Wednesday, September 03, 2014

First Wednesday Book Review Club


BIG LITTLE LIES is set in an Australian suburb and focuses on three women, all of whom have children at the same preschool and secrets of their own. Throughout the course of the novel each one's strengths and weaknesses impact the others. One's married to a businessman so wealthy she can write checks without concern--they have a handsome set of twins but perhaps there is a chink in their marriage. Another is a super mom who can’t prevent her teenage daughter from wanting to live with the Dad who deserted them and remarried a younger woman. How irksome this must be. The third is a single mother with challenges of her own.Her child has reached the age when questions will be asked.

It is the possible actions of her young son that sparks the narrative.

It is hard to convey why Moriarty's book keep you reading because in many ways they are middlebrow domestic novels and she deals in the same types from book to book. But she is able to infuse each of her novels with secrets, lies, and a page-turning style. The book grows dark so don't confuse it with some of the lighter fare written for women.There are several gut-wrenching story lines in here.

If I were to be critical, I think Morarty's books are too long and she is too comfortable with writing endlessly about comfortable upper middle-class women. Paring down some of the repetitive banter and coincidences would strengthen it for me. But a lot of people love a book you can sink in to and she understands this very well. I put down a lot of books for various reasons, but I finish hers.

For more book reviews, go to Barrie Summy's place. 



13 comments:

Margot Kinberg said...

Patti - Oh, this sounds interesting! Stories about how people's surfaces are different to what's really going on can be very compelling.

Charles Gramlich said...

Have to say that this sounds remarkably unappealing to me.

Anonymous said...

Glad I'm not the only one, Charles.

Jeff M.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Yes, it is women's fiction but it is hugely popular women's fiction. She is selling millions of copies of these books. And they are well written books--not anything like SHADES OF GRAY. But probably most men would not like them all that much. Although if you liked HOW TO BREATHE UNDER WATER, Jeff, you might like her last one THE HUSBAND'S SECRET. Phil did.

Kelly Robinson said...

Hmmm, I didn't think this sounded appealing at all until you said "dark," which might make me take a second look.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Oh, it's dark all right.

Anonymous said...

Thanks. Will look at it. Right now I'm reading LOCK IN by John Scalzi. Phil should check it out.


Jeff M.

Deb said...

I loved The Husband's Secret--it was one of my favorite books of last year. I have no problem with the middle-class milieu; I just wish her books weren't marketed as "chick lit," because--as you note--they contain some very dark themes.

Sarah Laurence said...

I've seen this book everywhere and was curious about it. Thanks for reviewing it, although doesn't quite sound like my type of book, although I love the cover.

Linda McLaughlin said...

It doesn't appeal to me, either, but I'm glad you found it engrossing.

Barrie said...

I read The Husband's Secret based on your review of it. I quite enjoyed it--not just for the various story lines and how they all fused together, which was very clever, but for the characterization. That's where Moriarty's strength lies, I think. I also liked all the little Australia-isms. Thanks, Patti!

Lucy said...

I recently started The Husband's secret (also based on your review of it). I'm really enjoying it so far so I wouldn't be opposed to trying another of her books. Thanks for the review.

Kathy D. said...

Very interesting post and discussion. I haven't read Moriarty's books, but I see them on the New York Times Bestseller lists all the time.

A review of this book at another blog interested me, but I must admit the endless stuff about middle-class lives would annoy me, too.

I may check this out if it's on the library's front shelf.