3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding book
Another outstanding book from Liane Moriarty The story opens 6 months before Trivia Night at the Kindergarten orientation morning
You are made aware from the beginning that a tragic death occurred at the trivia night but don’t know who it is. Police are investigating it and interviews with the parents are interspersed with the story building up a picture of...
Published 11 months ago by Carolq
20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Those Little Lies
Attractive and bubbly Madeleine lives in the beautiful coastal town of Pirriwee, a suburb of Sydney, with her second husband, Ed, and her three children. Her first husband, Nathan, father to Madeleine's eldest child, is now married to yoga fanatic Bonnie, and they have a daughter who, along with Madeleine's youngest child, will soon be starting...
Published 11 months ago by Susie B
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding book,
Another outstanding book from Liane Moriarty The story opens 6 months before Trivia Night at the Kindergarten orientation morning
You are made aware from the beginning that a tragic death occurred at the trivia night but don’t know who it is. Police are investigating it and interviews with the parents are interspersed with the story building up a picture of life in this town.
Perriwee School, is set in an idyllic seaside resort.
The three main characters are Madeline, Celeste and Jane whose lives become intertwined when their young children start kindergarten together.
Moriarity’s descriptive talents leave you feeling you really get to know the main characters well and feel empathy for them all as the story grows.
I loved the way the author captures the bitchiness that occurs in PTA committees.
There are school politics, Bullying, Domestic abuse, problems with an ex-husband and what appears to be his perfect new wife, Chinese whispers, teenage angst, exaggerated stories and absolute lies.
However despite the serious subject matter there are laugh aloud moments that will captivate the reader. Most mothers will know characters like Madeline who is totally hilarious, fighting battles and fiercely protecting her friends.
This book is definitely a page turner. I couldn’t put the book down as I was desperate to know the ending!
Highly recommended, I loved this book. It is also a great holiday read you just won’t be able to put it down
20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Those Little Lies,
Attractive and bubbly Madeleine lives in the beautiful coastal town of Pirriwee, a suburb of Sydney, with her second husband, Ed, and her three children. Her first husband, Nathan, father to Madeleine's eldest child, is now married to yoga fanatic Bonnie, and they have a daughter who, along with Madeleine's youngest child, will soon be starting kindergarten at the local primary school, where much of the action in the story takes place. Madeleine, who can be rather feisty, finds the serene Bonnie rather irritating, but she has a busy life and a good network of friends, her closest friend being the head-turningly beautiful Celeste, who is married to Perry and is the mother of twin boys. Celeste and hedge fund manager Perry seem to be the perfect couple, but before long we begin to see that Celeste is hiding a secret and that her life is nowhere near as wonderful as it might appear on the surface. Into their lives arrives Jane, a young single mother and her five-year-old son, Ziggy. Jane is struggling to move on from a traumatic incident in her past and when she moves to Pirriwee and makes friends with Madeleine and Celeste, she finally begins to feel that this is somewhere she could settle down. That is until Ziggy is accused of bullying a fellow schoolmate and the enraged mother and her fellow mummy mafia followers begin to make life extremely difficult for Jane and Ziggy. And then a disturbing incident occurs at the school 'Trivia Night' which ends in the death of one of the parents - but who dies and who causes the death? (No spoilers - we learn right at the beginning of the book that someone is killed).
Full of perceptive details of school politics, 'helicopter' parents boasting about their gifted children, malicious gossip at the school gates and pushy PTA members, Liane Moriarty's latest novel is written in a chatty tone and one that made for quite an entertaining read. This is not literary fiction (and not meant to be) and it's not really a murder mystery either - but it is a readable novel about parenthood, female friendship, bullying in its various guises and of the lies we tell ourselves and others. And although this novel tackles some rather unpleasant themes including domestic violence and physical and psychological intimidation, it does have its lighter moments too, and anyone who is a parent or who works in a school will recognise some of the characters who appear in this book and maybe have a few laughs at their expense - and the author's rather over the top descriptions of the alcohol fuelled 'Audrey and Elvis Trivia Night' where parents had to dress up as either Audrey Hepburn or Elvis Presley, were so silly that I had to smile. I will just comment that all of the intricate little details focusing on school and family life rather slowed the pace of the story in places and meant that the novel was not quite as pacy or gripping to read as I was expecting from the advance publicity; however that said, if you are looking for an easy and engaging summertime read, that is not all froth, then this could well fit the bill for you.
24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very impressive novel,
Just like her previous two novels, Little Lies is set in suburban Australia and centres on a community that is made up of upper middle-class families.
