28 September 2014

Book Review: Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

"She could hear men and women shouting. Angry hollers crashed through the soft humid salty summer night. It was somehow hurtful for Mrs Ponder to hear, as if all that rage was directed at her . . . then she heard the wail of a siren in the distance, at the same time as a woman still inside the building began to scream and scream . . .

When a harmless quiz night ends with an act of shocking violence, the parents of Pirriwee Public School can't seem to stop their secrets from finally spilling out. Rumours ripple through the small town, as truth and lies blur to muddy the story of what really happened on that fateful night."

Rating: 5/5

You can buy Little Lies as a hardback or an eBook now.

Liane Moriarty is one of the authors that I have heard bloggers raving about for a few years now. For some reason, I've never gotten around to reading any of her books, but I'm not sure why. I was sent a review copy of Little Lies a few months ago, and finally decided to give it a go a few weeks ago when I was choosing my next read. I am really pleased that I did because it was a really gripping, very well written read that had me utterly absorbed for it's rather lengthy duration. It's set in Australia, being that Liane Moriarty is an Australian author, but I guess it's a plot that could happen anywhere - and I was gripped. Here's why.

Jane is a newcomer at the local school, her four year old son Ziggy is about to join the class of children beginning school for the first time. Jane doesn't really have any new friends in the town, given that she and Ziggy move around a lot, and she is keen to be accepted in her new home. When one of the mums, Madeline, befriends her, Jane wonders if they can finally settle down. But as things at the school take a more sinister twist, Jane is left wondering how she is going to be able to cope with the rumours. When a tragedy occurs at a school fundraising night, no-one seems to be able to get to the bottom of what happened on that tragic night.

This is a tricky book to review because I really don't want to give anything about the story away, because for me that is what made it so compulsive to read. You don't really get a lot from the blurb, and I enjoyed the story unravelling slowly as I read it, keen to find out what was going to happen and the backstory of these characters too. For me, it was definitely the characters that made this book so readable. I'm sure a lot of mums who do the school drop-off and pick-up will be able to pigeon-hole other mums into the groups that Jane finds these women to be in at Ziggy's school.

Jane is the lead character of this book, and I really liked her - in fact, I could relate to her a lot. She's very shy, awkward and is unsure of herself when she wants to befriend the other more confident mothers at the school. She is very likeable though, not fixated on image or money or anything, just on being a good mother to her son. Her past is revealed slowly as the book progresses, and goes a long way to explaining why she is as she is in the story. The other characters are brilliant too. My other favourite was strong, feisty Madeline, who befriends Jane on their children's first day. Madeline wasn't sucked in by the cliques of the playground, keen to stand up for what is right, and we see a lot of this in her in the book. Other mums include quiet and mysterious Celeste who is hiding her own dark secrets, opinionated and bitchy queen bee Renata, and their other halves made appearances too.

The writing in this book was really good, and there were points where I really didn't want to put the book down. I was so keen to find out what was going to happen next, or if any truths or lies were about to be revealed - there was something really compulsive about this book. The book begins at the school trivia night, and the rest of the book is leading up to this point, from the children's first day at school to what happens as they go on. The school trivia night events don't happen until right near the end of the book, you're left desperate for it to reach this point so you can finally find out what happened, and that's what is so addictive about this read for me. I found the book incredibly easy to read, with witty dialogue, enough description to bring it alive in your mind but it doesn't allow itself to be bogged down in it either.

For me, this might be my first of Liane Moriarty's books, but it certainly will not be my last. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and was surprised by how hooked I became on the story. I felt a plethora of emotions throughout this book, from shock, to happiness, to anger and indignation. I love a book that is able to evoke emotion as I read, and this book certainly delivers on that. I loved everything about this book, from the intriguing plot to the characters and the writing. I drew my own conclusions as the book went on - one of them was correct but the other I hadn't seen coming at all, and I loved that. This was a stunning novel, one that is definitely going on my keeper's shelf, and I can't wait to read more from Liane Moriarty.

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