No matter how seemingly perfect a person’s life is, no one can ever tell what demons he or she is fighting within.
That is the premise of this lovely book which delves into analysing the complex social dynamics that form between parents who do a school-run.
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.
“All conflict can be traced back to someone’s feelings getting hurt, don’t you think?”
Celeste is the kind of woman that every other woman would love to hate. She is beautiful to a fault. She is also married to one of the richest men in the area and they live in one of the best homes. For an outsider, there’s nothing more that Celeste could ask for. But then what she has never told anybody is that she is also a battered wife. The little lies that she keeps telling herself has allowed her to stay on in the marriage even when the violence seems to be escalating.
Madeline is the epitome of a suburban mom with the glittering personality and the same glittering kids. She is always poised even though she’s fighting her own battles. She is specifically battling for the attention of her eldest child by her first marriage, Abigail. The youngster is infatuated with her father and his new wife. This leads her to make a series of decisions that inadvertently hurts her mother to the core.
“It’s because a woman’s entire self-worth rests on her looks,” said Jane. “That’s why. It’s because we live in a beauty-obsessed society where the most important thing a woman can do is make herself attractive to men.”
Jane, on the other hand, represents the quintessential single mother who needs to juggle everything all alone. An unfortunate event at the beginning of the story leads some of the troubles that Jane has to suffer through. She becomes the victim of the other mothers’ bullying mostly because she’s new to the area and she doesn’t fight back. It can also be safely assumed that Jane is judged according to the fact that she is unmarried and doesn’t drive a fancy car or hold a fancy job.
“It had never crossed her mind that sending your child to school would be like going back to school yourself.”
The lives of these three women intertwine from the moment they first meet each other. They become good friends; they help and protect each other without question.
I realised I am not quite the target audience for this book (working moms stressed about their children and their social lives). I haven’t seen the TV show either and I have been told it’s quite good.
Unfortunately for me the book was a bit of a let down due to the overkill in each woman’s wardrobe descriptions and over-the-top flashiness. The story – when I actually got to it – was run-of-the-mill suburban mystery of the type that happens behind closed doors. It was boring and a bit outdated.