Big Little Lies: A review

I finished Big Little Lies on Saturday. It’s been my random Kindle book for about six months now. What is a random Kindle book? I’m sure most people have them anymore – it’s a book I always have downloaded on my phone. If I’m stuck somewhere and only have my phone (and Twitter is slow or I don’t have reliable internet connection), I have a go-to book. When I finish a book and am not quite ready to start another one, the random Kindle book kills the time until I pick up the next one. Well, Big Little Lies has been it for awhile now. I started it last summer. I tried to read What Alice Forgot, another book by Liane Moriarty, and had to quit when I was only a fourth of the way through. I just did not like the author’s voice. I got the impression that Moriarty was trying very hard for a certain type of style and falling short. Vulture recently had a review of a new TBS show that was basically you’ll either really like it or really not like it. That’s how I feel about Moriarty. You’re either going to real like her type of writing or not at all. With Alice, I was firmly in the latter. But I still wanted to give Big Little Lies a try. It was a bestseller! All the celebrities were reading it! Reese Witherspoon was even making a movie out of it and in general I have liked her book recommendations. Yep, turns out, Moriarty’s style still really bugs me. I really did not like Big Little Lies. Why did I keep reading it? Because, in the very first chapter, they introduce a mystery: someone has been murdered. And both the murderer and the murdered are characters you’ve already met. And I was hooked. I had to know who did it to whom and how. It still took me six months – as soon as I navigated way from the Kindle app, I forgot about the book.

Every time I read it, Moriarty’s style was like nails on a chalkboard. Her characters were two dimensional and grating. And yet I had to know what happened! I caught myself Googling it several times but self-control won out and I finished the thing. And it was the worst type of a mystery – every chapter ended with a flash forward of characters being interviewed about the murder. Each chapter divulged new information, but just enough that it could still be anyone. We know the murdered person has a son! But well so do most of the characters… Etc. With every chapter I felt manipulated and annoyed. Last night, after reading a chapter of the Hamilton biography, I needed a mental break, so I turned on the Kindle. When I realized I only had 25% left, I plowed through.

And then I found out who the murderer and murdered were. It basically turned into an after school special – bad things happen to bad people so be good! It was terrible. And very anticlimactic. When the person died, I said out loud: Seriously? This is the big action scene the whole book has been building to? That’s it?

I can’t recommend this book, but apparently a lot of people liked it so who knows. My new random Kindle book is The Age of Innocence, which is reliably perfect. And I’m still chugging through the Hamilton biography… Next week I’ll get my air shipment and there are books in there!