forty-year-old had enjoyed twenty years more of life. That’s why, if there was a gunman on the loose, Madeline would feel obligated to throw her middle-aged self in front of the twenty-year-old. Take a bullet for youth. It was only fair.

Well, she would, if she could be sure it was a nice young person. Not one of those insufferable ones, like the child driving the little blue Mitsubishi in front of Madeline. She wasn’t even bothering to hide the fact that she was using her mobile phone while she drove, probably texting or updating her Facebook status.

See! This kid wouldn’t have even noticed the loose gunman! She would have been staring vacantly at her phone, while Madeline sacrificed her life for her! It was infuriating.

The little car appeared to be jammed with young people. At least three in the back, their heads bobbing about, hands gesticulating. Was that somebody’s foot waving about? It was a tragedy waiting to happen. They all needed to concentrate. Just last week, Madeline had been having a quick coffee after her ShockWave class and was reading a story in the paper about how all the young people were killing themselves by sending texts while they drove. On my way. Nearly there! These were their last foolish (and often misspelled) words. Madeline had cried over the picture of one teenager’s grief-stricken mother, absurdly holding up her daughter’s mobile phone to the camera as a warning to readers.

“Silly little idiots,” she said out loud as the car weaved dangerously

into the next lane.

“Who is an idiot?” said her daughter from the backseat.

“The girl driving the car in front of me is an idiot because she’s driving her car and using her phone at the same time,” said Madeline.

“Like when you need to call Daddy when we’re running late?” said Chloe.

“I only did that one time!” protested Madeline. “And I was very careful and very quick! And I’m forty years old!”

“Today,” said Chloe knowledgeably. “You’re forty years old today.”

“Yes! Also, I made a quick call, I didn’t send a text! You have to take your eyes off the road to text. Texting while driving is illegal and naughty, and you must promise to never ever do it when you’re a teenager.”

Her voice quivered at the thought of Chloe being a teenager and driving a car.

“But you’re allowed to make a quick phone call?” checked Chloe.

“No! That’s illegal too,” said Madeline.

“So that means you broke the law,” said Chloe with satisfaction.

“Like a robber.”

Chloe was currently in love with the idea of robbers. She was definitely going to date bad boys one day. Bad boys on motorcycles.

“Stick with the nice boys, Chloe!” said Madeline after a moment. “Like Daddy. Bad boys don’t bring you coffee in bed, I’ll tell you that for free.”

“What are you babbling on about, woman?” sighed Chloe. She’d picked this phrase up from her father and imitated his weary tone perfectly. They’d made the mistake of laughing the first time she did it, so she’d kept it up, and said it just often enough, and with perfect timing, so that they couldn’t help but keep laughing.

This time Madeline managed not to laugh. Chloe currently trod a very fine line between adorable and obnoxious. Madeline probably trod the same line herself.

Madeline pulled up behind the little blue Mitsubishi at a red light. The young driver was still looking at her mobile phone. Madeline banged on her car horn. She saw the driver glance in her rearview mirror, while all her passengers craned around to look.

“Put down your phone!” she yelled. She mimicked texting by jabbing her finger in her palm. “It’s illegal! It’s dangerous!”

The girl stuck her finger up in the classic up-yours gesture.

“Right!” Madeline pulled on her emergency brake and put on her hazard lights.

“What are you doing?” said Chloe.

Madeline undid her seat belt and threw open the car door.

“But we’ve got to go to orientation!” said Chloe in a panic. “We’ll be late! Oh, calamity!”

“Oh, calamity” was a line from a children’s book that they used to read to Fred when he was little. The whole family said it now. Even Madeline’s parents had picked it up, and some of Madeline’s friends. It was a very contagious phrase.

“It’s all right,” said Madeline. “This will only take a second. I’m saving young lives.”

She stalked up to the girl’s car on her new stilettos and banged on the window.

The window slid down, and the driver metamorphosed from a shadowy silhouette into a real young girl with white skin, sparkly nose ring and badly applied, clumpy mascara. She looked up at Madeline with a mixture of aggression and fear. “What is your problem?” Her mobile phone was still held casually in her left hand.

“Put down that phone! You could kill yourself and your friends!” Madeline used the exact same tone she used on Chloe when she was being extremely naughty. She reached in the car, grabbed the phone and tossed it to the openmouthed girl in the passenger seat. “OK? Just stop it!”

She could hear their gales of laughter as she walked back to her SUV. She didn’t care. She felt pleasantly stimulated. A car pulled up behind hers. Madeline smiled, lifted her hand apologetically and hurried back to be in her car before the lights changed.

