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 was not at all what I expected to be, for both good and bad reasons. After reading The Girl on The Train, I was itching to get my hands on another thriller. I had read so many great reviews about Big Little Lies, and I was also very excited to hear of the HBO adaptation that just happens to feature some really talented actors, I decided that this would be my next stop and I was not disappointed. When I was doing my research, I will admit it, I did come across some spoilers, so I knew exactly what was going to happen at the infamous “Game Night” we were all working our way towards… at least I thought I did. Usually when I know a lot of the plot details, the story can be more than a little underwhelming and unfortunately, for me, the first quarter of this book was just that, but not for the reason above. Let’s meet our players.
The story is centered around three women, who are seemingly very different: Madeline: the middle class spitfire, Celeste: the “women who has it all”, and Jane: the “plain Jane” single mother. Despite, their surface level differences, they make up a great trio. I really liked the dynamic between the three. I think that each of them were all exactly what the other two needed. They kind of balanced each other out.
Madeline was definitely a force to be reckoned with. She is strong, funny and crazy as hell. She is what I like to call a ride or die home girl. No matter what, she was always there when any of the girls needed her to be. I loved the relationship she had with her husband, Ed. The way they interacted with each other and their family unit was very real and authentic, it was hard not to love them. I feel so bad for the way her daughter treated her. I understand that teenagers go through “phases” but that child was a spoiled brat. Forgive me for being blunt, but I would have slapped her across the face with that attitude of hers. She did not understand how good she had it. I understand Madeline’s anger towards Nathan. Usually, I would have just wanted the bitch to move on and get over it, but what he did was so hurtful and Madeline was scarred by that experience. She has the right to be angry. I even understand why she was so resistant towards Bonnie, anyone in her situation would be. I still did feel sorry for Bonnie, all she wanted was to at least be friends with Madeline, seeing as their daughters were sisters, but again, I understand where Madeline was coming from.
Celeste’s story was just plain sad. The author did a great job depicting a relationship where domestic violence occurred. I have never been through anything like that myself so I don’t know what that is like, but I feel a lot of time, writers can get so caught up in the shock value of these situations, that they forget to make it real. You could feel Celeste’s pain and at times you could feel her trying to force herself to accept the situation. That being said, I feel like her story was the most boring. That might be bad to say, but I feel like her story did not get juicy until she started taking control and making her plans. That was when the suspense started to kick in, wondering if she was going to get caught and what would happen if she did.
I guess in a way, of the three girls, Jane would have been the “main” character. She is a young single mother who moves to the land of housewives and book clubs, and definitely sticks out like a sore thumb. Even though Madeline was my favorite character, Jane had the best story. There were so many secrets to uncover in her past and there was a lot she had to confront and I think finding Madeline and Celeste helped her do that. She finally talked about the horrible thing that happened and getting it off her chest was a big part of her development. It was nice watching her change from the person she was from the beginning, to the person she was at the end of the story. She didn’t become a whole new person but she grew and became a more confident person.
One thing I didn’t really like is the fact that the author did not do a very good job of showing the relationship between Jane and Celeste. Yes, Madeline was the glue that held the group together, but the two women did have a bond of their own and they would often mention how much they loved their time spent together. The author just didn’t show us very much of that time. We did go on runs a few times with Jane and Celeste, but it was mostly something that we heard about, rather than experienced. We always saw how strong the relationship between Maddie and Celeste and Maddie and Jane were, but it would have been nice to see that between Celeste and Jane.
Now on to game night. That was obviously the best part of the book, I just wished it had lasted longer! Sh*t hit the fan and EVERYONE’S scandal came out. It was so juicy! It wasn’t as satisfying as Tom corkscrew meet up, but when Perry slipped right over that balcony I. WAS.WEAK. It couldn’t have happened to a better man. After learning that he was an even bigger pig that we already knew he was, I couldn’t help but laugh off the thought of his abusive, perverted ass doing a somersault over the edge. The shocking part was who was responsible and the reason she did it. Before I read the story, I was under the impression that Jane has pushed him over the edge (literally) but turns out that it was someone that you would never expect. I won’t spoil that part, just in case any of you guys haven’t read it yet.
All and all I give is 4 out of 5 stars. Despite its slow beginning when it got rolling, it didn’t stop. There was a lot of drama and a lot of people to love and a lot of people to hate and that is always a good combination. After reading it, I am really excited for the HBO miniseries adaptation next year.