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Big Little Lies
Cover of Big Little Lies
Big Little Lies
THE #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

NOW AN EMMY-NOMINATED HBO® LIMITED SERIES STARRING REESE WITHERSPOON, NICOLE KIDMAN, SHAILENE WOODLEY, ALEXANDER SKARSGÅRD, LAURA DERN, ADAM SCOTT, AND ZOË KRAVITZ FROM THE DIRECTOR OF WILD AND DALLAS BUYERS CLUB, JEAN-MARC VALLÉE, AND WRITER DAVID E. KELLEY

From the author of Truly Madly Guilty and The Husband's Secret comes a novel about the dangerous little lies we tell ourselves just to survive.
A murder...A tragic accident...Or just parents behaving badly? What's indisputable is that someone is dead.
Madeline is a force to be reckoned with. She's funny, biting, and passionate; she remembers everything and forgives no one. Celeste is the kind of beautiful woman who makes the world stop and stare but she is paying a price for the illusion of perfection. New to town, single mom Jane is so young that another mother mistakes her for a nanny. She comes with a mysterious past and a sadness beyond her years. These three women are at different crossroads, but they will all wind up in the same shocking place.
Big Little Lies is a brilliant take on ex-husbands and second wives, mothers and daughters, schoolyard scandal, and the little lies that can turn lethal.
THE #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

NOW AN EMMY-NOMINATED HBO® LIMITED SERIES STARRING REESE WITHERSPOON, NICOLE KIDMAN, SHAILENE WOODLEY, ALEXANDER SKARSGÅRD, LAURA DERN, ADAM SCOTT, AND ZOË KRAVITZ FROM THE DIRECTOR OF WILD AND DALLAS BUYERS CLUB, JEAN-MARC VALLÉE, AND WRITER DAVID E. KELLEY

From the author of Truly Madly Guilty and The Husband's Secret comes a novel about the dangerous little lies we tell ourselves just to survive.
A murder...A tragic accident...Or just parents behaving badly? What's indisputable is that someone is dead.
Madeline is a force to be reckoned with. She's funny, biting, and passionate; she remembers everything and forgives no one. Celeste is the kind of beautiful woman who makes the world stop and stare but she is paying a price for the illusion of perfection. New to town, single mom Jane is so young that another mother mistakes her for a nanny. She comes with a mysterious past and a sadness beyond her years. These three women are at different crossroads, but they will all wind up in the same shocking place.
Big Little Lies is a brilliant take on ex-husbands and second wives, mothers and daughters, schoolyard scandal, and the little lies that can turn lethal.
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Excerpts-
  • From the book ***This excerpt is from an advance uncorrected proof***

    Copyright © 2014 by Liane Moriarty

    Chapter 1

    "That doesn't sound like a school trivia night," said Mrs. Patty

    Ponder to Marie Antoinette. "That sounds like a riot."

    The cat didn't respond. She was dozing on the couch and found school trivia nights to be trivial.

    "Not interested, eh? Let them eat cake! Is that what you're thinking? They do eat a lot of cake, don't they? All those cake stalls. Goodness me. Although I don't think any of the mothers ever actually eat them. They're all so sleek and skinny, aren't they? Like you."

    Marie Antoinette sneered at the compliment. The "let them eat cake" thing had grown old a long time ago, and she'd recently heard one of Mrs. Ponder's grandchildren say it was meant to be "let them eat brioche" and also that Marie Antoinette never said it in the first place.

    Mrs. Ponder picked up her television remote and turned down the volume onDancing with the Stars. She'd turned it up loud earlier because of the sound of the heavy rain, but the rain had eased now.

    She could hear people shouting. Angry hollers crashed through the quiet, cold night air. It was somehow hurtful for Mrs. Ponder to hear, as if all that rage were directed at her. (Mrs. Ponder had grown up with an angry mother.)

    "Goodness me. Do you think they're arguing over the capital of Guatemala? Do you know the capital of Guatemala? No? I don't either. We should Google it. Don't sneer at me."

    Marie Antoinette sniffed.

    "Let's go see what's going on," said Mrs. Ponder briskly. She was feeling nervous and therefore behaving briskly in front of the cat, the same way she'd once done with her children when her husband was away and there were strange noises in the night.

    Mrs. Ponder heaved herself up with the help of her walker. Marie Antoinette slid her slippery body comfortingly in between Mrs. Ponder's legs (she wasn't falling for the brisk act) as she pushed the walker down the hallway to the back of the house.

    Her sewing room looked straight out onto the school yard of Pirriwee Public.

    "Mum, are you mad? You can't live this close to a primary school," her daughter had said when she was first looking at buying the house.