Her ankle turned. One second it was doing what an ankle was meant to do, and the next it was flipping out at a sickeningly wrong angle. She fell heavily on one side. Oh, calamity.

That was almost certainly the moment the story began.

With the ungainly flip of an ankle.

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4.6 out of 54.6 out of 5
27,637 global ratings

Top reviews from the United States

Professor Kowald
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Men and Women who Lie About Them (some spoilers)
Reviewed in the United States on October 6, 2018
Beginning with a death, “Big Little Lies” uses the technique of spinning us initially back in time to work through all the events leading up to the big reveal of “whodunnit” (and who’s actually dead) This is the story of a group of wealthy, white New Zealand families... See more
Beginning with a death, “Big Little Lies” uses the technique of spinning us initially back in time to work through all the events leading up to the big reveal of “whodunnit” (and who’s actually dead)
This is the story of a group of wealthy, white New Zealand families who all have children at the same primary school using a series of linked events and points of view that ultimately lead to a tragedy at the school’s “Trivia” night.
At times this zips along like a soapy, pastiche of life in suburbia (Bullying in school! Petitions about dumb things! Head lice!) complete with a cast of wacky, colorful desperate housewives while at other times it seems to be earnestly trying to make serious points about the ugly things that go on behind closed doors - even among families that appear to be “perfect” on the surface.
And therein lies the heart of the problem - “Big Little Lies” just can’t figure out what it wants to be and as a result the “fun” parts aren’t much fun and the “serious” parts end up with an unsettlingly smug “after school special” feel to them.
The moral at the heart of both “Big Little Lies” and “The Husbands Secret”, by the same author (which I also had problems with) is that Bad Things Happen To Bad People and Good People get magically saved at the end by giant, clunky, ridiculous plot twists - no matter what bonkers things the characters do prior to this.
For example, here we are asked to believe that Jane - a stable, intelligent young woman with a loving, supportive family - has one single night of ugly (but consensual) sex with a Very Bad Man who scares her and says mean things to her - and as a result immediately falls pregnant and instantaneously develops a crippling eating disorder and can barely function ever after. So - while we are supposed to like and sympathize with Jane - her behavior is just bananas.
Throughout the story Jane makes a pious point - multiple times- of refusing to ever seek out That Very Bad Man in any way (Not even Googling him! Gasp!) - but we are ALSO expected to believe that she interrogated him on that one night to find out where he lived (why?) and then five years later abruptly moves to the town he lives in so she can stage a big “gotcha” scene to “introduce” The Very Bad Man to a son he has no idea exists just so she can tell him the kid likes pumpkin?? (I’m not exaggerating - that’s her actual plan) MORAL: Sex with strangers will leave you bruised, damaged, crazy and pregnant ( But thin! And beautiful!) - and you will ultimately plot to use the child you adore as a revenge pawn. (What??)
Celeste is so passive that she can only be “released” from her Very Bad Man literally by death. MORAL: If you’re a fabulously rich domestic violence victim with an apartment and income -make sure you know an unstable person because you will NEVER get away otherwise.
Bonnie is so damaged by her childhood experience of domestic violence at the hands of her Very Bad Dad that she ultimately commits a horrible crime - for which she gets community service because she has PTSD. MORAL: You might escape - but you’ll be broken forever and become violent when you eventually “snap” decades later - but you won’t go to jail because you’re Nice! (Really? That’s not at ALL how PTSD - or law - works)
In an equally ridiculous sub-plot we are supposed to believe that Amnesty International would be fine with a million dollar donation generated by someone “purchasing” a 14-year old girl’s virginity from an internet site as a fundraising stunt. (I’m pretty sure the sound I heard was Amnesty’s collective heads exploding at the thought they were used in this way) MORAL: A teen who tries to sell her body on the internet as a fund-raiser is really just “misguided” because she did it for a good cause and simply convincing her to take it down is a parenting score!!! At least she’s not on drugs! (Are you kidding me? Somebody get this kid to a therapist -STAT!)

If all that wasn’t weird and unsettling enough - we end this tragedy with happy endings for everyone!! (Well... except for the corpse) And luckily - it turns out ALL men aren’t Very Bad Men - you just need to find a Very Good Man and all your problems will go away! So Jane finds a Very Good Man who isn’t gay after all (thank heavens! It was the OTHER guy who’s gay! What a wacky mix-up!) who makes her eat yummy muffins he baked himself - thereby instantly curing her eating disorder and Bonnie finds her nice, supportive husband is ... well...nice and supportive.

