Friday, June 24, 2016

Big Little Lies

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty is the story of a group of kindergarten parents whose seemingly petty schoolyard dramas hide deeper secrets that escalate into a criminal act. That's not exactly the kind of story that would normally attract me, but I was intrigued enough to give it a try after learning that Reese Witherspoon had optioned the rights and is making it into a miniseries starring herself and Nicole Kidman. Still, I was skeptical as I started the book. I had just come off a string of mediocre reads and, for the first hundred pages or so, it seemed like this might be another one. As the momentum began to build, though, I found myself more and more drawn in. This turned out to be a completely enjoyable book that left me thinking about it days after finishing.

My initial lack of interest in the book stems from its synopsis, which makes it sound like something campy and melodramatic. Instead, it's smartly written on many levels. Moriarty's characterization and dialogue is pitch perfect. She balances out the novel's darker plot points with many funny moments, as well as with scenes that offer spot-on commentary on various modern-day social issues and themes. Even better is the way the novel is structured. In most mysteries, the plot surrounding a crime leaves the reader trying to figure out who did it and what the motive was. Here, not only are those two questions unknown, but the actual details of crime itself it a big unknown until the end of the novel. Moriarty cleverly unravels this bit by bit throughout the book. There are a few surprise twists that I was able to guess, plus one final twist that I did not see coming at all. This is a perfect summer read that's thought-provoking in an entertaining way. I can easily imagine this translating onto screen and can't wait to see the miniseries adaptation.

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