Thursday, April 2, 2015

Big Little Lies


Goodreads.com
Big Little Lies follows three women, each at a crossroads:

Madeline is a force to be reckoned with. She’s funny and biting, passionate, she remembers everything and forgives no one. Her ex-husband and his yogi new wife have moved into her beloved beachside community, and their daughter is in the same kindergarten class as Madeline’s youngest (how is this possible?). And to top it all off, Madeline’s teenage daughter seems to be choosing Madeline’s ex-husband over her. (How. Is. This. Possible?).

Celeste is the kind of beautiful woman who makes the world stop and stare. While she may seem a bit flustered at times, who wouldn’t be, with those rambunctious twin boys? Now that the boys are starting school, Celeste and her husband look set to become the king and queen of the school parent body. But royalty often comes at a price, and Celeste is grappling with how much more she is willing to pay.

New to town, single mom Jane is so young that another mother mistakes her for the nanny. Jane is sad beyond her years and harbors secret doubts about her son. But why? While Madeline and Celeste soon take Jane under their wing, none of them realizes how the arrival of Jane and her inscrutable little boy will affect them all.
 

Big Little Lies is a brilliant take on ex-husbands and second wives, mothers and daughters, schoolyard scandal, and the dangerous little lies we tell ourselves just to survive.


MY RATING

5 STARS !!!!! 

I listened to Big Little Lies through the Audible app. Little Monkey and I have been enjoying the sun and walking more and audio books are perfect for me to unwind! This was my first Loraine Moriarty book and now I'm her newest fan. Narrated by Australia performer Caroline Lee, all the characters came to life! There were lots of twists and turns, I fell in love with each female character and their stories, such a great read!  

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS


1. There is a lot of discussion about women and their looks.  On the beach Jane’s mom shows that she has rather poor body image. Jane observes that women over 40 are constantly talking about their age.  And Madeline says, "She didn’t want to admit, even to herself, just how much the aging of her face really did genuinely depress her. She wanted to be above such superficial concerns. She wanted to be depressed about the state of the world…." [p. 82] Do you think this obsession with looks is specific to women, particularly women of a certain age?   Why or why not?

I'm not sure that an obsession with looks correlates with a certain age. Every woman or girl goes through a time her in life when she questions her beauty. Hopefully she sees the beauty in herself and at a young age. How we are treated by others, especially men and mean girls can change how what we see in the mirror, but I don't think that has anything to do with age. 

2. There are a lot of scenes in which the characters say they wish they could be violent: Jane says she wants to throw Ziggy into the wall when he has a tirade in the bathtub, that she would hit Renata if she was in front of her, and then she stops just short of kicking Harper. Do you think the author is trying to show the reader Perry’s side and have us sympathize with him? Or, rather, that feeling violent is a natural impulse but one that people learn to suppress?

I don't think Moriarty wanted any reader to sympathize with that jerk Perry, but I do think she was trying to show that when people are pushed into super stressful situations that can make choices they will later regret, such as physical violence. Jane and Renata were both going intense social situations and pressures when they were feeling so stressed that they wanted to release their anger through violence. I think we've all felt this way, I know I have plenty of times (not to hurt someone, but to hit a wall out of anger, sure...)  

3. The power of secrets is a theme throughout the novel. Jane remembers, "She hadn’t told anyone. She’d swallowed it whole and pretended it meant nothing, and therefore it had come to mean everything." [p. 220] Do you think this is a universal truth, that the more you keep something secret, the more power it takes on?

I have mixed feelings about this question. Apart of me wants to say yes, share all your secrets so that they don't eat at your day after day. But another side of me knows what it feels like to be embarrassed and ashamed, to not want to share because it isn't relevant to your life anymore. I've been in an emotionally abusive relationship and it isn't something I ever talk about because that chapter in my life is done, it's been written, I made peace with it, and it's been burned. Some secrets are meant to stay secret out of privacy and out of being at peace with a horrible situation.  


Have you read Big Little Lies? 
Would you pick a book about domestic violence such as this one?


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