If you don’t have a nice man to rescue you - like Celeste you can look forward to life with an insane amount of money with a psychotic child who tortures and bullies girls including throwing them down flights of stairs (because - you know - violence against women is ... Genetic?) but that’s Ok because he’s “just acting out” and you’ll get to give inspirational speeches about how domestic violence can happen to ANYONE (cue ominous music) and that’s enough , right?
114 people found this helpful
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psorion
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Fantastic book, READ THIS BEFORE YOU WATCH THE SHOW!
Reviewed in the United States on January 21, 2018
An amazing book about friendship, family, enemies, past lives, and the consequences of assumption and judgment. I read the book before watching the HBO series and I would STRONGLY recommend that you read the book before watching the show. The book is obviously much better... See more
An amazing book about friendship, family, enemies, past lives, and the consequences of assumption and judgment. I read the book before watching the HBO series and I would STRONGLY recommend that you read the book before watching the show. The book is obviously much better than the show; the character development in the book is incredible and you become so attached to the characters, much moreso than I did watching the show. The show DOES NOT give justice to the deep, thoughtful, complicated characters that Moriarty created. I found the book hilarious, heartwarming, heartwrenching, and tragic. This is a true page-turner. I''ve ordered a few more of her books because I loved Moriarty''s writing style. This book is definitely not your typical and superficial fiction; thought it was soap-opera like, parts of it were like a thriller and I truly couldn''t put it down. I''d recommend it to anyone wanting a well-written juicy story about a complicated town where everyone has their secrets.
86 people found this helpful
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sw
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
I loved this book!
Reviewed in the United States on April 22, 2017
I rarely write reviews, but I have to for this book. It is just too good. It is not a mystery. You know someone dies. It is not a crime novel. It is a novel about women and people. There are three main characters, all mothers with kindergarten children in the same... See more
I rarely write reviews, but I have to for this book. It is just too good. It is not a mystery. You know someone dies. It is not a crime novel. It is a novel about women and people. There are three main characters, all mothers with kindergarten children in the same school. They are all so different, but so vividly portrayed in all their goodness and their flaws. You wish you knew them. The scene where the death actually occurs is so wonderfully written that I had to read it twice. Sounds odd, doesn''t it, but you will understand when you read it. The book is so clever and so witty. The characters are so interesting. I am going to watch the tv show but I don''t know how it can measure up to the book! Read this book!
258 people found this helpful
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Jamie
1.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Not worth the hype
Reviewed in the United States on November 20, 2018
I chose this book because of all the great reviews. The last few chapters are good, however it is a long, slow, annoying way to get there. This is likely a fourth or fifth grade reading level and not particularly well written. Every chapter begins or end with a few bits of... See more
I chose this book because of all the great reviews. The last few chapters are good, however it is a long, slow, annoying way to get there. This is likely a fourth or fifth grade reading level and not particularly well written. Every chapter begins or end with a few bits of dialogue, from a different time line, which I just find annoying and does not add anything to the book. Skip this "must read" unless you enjoy the desperate house wives.
40 people found this helpful
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Brutally Honest Reviews
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Compelling on the screen or the page
Reviewed in the United States on March 24, 2017
I''ve been watching the HBO series and thoroughly enjoying it. So when a friend mentioned that it was adapted from a book by an Australian author (and the setting changed from a ritzy Sydney North Shore suburb to Monterey) I couldn''t resist buying it. WARNING: if... See more
I''ve been watching the HBO series and thoroughly enjoying it. So when a friend mentioned that it was adapted from a book by an Australian author (and the setting changed from a ritzy Sydney North Shore suburb to Monterey) I couldn''t resist buying it.

WARNING: if you''re watching the series and don''t want the end spoilered, don''t buy the book. The series has followed along pretty faithfully so far, with one or two smallish changes (the theater production isn''t an issue in the book, for example).

Big Little Lies is beautifully written, with a rising air of tension throughout the book as we get closer and closer to the murder foreshadowed from the beginning. I won''t spoil who the victim is for you, but suffice it to say I was a little surprised. I''d already figured out who the real perpetrator of the playground bullying probably was - it''s always nice when you guess SOMETHING right - but there were definitely a few shocks in the last quarter of the book that I didn''t see coming. It''s an excellent book and well worth reading.

