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Friendship by the Book: Big Little Lies by Lianne Moriarity

Published: December 9, 2014 | Last Updated: May 15, 2023 By | 1 Reply Continue Reading

The novel Big Little Lies offers some keen insights into female friendships. 

Big Little Lies by Lianne Moriarity

Big Little Lies by Lianne Moriarity

If you’ve ever felt uncomfortable with the mean moms at your kid’s school or felt socially awkward as a single mother, you’ll especially resonate to the tale told by Liane Moriarty in Big Little Lies (Penguin Group, 2014) .

Set at seaside town near Sydney, Australia, Jane Chapman is a 24-year-old single mom who decides she needs a new lease on life. On a whim, she decides to rent an apartment in an affluent community near the beach for herself and her young son, Ziggy.

Jane is affable and soon makes friends in her new community but when Ziggy is accused of bullying another child in his kindergarten grade, the other moms start a petition to have him removed from the public school, and Jane becomes a persona non-grata.

The author writes that it had never had crossed Jane’s mind that “sending your child to school would be like going back to school yourself,” a feeling expressed by many moms on this blog.

As the story unfolds, the author introduces us to Jane’s friends, her frenemies and their families. Like Jane, many of them are living with “big little lies” they tell themselves until they can no longer contain their secrets—feelings that are so painful that they bury them or excuse them away. The author skilfully uses the technique of foreshadowing to help build suspense. At the end of the book, the reader finally learns about the tragedy that occured on the school’s Trivia Night.

The book’s themes extend beyond women’s friendship to bullying, the overemphasis on women’s looks, the demands of parenting, relationships with exes, and rape, domestic violence and romance.

I read this book because I had previously read The Husband’s Secret, another equally compelling and relatable read by the same author, which also weaves multiple personal stories that tie together at the end. Some dismiss Moriarity’s books as  “chick-lit” but they are well-written, entertaining, and deal with topics that are on the minds and hearts of women.

‘Friendship by the Book’ is an occasional series of posts on this blog about books that offer friendship lessons. To read other posts in the series, use the search function on the right side of the page.

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Category: Books & movies about friendship

Comments (1)

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  1. Shoppal says:

    Nice Stuff !!!
    really like the the following
    The book’s themes extend beyond women’s friendship to bullying, the overemphasis on women’s looks.

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