Jane is the newcomer; she's a young, single mother with a young son called Ziggy. Jane is very different to most of the other mothers at the school. She's not obsessed with her appearance, or by money, she doesn't have a husband who earns a huge salary. She's desperate to be accepted though and is delighted to find friendship in two of the most powerful mothers in town. However, things begin to go very wrong for Jane and Ziggy after an incident in the school playground, and suddenly mothers are against mothers.
Little Lies is a very clever story. The reader knows from page one that something terrible happened at the School Trivia Night, we know that someone is dead, but we don't know who it is, or who the murderer is, or why.
Liane Moriarty expertly weaves this story. Hooking the reader from the start with the big whodunnit and then skipping back a few months to gradually build up both the plot and the characters. There is a real credibility to these characters and the development of their relationships are excellently done. The author expertly portrays what appears to be a perfect life on the outside whilst allowing the reader glimpses into the sordid and often violent secrets lying below the surface.
Little Lies is the sort of book that keeps me up way past my bedtime with it's compelling plotline and cleverly careless clues dotted around that hooked me and made me want to read 'just one more chapter'. There were a few gasps out loud along the way too - there is nothing I like better than to find that I'm wrong about what I think has happened, or will happen. To me, the sign of a great book and a very clever author is when I really do get a shock when something huge is revealed.
There are quite a few shocks along the way in Little Lies, there are also many secrets and lots of lies, not all of them are little either.
A very impressive novel, Liane Moriarty is quickly becoming one of my favourite authors. Great stuff
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Novel set in Australia ("Oh, calamity"),
Tell me, tell me, tell me lies/Tell me lies/Tell me sweet little lies/Tell me lies, tell me, tell me lies/Oh, no, no you can’t disguise/You can’t disguise, no you can’t disguise/Tell me lies/Tell me sweet little lies (Fleetwood Mac “Little Lies”)
Pirriwee Public is just a run of the mill school on the fictional Pirriwee Peninsula near Sydney, Australia. A cross section of the populace, their ups and downs, the inter-personal relationships laid bare and the exchanges between the parents brought to life. Dynamics at the ‘school gate’ are like a window onto the daily life of this otherwise reasonably affluent and engaged community. What could possibly go wrong?
The book starts out 6 months before the “Trivia Night” scheduled to take place at the school later in the year, to be attended by parents and staff to raise funds. This is the event on which the book hinges… And the countdown continues as the characters parade before us, parents, teachers, and the children. At the end of many of the chapters there are the comments and reflections from various individuals – and statements from the police protocol – about individual perceptions of how that particular evening actually panned out. Perception and fact are often polarised, interpretations of events and motive can be creative, judgement skewed. Prejudice can be injurious and doing nothing can in itself have dire consequences….
A swathe of people flurry across the pages at the beginning and it can at first be difficult to differentiate the real players. They are like a Greek Chorus observing a stage play, as life unfolds under the scrutiny of the reader. Yet it soon becomes clear who the characters are to follow and how they gradually build up relationships. There is Madeline who struggles with her blended family, together with second husband, Ed; Nathan is her former husband, now with Bonnie (who is clearly a seemingly virtuous and superior being to the rest of the characters); then there is Jane who is a single parent, who happened upon Pirriwee and chose to settle there with her son Ziggy; and Celeste who is married to Perry, the gorgeous couple who reep looks and admiration from other parents. And then there is Tom who runs the local beach café, Blue Blues (I am definitely getting a sense of musical inspiration, with the title and Ziggy – perhaps as in Stardust?).
Bullying at the school gradually becomes a hot topic and sides are taken. One child is being bullied by another and the author perceptively renders the different perspectives, the herd instinct seems to be to victimise and address the situation. In parallel there is also a very informed depiction of the abusive behaviour within an adult intimate relationship and how the insidious nature of such a dynamic gradually can unfold. The Jekyll and Hide character of the abuser is very realistically depicted.
The apotheosis comes with everyone turning up for the much hyped Trivia Night which starts off with consumption of heady alcoholic drinks, but no food to absorb the alcohol, as the caterer is late arriving. It is a true cocktail for disaster. Without giving anything away, it all goes downhill from there.
Locale isn’t central to the narrative, but as a reader living the UK, the notion of outdoor living is conveyed in a very appealing way! Imagine a school with a balcony for being outdoors, or surfing every now and then when the fancy takes you (I could live with that!).
It is leisurely paced book, very well written, that heads for the denouement in a measured and thought provoking way. Enjoy!
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A total page turner,
Oh my goodness, Liane Moriarty has done it again, another immensely readable book peopled with characters whom you feel like you could very well know. Centered on a small primary school in a fictional and idyllic Sydney beachside suburb, this is the story of three women who become firm friends when their children start kindergarten together.
