I've fallen under the thrall of all things Big Little Lies recently. I binge watched the miniseries a few weeks ago. I inhaled it, and just loved it. I'd borrowed a copy from my library as I couldn't get it on my streaming services, and I was a bit worried about the move to an American location. Big Little Lies, the book, is Australian and firmly set in Sydney. Big Little Lies, the series, has moved to Monterey in California. But I loved it so much that I then went out and bought the DVD, so I could watch it again whenever I wanted to (after pressing it onto all of my friends first). I'm very excited that a second series is in production and will be released next year.
The series has an absolutely fantastic soundtrack. Perhaps my favourite discovery is Ituana's breathy, lovely version of You Can't Always Get What You Want. I loved that so much that I took out a trial subscription to Spotify! Which I am enjoying very much.
Very soon I found myself downloading the audiobook on my new love (Borrowbox). 15 hours 55 minutes! In just two weeks (I'm sure I won't be able to renew it as it's really popular, I had to wait for it)- that's quite an ask for me. But it was pretty easy I guess. Even though I didn't really love Caroline Lee's voice work- I found her rather overwrought Aussie accent a bit much actually. Her narration is fine, but I found her character voices grating for some reason. But I did love the story and was sucked right in yet again.
Just in case anyone else has been hiding under a rock Big Little Lies tells the stories of three kindergarten mums. Their friendship, their relationships and families. Madeleine is the feisty one, she's on her second marriage, and is the old hand of the school yard, an expert in the politics and cliques (yes of the parents). Celeste and Jane are both first time kindergarten mums, Celeste is married with twin boys, Jane is the youngest, a single mother with one son, Ziggy. All are juggling busy lives and finding their own way with work life balance, and each has made quite different decisions and compromises in her life.
From the start of the book and the movie we know that someone has died. But not who. Big Little Lies is a Who Was It? more so than a Whodunnit? There are a number of smaller mysteries along the way and I did guess those whilst watching the show and I kept wondering if I would have guessed them if I read the book first.
Given that the series was so fresh in my mind, I was very interested in the differences between the book and screen versions- and there are quite a few really. But they tend to be minor - some of the characters have an extra kid in the book (it tends to be the brothers that are left out), Mrs Ponder who lives next to the school didn't make the cut to the small screen. I can't remember Jane's parents being in the series. There are a few story lines that are in the show but not in the book. And of course everyone is richer and everything is grander in Monterey than they were back on the Pirriwee Peninsula.
Speaking of which the whole Pirriwee setting really annoyed me. The rest of the Sydney suburbs mentioned are real. Jane's parents live in Granville, she lived in Newtown before moving to the peninsula. Why then make up the fictional Pirriwee? Are you really protecting the innocent when it's clearly a Northern Beaches location? Why bother?
Structurally, I really loved the little snippets from parents at the school that began or finished each chapter. Police interviews are not really like this at all I suspect. I'm sure everyone would be much better behaved, but I love all the catty little snippets given in these sections, and the differing insights and information.
Liane Moriarty is a phenomenally successful Australian author. Rather remarkably two of her sisters are authors too, successful, but not quite in the stratospheric leagues that Liane inhabits. Big Little Lies was my first Liane Moriarty read, I know that there'll be more.