Beth's Book Review

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

c9d2ff4b1f930606f53e_Big_Little_Lies.jpg
c9d2ff4b1f930606f53e_Big_Little_Lies.jpg

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty (G.P. Putnam's Sons, 2014)

 

Liane Moriarty is a great story teller and Big Little Lies is one of those engaging books that the reader doesn't want to end because it is such a riveting read. Although written in 2014, Moriarty's novel has been adapted recently for television by HBO. First aired in February 2017 the mini-series features Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon, Alexander Skarsgard, Adam Scott, Laura Dern, Shailene Woodley, and Zoe Kravitz, an impressive cast.

Set by the seaside in Pirriwee, Australia, Big Little Lies is centered around the stories of three women, Madeline, Celeste, and Jane, whose lives intertwine when their children all attend kindergarten at Pirriwee Public, the local elementary school. An unfortunate incident that happens at the orientation for kindergarten begins the connection between the three protagonists.

Sign Up for E-News

Jane, the single mother of an imaginative five year old named Ziggy, has come to Pirriwee to create a life for herself and her son, who is the result of an unfortunate one night stand when Jane was only 19. The ramifications of the night when Ziggy was conceived are so disturbing that they have kept Jane emotionally paralyzed even in the present. Mother of a teenage daughter, Abigail, as well as a five year old daughter from her second marriage, Madeline befriends Jane early in the story. Madeline is struggling with the fact that her ex-husband, Nathan, has settled in town with his second wife, Bonnie, and their child who attends the same class with Madeline's little girl. Madeline has difficulty coping with the close proximity of the husband who abandoned her and his new wife. Finally, there is Celeste, a gorgeous, leggy lady, with a seemingly perfect life, twin boys, handsome husband, lots of money, and a ferociously dark, ugly secret about what goes on inside her palatial home.

The plot of Big Little Lies is skillfully woven. There has been a murder, which is revealed early in the novel. Each chapter moves the characters through the events leading up to Trivia Night, a big fund-raiser/party at which the climatic moment occurs, but tacked on to the end of each chapter are statements by those who witnessed or are investigating what happened that night. The effect of this literary technique is to heighten the suspense as the story moves forward.

The seed for Moriarty's novel came when she heard a radio interview in which a woman revealed her tainted childhood. Her parents' abusive relationship often spurred her to hide under her bed to escape the terror that was going on in the home. The theme of domestic abuse, in all its ugliness, becomes a focal point for more than one of the main characters. Moriarty ties the impact of witnessing violence in the home to incidences of bullying by children who experience such horror in the place that is supposed to be their safe havens.

By linking domestic abuse to bullying behaviors, Moriarty helps us understand how to cope with the violent world in which too many women and children live today. Late in the novel Madeline comes to this realization: “It occurred to her that there were so many levels of evil in the world. Small evils like her own malicious words. Like not inviting a child to a party. Bigger evils like walking out on your wife and newborn baby or sleeping with your child's nanny. And then there was the sort of evil of which Madeline had no experience: cruelty in hotel rooms and violence in suburban homes and little girls being sold like merchandise, shattering innocent hearts.” (p.411)

What Madeline and her friends come to understand is that by standing up for what is right, by confronting evil, and by taking responsibility for one's actions, evil can be combated and effectively denied.

Although set half-way around the world from America, Big Little Lies is universal in its depiction of contemporary life. There are secondary characters, like the “Blonde Bobs,” whom we all recognize as catty women with superior attitudes who thrive on gossip and the misery of others. There are delightful characters as well, like Tom the local barista, who owns the local coffee shop Blues Blues, a haven for those in need of a homey, quiet space in which to relax. Even Abigail, Madeline's fourteen year old daughter, develops a social conscience and comes up with a unique plan to raise money for young girls who are held as sex slaves in third world countries.

If you are a fan of the novels of Jodi Picoult, you will enjoy Moriarty. There are similarities in the topics that these contemporary writers use to reflect on the world in which we live.

 

Beth Moroney, former English teacher and administrator in the Edison Public School District, specialized in teaching Creative Writing and Journalism. Recently Moroney published Significant Anniversaries of Holocaust/Genocide Education and Human/Civil Rights, available through the New Jersey Commission on the Holocaust. A passionate reader, Moroney is known for recommending literature to students, teachers, parents, and the general public for over forty years. Moroney can be contacted at trackdak19@hotmail.com.

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of TAPinto.net or anyone who works for TAPinto.net. TAPinto.net is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Warren

Dog Found Still Being Held at Shelter

January 15, 2018

A dog that was found on Jan. 9 is still being held at the Newark Animal Shelter because no owner has claimed him. 

Roselle Police said the dog was found in the area of the Roselle side of Warinanco Park. The dog has a distinct blue eye and brown eye. Police also said the animal was checked and had no chip or tags. 

The Newark Animal Shelter has ...

Somerset County 4-H Trainmasters Annual Winter Show Set

January 21, 2018

BRIDGEWATER, NJ - The Somerset County 4-H Trainmasters annual Winter Train show at the Ted Blum 4-H Center, on Milltown Road, is being held Jan. 27 and 28, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days.

Admission is $4 for adults and $2 for children under 12 years old. Children under the age of 2 years old are free. Admission pays for entry to all areas of the show. The ...

SCVTHS Holds First Ever Alumni Homecoming Event

BRIDGEWATER – On Jan. 3, SCVTHS held its first ever Alumni Homecoming event. 

