HBO recently (back in 2017) released a TV series based on the book Big Little Lies. I had heard a lot of really good things about the show and it had an awesome cast so my husband and I started watching it on demand a couple months before the second season was released. After we watched the two seasons, I decided I wanted to read the book as well. Here is my review of the book and how it compares to the show.
Non-Spoiler Book Summary
Big Little Lies revolves around a group of women who live in the beach community of Pirriwee Peninsula in Australia. The main three women, Jane, Madeline, and Celeste, come from different backgrounds, but their lives become intertwined when their children end up in the same kindergarten class. The book follows the events that happen leading up to the schools trivia night fundraiser, which ends in death. In the end, you learn that these women have a far deeper connection than even they knew.
I’m not going to lie, I struggled with this one a bit at the beginning. I think that was due to the HBO series being so fresh in my mind still. I will say that HBO did an excellent job staying true to the book. There were maybe only a couple of changes, which didn’t affect the story, in my opinion.
Point of View
One of the major differences between the HBO series and the book is who is telling the story. In the HBO series, you are watching things happen as an outsider, however, in the book you are inside the character’s heads. I like the book better in this way because I think it helps better illustrate the theme of the story. It also makes these woman more relatable.
Another intriguing aspect of the book is the interview snip it’s littered throughout the chapters. It’s clear that someone is interviewing other parents who were at the trivia night and their points of view are…interesting. They are obviously eschew based on where their allegiances lie. You learn pretty quickly that no one has a clue what actually happened on Trivia Night except for our main few.
I could be off by a mile with this one, but the title, Big Little Lies, is essentially the theme of this story. As you get to know these women and their backstories, you start to piece together all the little lies floating around in their lives.
Celeste keeps lying to herself that Perry’s abuse will end, or if it doesn’t she will leave him the next time he hits her. Perry lies to the world with his picture perfect facade and Facebook posts.
Madeline is telling herself little lies to keep herself from having a melt down about turning 40 and her relationship issues with her teenage daughter.
Then there’s Jane. She’s was told little lies during a one night stand. Not only was she told little lies, but then she tells herself little lies while coping with the trauma of that one night stand. All of these lies, despite being little, have much bigger impacts in their lives than they think.
When I first watched the HBO Series, my mind was blown by the plot twist. From the beginning you are aware that someone is going to die at Trivia Night but you have no idea who or how. Liane does a great job of protecting this secret throughout the book while giving you clues that may or may not help you figure it out in advance. Liane also makes a point keep the audience aware of when events occur in reference to trivia night heightening the feeling of impending doom.
I really enjoyed the book once I got into it. There were little tidbits throughout the story that were not included in the HBO series that really brought everything together, especially at the end. Jane’s character grew a lot throughout the story which was very satisfying to read.
The idea of Big Little Lies is such a huge issue that I think a lot of us need to be aware of. Sometimes you don’t realize what a big impact that little lie can have. This book really made me reflect on my own life and the big little lies in it. I really love that when a book or movie makes you more aware in your own life. I would definitely give this book a 4/5 star rating.
Have you read Big Little Lies? I’d love to hear your feedback– drop a comment below!