Here’s an interesting paradox — I love to read, but it’s hard for me to find a novel that I really like. Maybe because I’m a writer myself, it’s easy for me to be bothered by little things things I don’t like about a book.Even in books I enjoy enough to finish, there is usually something that aggravates me and/or makes me roll my eyes. (see: anything by Jodi Piccoult)
So I was delighted to start reading Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty and immediately really like it. I don’t have too many stay-up-late-because-I-can’t-put-it-down books (although both Before I Go to Sleep by S.J. Watson and Dark Places by Gillian Flynn fell into that category) but Big Little Lies (at times) was one of them.
The book description begins,
“A murder… . . . a tragic accident… . . . or just parents behaving badly? What’s indisputable is that someone is dead. But who did what?”
Between that description and a quote on the front cover from Stephen King, describing the book as “Funny and scary,” it would be easy to get the idea that this is more of a crime novel than it actually is. Others have described it as both “Chick Lit” and “like watching an episode of Desperate Housewives,” so if you’re looking for something like Agatha Christie or Scott Turow, this isn’t it.
However, there is a murder, and what’s clever is that we don’t know any of the details, or even who was murdered: We just know that there was some of incident at the parents’ fundraiser at the local elementary school. Then the book goes back to six months before that night to tell the story, interspersed with brief (and somewhat amusing) quotes from various people during the investigation.
I did not figure out myself who it was or what happened — although, to be fair, I rarely do figure endings and plot twists in novels, so maybe someone else could have seen it coming a mile away.
The one thing I did not particularly enjoy was the subplot with the teenage daughter’s inappropriate website. It didn’t seem to fit, I found the girl very annoying, and it made the book longer than I felt it needed to be. (The book was definitely longer than it needed to me.)
Now I have to find something new to read!