Jane is a young single mother, devoted to her son but mute on the subject of his father. Celeste is the one who "has it all" - beautiful, wealthy, happily married - but she is also keeping a dark secret from everyone that she knows. And Madeleine, feisty Madeleine, is having issues with her teenage daughter who seems to prefer her father's household to Madeleine's. Woven into their stories are the various other dramas that beset the parents of that school year.
The story takes place over six months and from the outset we know that we are building towards a violent confrontation at a school trivia night in which someone will die. We are teased with this pending event from the word go, but it is not until the final chapters that everything becomes clear.
It took me three days to read the first few chapters of this book but then I finished the rest in one sitting. As you get hooked into these women's lives, it becomes impossible to put the book down. I also loved the way I could recognize so many of the characters from my own children's school: the superior parents of "gifted" children, the bullying lawyers who threaten lawsuits on anyone who crosses them, drunken misbehaviour at school fundraisers, the teachers struggling to cope - not with the children, but with the demands of their pushy and educated parents. There have been a few books recently that have tried to capture the insular world of primary schools (The Hive comes to mind), but this one does it extremely effectively.
Despite the fact that I really, really liked this book, there are a couple of things that I didn't think worked. One was the way that we keep being reminded about the trivia night and what will happen. It wasn't necessary. A prologue was all that was needed. It was a device to build tension that wasn't necessary - we had been told it was coming, that was sufficient. My other criticism is that the book is light on suspense, especially vs The Husband's Secret. (Perhaps this is why the trivia night is played up so heavily). It really isn't that difficult to figure out what Jane and Celeste's secrets will be and therefore the thing that keeps you reading is seeing how they will play out rather than wondering what they will be.
Overall, a terrific read that I am missing already. Can't wait for Liane Moriarty's next book!
5.0 out of 5 stars a brilliant read.,
“The Blonde Bobs rule the school. If you want to be on the P&C you have to have a blonde bob…..They’re like Mum Prefects, they feel very strongly about their roles as school mums. It’s like their religion. They’re fundamentalist mothers”
Big Little Lies is the sixth novel by Australian author, Liane Moriarty. The Pirriwee Peninsula on Sydney’s Northern Beaches is home to a diverse range of people, many of whom have children at the Pirriwee Public School and so are present at the Annual Trivia Night Fundraiser. But this year, one of those parents ends up dead. This one, intriguing fact is presented in the first chapter, after which the narrative jumps back six months to trace the sequence of events that led to the tragedy.
Moriarty uses three narrators, each of whom has children starting in Kindergarten: Madeline, confident, outgoing and never averse to voicing her outrage at the smallest injustice; Jane, a single mum with a dark secret in her past; and Celeste, rich and beautiful, and married to a seemingly perfect man. Other perspectives are presented in the form of quotes (some quite perceptive, some decidedly frivolous) recorded after the event by a journalist, from parents and teachers present on the night.
Moriarty gives the reader an original plot with a twist that only the most astute reader will predict. The setting is commonplace and easily recognisable and Moriarty captures the feel of the school situation perfectly. The dialogue is familiar from any café or school playground and the characters are real and flawed; none is wholly good or completely evil. Several characters will surprise at the climax, and the reader may even feel some sympathy for the abuser. Readers are likely to find themselves hoping none of the narrators is the Trivia Night victim.
Moriarty touches on some topical themes as well as some age-old topics: domestic violence; body image; the dangers of a one-night-stand; bullying; victim mentality; erotic asphyxiation; infidelity; and bizarre internet auctions. She manages to include a lost plush toy, a Kindy Mothers race, head lice (of course!), a petition, a twisted ankle, a French nanny, little bullies and big bullies, an ex-husband, a gorgeous barista, a profusion of Elvises and Audrey Hepburns and plenty of laugh-out-loud moments.
Moriarty gives her characters both wise words and amusing observations: “Then, as she hit her late thirties, her body said: OK, you don’t believe in PMT? I’ll show you PMT. Get a load of this, bitch” and “Ex-husbands should live in different suburbs. They should send their children to different schools. There should be legislation …..”. Also “She looked straight ahead at the briskly working windshield wipers. The windscreen was just like never-ending cycles of her mind. Confusion. Clear. Confusion. Clear. Confusion. Clear.” and “Jane saw that Madeline’s feelings about Jane’s baking were similar to Jane’s feelings about Madeline’s accessories: confused admiration for an exotic sort of behaviour”
Fans of The Husband’s Secret will not be disappointed with Big Little Lies. Readers who can ignore the misspelling of peninsula throughout the text will agree that this is, once again, a brilliant read.