That said, if you haven''t watched the HBO series, get on that right away. It''s incredible; Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon are compelling as a pair of ''yummy mummies'' who on the surface appear to have the perfect life, but beneath the surface things are far from the polished facade they portray. Alexander Skarsgard steals every scene he appears in as the poised, rich, handsome husband with violent tendencies behind closed doors.

Big Little Lies is a compelling story on the screen or on the page. HIGHLY recommended.
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D. West
1.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Little Little Lies
Reviewed in the United States on August 1, 2018
Are you serious? This is what passes for literature today. I had to slog through this drivel, hoping there was some takeaway. Sorry, but no, there isn''t any redeeming quality here. If this is the kind of writing (?) that readers find entertaining, I am greatly... See more
Are you serious? This is what passes for literature today. I had to slog through this drivel, hoping there was some takeaway. Sorry, but no, there isn''t any redeeming quality here. If this is the kind of writing (?) that readers find entertaining, I am greatly disappointed. This had a grade school level mentality; there were too many characters who had no real role in the storyline; it took forever to get to the "climax" and even that was a let down. The actions on the part of the characters after the climax were totally unrealistic, inconceivable, and over the top.

This was neither plot driven nor character driven. The characters were flat and most of them were unlikeable. I will give Moriarty credit, she manages to get every conceivable issue plaguing humanity written into her characters. And this is only kindergarden--please stop, I can''t imagine another twelve years with these people. Would not recommend this book, unless you''re having a hard time sleeping.
37 people found this helpful
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Sam
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A nuanced portrayal of female friendship and domestic violence
Reviewed in the United States on January 29, 2018
When I started reading this, I thought it was going to be a beach-read sort of book. Easy to read, gossipy, light. The three main characters are all likeable, even and especially Madeline, who is frivolous and loud and unexpected. This started as a guilty pleasure sort of... See more
When I started reading this, I thought it was going to be a beach-read sort of book. Easy to read, gossipy, light. The three main characters are all likeable, even and especially Madeline, who is frivolous and loud and unexpected. This started as a guilty pleasure sort of book, and I thought that''s all it would be. And then the story diverged from expectations, and the kindergarten mothers with their silly worries are revealed to be complicated characters with nuanced emotional lives. There is a beautiful portrayal female friendships, and a vivid, nuanced sketch of what real domestic violence looks like--with its see-saw power balance and confusing emotional roller coaster--which is far different than a stereotypical evil-person vs hapless victim characterization. As the #metoo movement has picked up steam, as stories like "Cat Person" have infiltrated the national conversation, and as people have been seeking to pin vocabulary to the complexities of disturbing sexual experiences and abusive behavior, this book is timely, and a useful tool for dissecting ideas that resist simple labels.
52 people found this helpful
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Scarletpen
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
More than a fun summer read
Reviewed in the United States on July 8, 2015
I expected Moriarty''s book to be a fun summer read. It proves to be that and more. While warm and quirky, it also is humorous, engaging, and well-crafted. It has resonance. The story, part coming of age, and part murder mystery, is about a young mom and her 5-year old son... See more
I expected Moriarty''s book to be a fun summer read. It proves to be that and more. While warm and quirky, it also is humorous, engaging, and well-crafted. It has resonance. The story, part coming of age, and part murder mystery, is about a young mom and her 5-year old son who never stay in a place longer than six months. But as they begin to make real friends and put down real roots in their newest community, they also must live with the shadow of a haunting trauma from the first day of kindergarten when Ziggy is accused of being a bully. It is through this event that a later murder is somehow linked. Details about the murder are revealed at the end of each chapter through bickering background characters interjecting their raucous and catty opinions as events unfold. Against contrasting plot lines, bickering neighbors, and discreet lies of omission, the story carefully unfolds.

Moriarty''s characters are big, bold, and believable. As the reader begins to recognize their quirks and personalities, the reader also begins to see the edges of the lies these characters tell in order to keep lives intact, in order to keep secrets private. While there are a lot of elements here, Moriarty is in full control. Even from the title, there is a specific perspective lent to the story as the reader begins to understand that things can not be taken at face value and that a human being is never as simple as he or she may appear.
37 people found this helpful
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Top reviews from other countries