    But Mrs. Ponder loved to hear the crazy babble of children's voices at intervals throughout the day, and she no longer drove, so she couldn't care less that the street was jammed with those giant, truck-like cars they all drove these days, with women in big sunglasses leaning across their steering wheels to call out terribly urgent information about Harriett's ballet and Charlie's speech therapy.

    Mothers took their mothering so seriously now. Their frantic little faces. Their busy little bottoms strutting into the school in their tight gym gear. Ponytails swinging. Eyes fixed on the mobile phones held in the palms of their hands like compasses. It made Mrs. Ponder laugh. Fondly, though. Her three daughters were exactly the same. And they were all so pretty.

    "How are you this morning?" she always called out if she was on the front porch with a cup of tea or watering the front garden as they went by.

    "Busy, Mrs. Ponder! Frantic!" they always called back, trotting along, yanking their children's arms. They were pleasant and friendly and just a touch condescending because they couldn't help it. She was so old! They were so busy!

    The fathers, and there were more and more of them doing the school run these days, were different. They rarely hurried, strolling past with a measured casualness. No big deal. All under control. That was the message. Mrs. Ponder chuckled fondly at them...

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from October 27, 2014
    An idyllic Australian seaside town is the setting for this frank and revealing story of domestic abuse, bullying, and infidelity centering on the lives of three wonderful women, acquainted through their young children. Reader Lee aptly portrays Madeline as the voice of reason amid schoolyard gossipers and rumormongers. Voiced as straight-talking, feisty, and loud, Madeline is struggling with her other daughter, a defiant teenager, a derelict ex-husband, and his new bohemian wife. Beautiful, distracted Celeste and her hedge fund husband have material riches, adorable twin boys, and a vile, toxic marriage. Celeste’s quiet, hesitant voice conveys the weight of her “secret shame.” Single mother Jane’s youth and vulnerability are palpable: “All around her was rich, vibrant color; she was the only colorless thing.” Controlling, alpha moms—“blond bobs”—provide comic relief to this cautionary tale of parents behaving badly. Lee’s lovely Australian accent is delightfully expressive; she skillfully balances a range of voices, thoughts, temperaments, and colloquialisms (“G’day, mate”) as characters wrestle with secrets, lies, power, violence, trust, and truth. A Putnam hardcover.

  • Kirkus

    Starred review from July 1, 2014
    After last year's best-selling The Husband's Secret, Australian Moriarty brings the edginess of her less-known The Hypnotist's Love Story (2012) to bear in this darkly comic mystery surrounding a disastrous parents' night at an elementary school fundraiser.Thanks to strong cocktails and a lack of appetizers, Pirriwee Public's Trivia Night turns ugly when sloshed parents in Audrey Hepburn and Elvis costumes start fights at the main entrance. To make matters worse, out on the balcony where a smaller group of parents have gathered, someone falls over the railing and dies. Was it an accident or murder? Who is the victim? And who, if anyone, is the murderer? Backtrack six months as the cast of potential victims and perps meet at kindergarten orientation and begin alliances and rivalries within the framework of domestic comedy-drama. There's Chloe's opinionated, strong-willed mom, Madeline, a charmingly imperfect Everywoman. Happily married to second husband Ed, Madeline is deeply hurt that her older daughter wants to move in with her ex-husband and his much younger, New-Age-y second wife; even worse, the couple's waifish daughter, Skye, will be in Chloe's kindergarten class. Madeline's best friend is Celeste, mother of twins Max and Josh. It's hard for Madeline and the other moms not to envy Celeste. She's slim, rich and beautiful, and her marriage to hedge fund manager Perry seems too perfect to be true; it is. Celeste and Madeline befriend young single mother Jane, who has moved to the coast town with her son, Ziggy, the product of a one-night stand gone horribly wrong. After sweet-natured Ziggy is accused of bullying, the parents divide into defenders and accusers. Tensions mount among the mothers' cliques and within individual marriages until they boil over on the balcony. Despite a Greek chorus of parents and faculty sharing frequently contradictory impressions, the truth remains tantalizingly difficult to sort out.Deservedly popular Moriarty invigorates the tired social-issue formula of women's fiction through wit, good humor, sharp insight into human nature and addictive storytelling.

    COPYRIGHT(2014) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Library Journal

    February 1, 2014

    What's worse than a terrible riot at Pirriwee Public's annual school Trivia Night that leaves one parent dead? The sneaking suspicion that the death was actually murder. All of which gives top-spot New York Times best-selling author Moriarty (The Husband's Secret) a chance to visit issues of parenting, divorce, and shattered families in shuttered suburbia.

    Copyright 2014 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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Liane Moriarty
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