More than 60 alumni, including one graduate from 1972, attended the event. Thanks to generous donations from the school’s career and technical programs and their partners, many of the alumni left the event with door prizes. 

SCVTHS Administrator Mario Peluso who chaired the organization ...

Obituaries

South Plainfield – Joanne Gallo, 68, of Palm Beach Gardens, FL and Warren, NJ, passed away ...
Read more

WHRHS Wrestling: Watchung Hills Warriors Roll Past Governor Livingston Highlanders To Remain Unbeaten in Season

January 20, 2018

BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ-  The Watchung Hills High School Warriors came into the action Friday night with an unbeaten record as a team and looked to continue building on their start to the 2017-18 season. The Warriors (ranked No. 13 on NJ.com’s Top 20) got four pins as they defeated the Highlanders by a final score of 62-13 in Berkeley Heights.

Four wrestlers, three Warriors and ...

Schools Call Delayed Opening in Warren, Watchung Hills District: Watch for Black Ice and Downed Trees

WARREN, NJ - Warren Township, Green Brook, Long Hill, Watchung, and Watchung Hills Regional High School have all made the call to have a delayed opening Wednesday, due to inclement weather and poor road conditions. Conditions will be reassessed at 6:30am. Any changes to the district's operating status will be communicated by 7am.

In Warren, the schedule is as ...

Adele DeLeeuw Scholarship Open to Area Students, Applications Now Available

PLAINFIELD, NJ - Adele DeLeeuw had been a prominent Plainfield resident, and had established a scholarship fund to assist needy students in the Plainfield area for their pursuit of post-secondary education.  High school seniors wishing to apply for the 2018 Adele DeLeeuw Scholarship can now obtain applications from their school guidance office. 

The scholarships range from $1,000 to ...

High School Senior Dies; Counselors at ALJ Providing Support to Classmates

CLARK, NJ – Students at Arthur L. Johnson High School are mourning a classmate who died Monday evening. 

“I am writing to you with great sadness that one of our ALJ seniors passed away this evening. Our deepest sympathies go out to her family and friends,” school Superintendent Ed Grande wrote in a letter to parents Monday night.

The ...

Online Retailer Amazon Rejects Somerville as Potential Location for Massive “HQ2”

January 21, 2018

SOMERVILLE, NJ – Amazon released its short list of  20 potential sites to build a massive east coast headquarters Thursday, disappointing more than 200 other cities and smaller towns that had salivated over the prospect of 50,000 new jobs and billions of dollars in associated economic benefits – including Somerville.

The 20 finalists include the city of Newark; a total of 238 ...

Bound Brook Fire Victim Identified

SOMERVILLE, NJ – The Somerset County Prosecutor's Office has identified the body of a woman found inside a multi-family residence gutted by a Jan. 7 fire as 25-year-old Litze Romero.

The positive identification was made by the New Jersey Regional Medical Examiner's Office, according to Somerset County Prosecutor Michael H. Robertson.

The fire occurred at the victim’s ...

Beloved Youth Services Librarian Leaves SCLSNJ

BRIDGEWATER, NJ - After 25 years as a librarian in the Somerset County Library System, at the Bridgewater branch, youth services librarian Carol Simon Levin submitted her retirement papers in January.

News of her leaving the library system caused uproar from parents and library system employees who have benefited from her services over the years, and several turned out to the county ...

Franklin Township Clerk Arrested and Charged with Insurance Fraud (UPDATE)

HILLSBOROUGH, NJ - Franklin Township Clerk Ann Marie McCarthy was arrested and charged last month, for deceiving Horizon Blue Cross for payments of services for which she did not receive, according to court documents. 

Between Jan. 1, 2016 and Sept. 1, 2017, McCarthy made it appear as though she received treatment and services eligible for insurance coverage reimbursement "in an ...

Police Officer in Kayak Assists in Rescue of Man from Shark River Inlet

January 16, 2018

AVON-BY-THE-SEA, NJ — Belmar Patrolman Lawrence Kelly played a major role in the rescue of a 59-year-old man this morning, January 16, from the Shark River Inlet, according to police.

Belmar Police and Belmar Water Rescue Team were among local responders answering an emergency call at 8:55 a.m. of a man in the frigid waters near the Main Street bridge, said Belmar Detective Capt. Thomas ...

Dog Found Still Being Held at Shelter

January 15, 2018

A dog that was found on Jan. 9 is still being held at the Newark Animal Shelter because no owner has claimed him. 

Roselle Police said the dog was found in the area of the Roselle side of Warinanco Park. The dog has a distinct blue eye and brown eye. Police also said the animal was checked and had no chip or tags. 

The Newark Animal Shelter has ...

The Role of Meal Replacements in Weight Loss

January 15, 2018

Obesity is at epidemic proportions in the United States and in other developed and developing countries. The prevalence of obesity is increasing not only in adults, but also in children and adolescents. We all know that obesity is a significant risk factor for various chronic illnesses, most importantly heart disease and diabetes, but also cancer and osteoarthritis, liver and kidney disease, ...

Get Off the Couch. Walk the Dog. Live Longer.

“Sitting is the new smoking”. This is the new mantra in cardiology and global population health. Sitting, or a sedentary lifestyle, has long been known as a risk factor for the development of heart disease. Excessive sitting is also associated with a higher mortality rate. Is sitting really as bad as smoking for your health? Why is sitting so detrimental? What strategies can combat a ...