Book Review: Liane Moriarty’s “Big Little Lies”
September 13, 2019
While searching for a novel that would satisfy both my desire to read mature literature, yet remain comprehensible for the fifteen- year-old I am, I came across the novel “Big Little Lies”. For those who are unfamiliar with the work of Liane Moriarty, “Big Little Lies” centers upon the lives of Madeline Mackenzie, Celeste Wright, and Jane Chapman. Madeline, strong-willed and zealous, is as likely to forgive as she is to forget— the probability is slight. Celeste, the essence of beauty, conceals her secrets behind a facade of perfection. And Jane, the youngest of the three mothers, desperately hopes to escape her haunting past. Until a schoolyard scandal threatens to penetrate their perilous web of lies.
As any sane person would conclude after reading the story’s synopsis, I was no longer asking, “should I purchase this novel?” but rather, “how quickly can I read the 486 pages?”
“Big Little Lies” was a refreshing relief from the same old, same old: the cliché and, at best, mediocre genre of (though I love it wholeheartedly) contemporary romance. At least for me. From witty satire to bone-chilling narratives, Moriarty’s writing captivated me until the final stroke of ink. Just when I thought I understood the progression of the plot, details of the story were introduced throwing me off course. With elements of suspense, friendship, and humor, “Big Little Lies” is sure to appeal to numerous audiences.
It was just so very surprising that the good-looking, worried man who had just offered her a cup of tea, and was right now working at his computer down the hallway, and who would come running if she called him, and who loved her with all of his strange heart, would in all probability one day kill her.”
— Liane Moriarty
Upon finishing the novel, I immediately cued HBO to stream the “Big Little Lies” television adaptation. To say that I couldn’t get enough of the miniseries would be an understatement. By the end of the summer, I had rewatched every episode a handful of times and could reproduce the warbling lyrics of Michael Kiwanuka’s, “Cold Little Heart” (the show’s theme song) from memory. It was a relief for my family when I was expected to return to school.
Though I typically prefer the novels to their screen adaptations, I cannot deny scriptwriter, David E. Kelley’s ability to bring Moriarty’s work to life. Each element of the story was carefully crafted to draw audience members in by the thousands.
“I have not read the book, but I have watched the show. What I really like about ‘Big Little Lies’ is how it reflects on past stories and brings them into the present, and I really like the plot twists,” says Aspen Hunter (‘23).
And of course, I cannot forget the sensational performances of Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, Shailene Woodley, and Laura Dern who play Madeline, Celeste, Jane, and Renata respectively. A better cast could not have been picked.
“In the show, my favorite person is Renata Klein because she is so independent and willing to be a hard worker. I feel a personal connection to her just because of how crazy she is, and she is kind of obnoxious at times. I really like that,” says Katelyn Butler (‘22).
Whether you’d prefer to read the novel or binge the series on television, “Big Little Lies” cannot be missed.
Disclaimer: “Big Little Lies” contains dark themes and is intended for mature audiences.