My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I loved this book, it wasn’t quite what I expected and part of the joy of it was the “oh” moments when you discover more about the characters. It certainly was a lot deeper than I thought it would be. So the first part of this review will just cover the basic premise of the book and the second part of the review will go into more about what the book is actually about, although I won’t reveal who was killed and who did it. So if you want the same joy of discovery, stop reading at the mild spoilers part!
Little Lies tells the story of a trivia night at an Australian primary school, that goes horribly wrong with the death of an unnamed for most of the book parent. The story starts on the night in mention, with the events at the school told from the viewpoint of an elderly next door neighbour. I instantly fell in love with the book at this point because Moriarty does the internal monologues of all the different characters so well. I also liked how well Moriarty described the Sydney beach suburb, it was all very atmospheric and sounded like a lovely place to live, even if the mums at the school were all alarmingly cliquey.
The story then flashes back to just before the beginning of the new school year, at orientation for the prospective kindergarten kids, there’s a new mum in town, the young single mother Jane, who becomes friends with the loud mouth Madeline, when she rescues her off the side of the road. Madeline introduces Jane to her friend, the very rich and beautiful Celeste, who is also a new mum at the school and the three become close.
Things don’t go easily for Jane, as her son Ziggy is accused of choking another little child on orientation day and things go from bad to worse.
I was not really expecting the themes that ran through the book, of assault, domestic abuse and the challenges of parenting when your ex husband and father of your teenager lives in the same town. I thought Moriarty tackled the intricacies of domestic abuse extremely well, particularly how, to the people involved it doesn’t seem a black and white issue.
By the middle of the book I got so involved with the lives of the three women, that I could only listen (I read the book as an audiobook) for small doses at a time, it was just too intense. But as the flash back got closer again to the trivia night and then back to the night itself and certain things got revealed (when I had thought we’d had all the revelations, beside who died and who was involved), it got to a point where I could just not stop listening, desperate to know more. There was one ‘reveal’ that I had already guessed but everything else was pretty surprising.