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Goodreads⎮Reviewed Apr. 2018
Narrator: Caroline Lee
Length: 16 hours
Publisher: Penguin Audio⎮2014
Synopsis: Pirriwee Public’s annual school Trivia Night has ended in a shocking riot. One parent is dead. The school principal is horrified. As police investigate what appears to have been a tragic accident, signs begin to indicate that this devastating death might have been cold-blooded murder.
In this thought-provoking novel, number-one New York Times best-selling author Liane Moriarty deftly explores the reality of parenting and playground politics, ex-husbands and ex-wives, and fractured families. And in her pitch-perfect way, she shows us the truth about what really goes on behind closed suburban doors.
4★ Audiobook⎮ I turned to Big Little Lies after finishing and enjoying The Millionaire’s Wife by Shalini Boland. I was in the mood for another Suspense novel and decided to give Big Little Lies another go after having started it (and its HBO adaptation) several months before.
This time around was successful in that I was able to complete the audiobook, but I’m not sure I enjoyed it quite as much as The Millionaire’s Wife. Although, time may change how I remember this experience.
I enjoyed the Australian setting. I haven’t heard many stories set in Australia, so Big Little Lies was refreshing in that regard. With the possible exception of Jane, I can’t say that I was particularly endeared towards any of the characters. I found Madeleine Martha McKenzie especially irksome, but I think (or hope) that was by design.
Big Little Lies was well told and deeply unsettling. I would not recommend Big Little Lies to anyone sensitive to the subject of domestic violence, physical or emotional abuse, or bullying. Big Little Lies was deceptively invasive. I’m afraid I underestimated the impact it would have on me because I was not expecting to be so disturbed by this story. Moriarty distracts and disarms the listener with playground politics while slipping under their skin to find the right nerve to pinch.
I’m glad that I had seen a couple of episodes of the television series prior to really getting into this audiobook. I hadn’t seen enough to spoil my enjoyment of the book, just enough to give me clear mental images of the characters, which always enhances my enjoyment of any audiobook experience. From what I have seen so far, the television adaptation was pretty loyal to the spirit of Moriarty’s original work and the casting was fantastic. If you’re juggling in the book and TV show, be careful. Several plot twists are revealed towards the middle to end of the story.
Big Little Lies is a popular book club choice, but it would also make an excellent “Beach Read” (or listen) for anyone wanting something a little darker than typical “Women’s Fiction”.
Narration review: My initial reaction to Caroline Lee’s performance was “Australian accents are delightful!”. Her accent alone left me wanting more. Her tone was also pleasant and her pacing left nothing to be desired. Lee gave a continual vibe of “performing” rather than simply reading. Her characterization levels were above average, though not the best I’ve heard. Still, more than enough characterization was provided for distinction and overall ease-of-listening. ♣︎