BookPage Fiction Top Pick, August 2014
Australian author Liane Moriarty portrays elementary school drama in her latest page-turner, Big Little Lies, which comes on the heels of her first U.S. bestseller, The Husband’s Secret. At Pirriwee Public School, petty jealousies and rumors all come to the surface in one “perfect storm”—otherwise known as the annual trivia night.
Amid a large cast of kindergarten parents, Moriarty focuses on three women: Madeline, not pleased she’s turning 40; Celeste, a raving beauty whose husband is obscenely wealthy; and newcomer Jane, a young single mom who just recently moved to the pristine beachside community of Pirriwee.
Madeline and her husband Ed have a daughter, Chloe, in kindergarten, and a 7-year-old son, as well as a 14-year-old daughter, Abigail, from her first marriage. Her ex-husband and his young wife, a free-spirited yoga fanatic, have a daughter who will be in Chloe’s class at Pirriwee Public, much to Madeline’s dismay. When Madeline befriends Jane and introduces her to Celeste, whose twins are also entering kindergarten at Pirriwee, the three women and their children enter what Madeline describes as “a minefield” of school politics together—one they must start navigating on the very first day.
Over the six months preceding the school’s most eventful trivia night ever, Moriarty reveals some of those politics, as well as secrets harbored by each of these women—even as they become close friends. Bullying, infidelity and more enter the picture in surprising ways, reminding readers that everyone has secrets. 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.
RELATED CONTENT: Read a Q&A with Liane Moriarty about Big Little Lies.