5.0 out of 5 stars Tell me lies, tell me sweet little lies...,
Liane Moriarty is one of the authors that I have heard bloggers raving about for a few years now. For some reason, I've never gotten around to reading any of her books, but I'm not sure why. I was sent a review copy of Little Lies a few months ago, and finally decided to give it a go a few weeks ago when I was choosing my next read. I am really pleased that I did because it was a really gripping, very well written read that had me utterly absorbed for it's rather lengthy duration. It's set in Australia, being that Liane Moriarty is an Australian author, but I guess it's a plot that could happen anywhere - and I was gripped. Here's why.
Jane is a newcomer at the local school, her four year old son Ziggy is about to join the class of children beginning school for the first time. Jane doesn't really have any new friends in the town, given that she and Ziggy move around a lot, and she is keen to be accepted in her new home. When one of the mums, Madeline, befriends her, Jane wonders if they can finally settle down. But as things at the school take a more sinister twist, Jane is left wondering how she is going to be able to cope with the rumours. When a tragedy occurs at a school fundraising night, no-one seems to be able to get to the bottom of what happened on that tragic night.
This is a tricky book to review because I really don't want to give anything about the story away, because for me that is what made it so compulsive to read. You don't really get a lot from the blurb, and I enjoyed the story unravelling slowly as I read it, keen to find out what was going to happen and the backstory of these characters too. For me, it was definitely the characters that made this book so readable. I'm sure a lot of mums who do the school drop-off and pick-up will be able to pigeon-hole other mums into the groups that Jane finds these women to be in at Ziggy's school.
Jane is the lead character of this book, and I really liked her - in fact, I could relate to her a lot. She's very shy, awkward and is unsure of herself when she wants to befriend the other more confident mothers at the school. She is very likeable though, not fixated on image or money or anything, just on being a good mother to her son. Her past is revealed slowly as the book progresses, and goes a long way to explaining why she is as she is in the story. The other characters are brilliant too. My other favourite was strong, feisty Madeline, who befriends Jane on their children's first day. Madeline wasn't sucked in by the cliques of the playground, keen to stand up for what is right, and we see a lot of this in her in the book. Other mums include quiet and mysterious Celeste who is hiding her own dark secrets, opinionated and bitchy queen bee Renata, and their other halves made appearances too.
The writing in this book was really good, and there were points where I really didn't want to put the book down. I was so keen to find out what was going to happen next, or if any truths or lies were about to be revealed - there was something really compulsive about this book. The book begins at the school trivia night, and the rest of the book is leading up to this point, from the children's first day at school to what happens as they go on. The school trivia night events don't happen until right near the end of the book, you're left desperate for it to reach this point so you can finally find out what happened, and that's what is so addictive about this read for me. I found the book incredibly easy to read, with witty dialogue, enough description to bring it alive in your mind but it doesn't allow itself to be bogged down in it either.
For me, this might be my first of Liane Moriarty's books, but it certainly will not be my last. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and was surprised by how hooked I became on the story. I felt a plethora of emotions throughout this book, from shock, to happiness, to anger and indignation. I love a book that is able to evoke emotion as I read, and this book certainly delivers on that. I loved everything about this book, from the intriguing plot to the characters and the writing. I drew my own conclusions as the book went on - one of them was correct but the other I hadn't seen coming at all, and I loved that. This was a stunning novel, one that is definitely going on my keeper's shelf, and I can't wait to read more from Liane Moriarty.
5.0 out of 5 stars Another winner from Liane Moriarty...,
This review is from: Little Lies (Paperback)
Originally reviwed for www.bookaholicconfessions.wordpress.com
Set in a suburban town in Australia, Little Lies tells the story of a group of mothers with children all at Pirriwee Public School. We meet single mother, Jane, who has moved to the area with her son, Ziggy. She's set on a fresh start and desperate to move on from the events of her past. After a chance meeting she ends up being taken under the wing of Madeline, the outgoing, feisty mother of Fred and Chloe, who then introduces her to the gorgeous Celeste, who also has twin boys starting at the school too.
However, things don't get off to a good start for Jane when Ziggy is accused of hurting another child on Orientation Day, and after some serious `playground politics' things go from bad to worse. Mothers are divided and Jane starts to question whether her own five year old son is telling the truth as events spiral out of control.
It turns out that looks can be deceptive as the seemingly perfect town of Pirriwee is revealed to be a town full of secrets...
After enjoying The Husband's Secret so much I knew that I was in for a treat with Little Lies, only I didn't know just how much of a treat...
