Big Little Lies begins with a murder during a parents' trivia night at Pirriwee Public School, although the victim is not identified. After a short prologue, the book rewinds to six months before and unravels the mystery. It focuses on three women living in the Pirriwee Peninsula, where their children attend kindergarten together: Madeline, who has just turned forty, rolls her ankle in her new stilettos while telling off a teen driver who texts and drives; Celeste, a beautiful woman who lives with her wealthy husband and her twins sons, and hides a devastating secret; and Jane, a twenty-four-year-old mother who is so young that she is mistaken as a nanny. The book revolves around kindergarten politics, especially as Jane's son Ziggy is ostracized on the first day of school for an act of bullying he claims he didn't commit.
I loved when the book returned to Madeline's sections. She's described as "funny biting, and passionate; she remembers everything and forgives no one." She lives with her second husband Ed, and their two children Fred and Chloe. Her teenage daughter Abigail lives part-time with Madeline and Ed, and part-time with Madeline's ex-husband Nathan and his yogi wife Bonnie. Lately, Abigail is finding more to like at her father's house, and spends less and less time at home. Making matters worse for Madeline is the fact that Chloe is the same age as Skye, Nathan and Bonnie's daughter, meaning she not only has to live in the same suburb as her ex-husband, but that their children must attend the same school. When Abigail volunteers at a homeless shelter on Christmas Day with Bonnie and Nathan, Madeline can't quite believe it: "She's never peeled a freaking potato in her life," muttered Madeline as she texted back: "That's wonderful, darling. Merry XMAS to you too, see you soon, xxx!" She can't understand how Nathan's new wife is more appealing to Abigail than she is.
Both Jane and Celeste have slow-to-reveal secrets and stories, and are more connected to both the murder and the mystery.
I read Big Little Lies in almost one sitting. Moriarty elevates the ordinary, and makes the daily lives of Madeline, Jane, and Celeste must-read material. The screen rights have already been optioned by Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon. Moriarty continues to write outstanding stories, and luckily I haven't picked up The Husband's Secret yet, so I still have more of her writing to binge read over Christmas.