Review of Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

Published: 7th May 2015
Pages: 480


Single mum Jane has just moved to town. She’s got her little boy in tow – plus the secret she’s been carrying for five years. On the first day of the school run she meets Madeline – a force to be reckoned with, who remembers everything and forgives no one – and Celeste, the kind of beautiful woman who makes the world stop and stare, but is inexplicably ill at ease. They both take Jane under their wing – while careful to keep their own secrets under wraps. But a minor incident involving the children of all three women rapidly escalates: playground whispers become spiteful rumours until no one can tell the truth from the lies. Which is when the secrets come out – and now someone is going to pay with their life…


The intriguing murder plot opens with an elderly lady near a local school wondering about all the night time racket – something has happened and I was instantly hooked to Liane’s captivating storyline. What had happened, who had done it and why were they covering it up? Madeline is forty years old, a mother to two animated children and someone who doesn’t like drivers who text whilst on the road; I loved her already. Jane is the newbie Mum to the playground, not having a clue about anything and I liked the fact that she felt like a familiar character despite not even moving to the community yet.

“This is not a circus. This is a murder investigation.”

The plot is based around the leading months up until the trivia night when the big murderous event took place. We hear mainly from the three leading ladies but I really liked that at the end of each chapter, we heard from a few others regarding their suspicions. Genius idea! The backgrounds of the three woman; Jane, Madeline and Celeste, were told in unbelievable great detail. With themes of domestic violence, ex husband problems and being a single parent – there was so much to focus on but Liane allowed the plot to come together neatly. I didn’t feel throw about within their lives, it was told with such charisma and confidence that it was hard not to enjoy all three narratives.

“All around get was colour: rich, vibrant colour. She was the only colourless thing in this whole house.”

When I purchased this book, I was told to expect several shocks. The first regarding Jane was brilliantly done and I truly had no idea. I think my exact words were “oh shit.” The second shock came from a group of women supporting each other, including one who I never expected to be known as a “girls girl.” It was superbly written and the entire lead up was just incredible. However, the aftermath of the big twist was a slight let down – I expected the tension to continue building until it felt like a slap in the face but instead, it felt like the characters who I’d grown to know, had fallen apart. Liane always writes with such confidence, ease and it’s easy to get lost in her wonderfully created world.

“It was easy after all those years of pretending. Celeste was a fine actress.”