It was simply amazing! I was addicted to this story right from the start where you are told that something happens to someone on Pirriwee Public School Trivia Night. The story then goes back in time to six months before the Trivia Night and builds up to a thrilling crescendo as things finally come to a head. I loved that the story was told in this way, it's hugely effective at keeping you guessing whilst keeping you firmly glued to the page! I was desperate to know what happened at that trivia night... Yet at the same time I was enjoying this story so much that I didn't want to know so I could carry on reading in a breathless state of anticipation (yes, really...!)
Little Lies is written in such a clever way that it's not at all obvious what's going to happen either. It will keep you guessing right up until the last second and I love that in a novel. There are various clues dotted around the story which you'll pick up as you go along, but nothing blindingly obvious. It's not until you slot all of the pieces together that everything suddenly makes sense.
I loved the way that we are introduced to the three main mothers, Jane, Madeline and Celeste. Their stories build slowly but you'll soon find yourself liking these brave, loyal women and reading about their friendship. Madeline was probably my favourite of the three; she's humorous and you can't help but like her. But Jane and Celeste are also hugely strong characters too, only it's not until later that you find out just how strong they are.
There is so much to this novel; friendship, secrets, love, parenting, bullying (both mental and physical), the extent of the `Mommy Mafia', and one or two little lies, but some pretty big whoppers as well.
Liane Moriarty is fantastic, and her writing is so impressive. I was completely enthralled by The Husband's Secret, but I was blown-away by this clever, tense, thrilling page-turner of a novel. Liane weaves the story in such a captivating way, slowly teasing you with bits of information as more and more is revealed about the characters involved, whilst all the time never giving anything away.
You'll never realise just how scary life at the school gates could be...
5.0 out of 5 stars This book is brilliant! Well worth reading, and her best yet (I think!),
Little Lies is one of the best novels I’ve read in ages- I was hooked throughout and couldn’t put it down! I’ve read The Husband’s Secret and What Alice Forgot and though I thought they were both very, very good (particularly The Husband’s Secret- I should re-read and review it some time…) I think Little Lies beats them both!
Set in Australia (like the other two of her novels I mentioned previously), we learn at the beginning of the book about a raucous parent quiz night at a local primary school which actually leads to a parent dying- but we don’t know which one. The story is told from different perspectives and reveals what happened in the months leading up to the night.
The characters are all very different kinds of people (apart from most of them being parents) but each are very believable, interesting characters – if not all very likeable! My favourite characters are Madeline, as she’s so fiery, excitable and completely loyal to her friends, and Jane as she’s been through a lot and deserves a much happier life but is still such a nice, caring person.
The story has some dark undertones to it but at no point is it overly bleak, and that’s another reason I loved this book. It was believable but didn’t use shock tactics when there was no need and didn’t overplay the upsetting parts when it could have. There is a (very small) element of romance in the storyline, but not in a cringey way, and the parents’ bitchiness and gossiping is incredibly amusing- I’ve no idea if this is what parents of school children are really like but it is very entertaining to read about all the same! There was an interesting blend of tragedy and comedy throughout, andthe story keep you guessing until right at the very end as to what really happened that night, with some clever twists that I didn’t see coming. Moriarty effectively builds the tension and adds a strong sense of mystery which kept me completely immersed in the book!
This book is great at making you think about the way that appearances can be deceiving- you never know what someone’s home life is really like unless you’re always there with them.
Little Lies is a clever, intriguing novel packed with scandal and secrets that would make a fantastic summer read- but which has a lot more substance than the usual ‘beach’ chick-lit!
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing Book!,
NOTE - I won this book in a giveaway.
This book was absolutely amazing! Words can't really describe how incredible this book was though I will try.
The book starts off in the present time in the point of view of a neighbour who witnesses the big incident that the plot resolves around and then switches to flashbacks from a variety of characters.
The book is mainly in the point of view of three characters, Jane, Celeste and Madeleine. They all were really well-developed, complex and interesting people who I really connected with. They were really believable and their frendship was really nice to read about. I didn't think reading about the day-to-day lives of three people could be so engaging but it was.
The big mystery aspect was really intriguing especially the small excerpts of some sort of interview at the end of the chapters. I found myself really invested in the fate of the characters and I really enjoyed it. It had some really funny parts that lightened the serious atmosphere of some of the chapters.
The plot had a lot of twists and turn and I just found it to be a really amazing mystery novel that kept me gripped throughout. Even when I put the book down to do other things I found myself thinking about the book and always ended up picking it right back up again, it was so engrossing and left me wanting more.
The ending was perfect for the story and especially for the character development of characters and I liked how it was resolved but sort of left room for your own interpretation. I'd definitely recommend this book to anybody and everybody and am probably going to steal my sisters copy of The Husband's Secret soon.
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