Sarah-Lou
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Witty, sometimes dark and brilliantly observed characters.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 15, 2018
Witty and, in places, dark, this book follows three kindergarten mums, Jane, Madeline and Celeste in the lead-up to the school trivia night, where a murder takes place. We are not told until the end of the book who is murdered and it leaves the reader guessing throughout,...See more
Witty and, in places, dark, this book follows three kindergarten mums, Jane, Madeline and Celeste in the lead-up to the school trivia night, where a murder takes place. We are not told until the end of the book who is murdered and it leaves the reader guessing throughout, as each of the main characters has a reason to kill a person. You don''t have to be a kindergarten mum, or a school mum to appreciate the brilliance of this book. The story is fast paced and the characters well observed and believable. I am sure most people will have experienced a Celeste, Jane, or Madeline in their lives- ridiculously beautiful mother of twins, who has it all, a plain and timid single parent and a slightly, dizzy, hotheaded twice married mother of three, respectively. Together they face issues of domestic violence, bullying, juggling children from a first and second marriage, teenage rebellion and jealously. The gossip and one upmanship at the kindergarten gates is hilarious. Scenes are interspersed with comments from other parents who have thoughts about the murder as they are investigated by the police. Great fun to read and a shame it had to end.
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RK
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Loved It!!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 9, 2017
I absolutely loved this book. I have never read anything by this author before, but will certainly be reading others. What a page turner! I loved how the stories of three lives unfolded in front of you but that the "main" story line was kept secret until the end of the...See more
I absolutely loved this book. I have never read anything by this author before, but will certainly be reading others. What a page turner! I loved how the stories of three lives unfolded in front of you but that the "main" story line was kept secret until the end of the book. Ioved the twist and did not see it coming. It''s a must read for me and now I can''t wait to watch the TV series. Enjoy!!
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Linda
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A gripping and amusing read
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on December 3, 2018
Wow! I couldn’t put this book down. Behind the petty and amusing squabbles between the parents at a kindergarten lurk several dark and gripping stories told in a thoroughly believable way. Lianne Moriarty has a knack of capturing the little details of people’s lives,...See more
Wow! I couldn’t put this book down. Behind the petty and amusing squabbles between the parents at a kindergarten lurk several dark and gripping stories told in a thoroughly believable way. Lianne Moriarty has a knack of capturing the little details of people’s lives, character, habits and mannerisms and retelling them in a way which amuses the reader and makes us feel as though we really know these characters....... or at least, somebody like some of them in our own lives. I will not go into details as this will spoil the complicated and unexpected twists and turns in this book and would give too much away. I pride myself in being able to see what’s coming in most books I read but this was so cleverly put together that the ending was completely unexpected. Suffice it to say that at some points in the book I was laughing out loud at some of the scenes and her clever depictions, whilst at others I gasped at some potentially horrifying scenarios. This was the first book I have read from this author and I shall certainly read many more.
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Ms. N. J.
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Great read but never felt like I got started
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 27, 2019
This was a great read... And with books like this one the author does a great job at hooking you with mysteries you want to get to the bottom of. But I only give it 4*s because I never really felt like I got started. You know when you start a new book and someone asks if...See more
This was a great read... And with books like this one the author does a great job at hooking you with mysteries you want to get to the bottom of. But I only give it 4*s because I never really felt like I got started. You know when you start a new book and someone asks if you''re reading anything at the moment and you say "I''ve just started..." Whereas when you feel like you''re in the thick of a book you''d say "oh I''m in the middle of...". Subtle difference but it''s the first time I''ve read a book and constantly felt like I''d just started it... Until I''d finished it!! I think it was the style it was done in... Flicking back and forth between the "trivia night" (the books climax) and narrating the leadup to it. Alongside character''s opinions as we went along (you''ll understand when you read it). The experience is weirdly akin to when you go to a hotel. When you first get to a hotel room you get to know your way around, find the slippers, the safe... Then once you change into your swimsuit, go for a swim and have a nice shower you feel like you''ve properly moved in... This book felt like the "just arrived" feeling of getting to a hotel room and never felt like I''d properly moved in... Until it was time to check out and you''d wonder where the time went! I wonder if anyone felt the same!!
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Laura
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
I know I''m late to the party on this, but what a great book!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 12, 2019
I didn''t know anything about this story, having not seen the TV show and only read one of Liane Moriarty''s books before (The Husbands Secret, also recommend) but this story is gripping and engaging throughout. The characters are equally endearing and awful, in a way I have...See more
I didn''t know anything about this story, having not seen the TV show and only read one of Liane Moriarty''s books before (The Husbands Secret, also recommend) but this story is gripping and engaging throughout. The characters are equally endearing and awful, in a way I have not seen done so well in a long time. Their flawed nature makes them more believable and in turn likeable, although I don''t think I could ever like Harper! Great twist at the end, I definitely recommend to anybody, read this book!
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