I was delighted to receive Big Little Lies as part of a wonderful gift from a brilliant Santa as part of The Reddit Gifts Book Exchange. I love taking part in these exchanges – I love the thrill of carefully finding something you think your randomly assigned giftee would like and hopefully seeing how much they enjoyed receiving that gift. Of course, there’s the receiving part too, I’ve received some lovely gifts in the exchanges I’ve taken part in – The inexhaustible generosity and kindness of wonderful strangers will never cease to amaze me. The selection of books I got from the 2017 Reddit Gifts Book Exchange were definitely some of the best gifts I have received in all of the exchanges I’ve done. The wonderful Santa went to great lengths to find books that matched and pushed my favourite genres. I’ve committed to reading each and every one (there were seven!).
The first book that I hungrily consumed – Big Little Lies.
Big Little Lies has had some buzz about it lately – having just been made into a HBO mini-series. The plot centres around a group of parents in Australia whose children are all just about to start at the local Kindergarden – and the trials and drama that comes with this. Of course, there’s also Murder. What good mystery isn’t centered around a good ol’ murder?
As someone without children, I was worried about how I would relate to these parental woes. However, I found their problems, often humorous, were very relatable and the characters, for all their quirks, were very enjoyable to read about. The first thing you find out is that someone has died and they are treating as murder, though interestingly the ‘who died’ is as much of a mystery as the ‘who did it’. I enjoyed the way the book progressed and the format. You first see the world through the eyes of the main characters – the action as it happened. Then you read the words of the minor characters who live in the world around these people – and their understanding of events – usually what they’ve heard through gossip or rumour. It’s interesting to see how their perception is often far from the reality.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. Despite the situation being something I have no experience with, I found the characters easy to relate to and enjoyed following their stories.
The thing I love about this book is that it’s ultimately a very powerful story about domestic abuse. The extent of which the story is about the domestic abuse isn’t something that is fully revealed until the end. Celeste’s compelling story on the abuse is something that really grows with her and ultimately you. As she begins to reveal to you what is happening to her – it’s shared as a small thing with all these justifications as to why things are ‘okay’. Then as it progresses, you begin to see the stark reality and seriousness of the situation. It is her story line, and actions of Perry that eventually bring everything full circle.