Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Birchbox Book Club September 2014 - Big Little Lies

I don't know about you, but I love curling up with a good book. Sometimes you just need to escape from your own life and problems and get caught up in someone else's. When Birchbox started a book club earlier this year I was understandably excited. While everyone seems to be addicted to binge watching TV on Netflix (and yeah, I'm guilty of that too) I think it's awesome that the company is supporting the idea that people should disconnect from the world of technology for a while and pick up a book. While I had been on a bit of a blog hiatus over the spring and summer I had missed out on their first few selections. Once I made my return, though, I was all in. I was even fortunate enough to be one of the lucky Birchbloggers who won a copy of their September Book Club pick, Liane Moriarty's Big Little Lies. It's been quite a while since I've read something other than a classic (or even that's been written in this century), so I couldn't wait to delve into something a little more fun and a little less serious.

Big Little Lies follows the stories of three Kindergarten moms and their families as they begin a new school year filled with lies, gossip, and ultimately murder. At first glance I wasn't sure what to expect. It's been a very long time since I've read anything that could be remotely classified as a murder mystery. Would it be action packed? A thriller? Would it be roll-my-eyes-over-the-top-dramatic?

In actuality, this book is hilarious, down to earth, and quite captivating. While some of the story lines and characters are a bit stereotypical in that "only in fiction" kind of way, they also manage to be incredibly believable and relatable. Liane Moriarty's world of the Pirriwee Peninsula offers an indulgent escape from reality, while still reflecting day to day life with uncanny accuracy.

The story begins on Trivia night, where one of the Pirriwee parents suffers a tragic fate, and then jumps back in time to illustrate the events of the six months prior, leaving the reader to peace together what happened that fateful night. As the secrets of Madeline, Jane, and Celeste begin to unfold, every chapter seems to bring a new gasp-worthy revelation.

Beyond telling a great story, full of twists and surprises, Liane Moriarty takes us for a ride on a carefully crafted emotional rollercoaster. She's tugging at your heart strings on one page, and cracking you up on the next. Big Little Lies touches on some difficult subjects, particularly domestic violence, without being too heavy handed. While there are moments of shocking intensity and despair, they're tempered with the day to day happenings and musings of the characters. Just as in life, no character or their lives are painted entirely in black and white. It's these beautifully detailed and fleshed out gray areas that I think make Big Little Lies into a story worth reading and re-reading. It's much more than just a "who-done-it" murder mystery. It's a story about the joys and woes of parenting, about the blurry, complicated situations of non traditional families. It's about about battling one's own inner demons, and the lies we tell ourselves and each other to avoid facing them.

So, do yourself a favor and go pick up a copy of Big Little Lies and give it a read! It's one of those truly enjoyable, suck-you-in page turners that's worth investing your time in. Thank you again to Birchbox for sending me my copy! And of course, stay tuned for more from the book club, which is featuring the oh-so-Halloween-appropriate works of Gillian Flynn for October. With everyone all atwitter over the release of the Gone Girl movie I'm pumped to read the book (even if it may result in a few unfortunate nightmares).