The One with Noble Paiges: Big Little Lies by Liana Moriarty

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Hello once again book nerds :) Today we're hosting our 8th Noble Paiges book discussion: BIG LITTLE LIES by Liane Moriarty. This is one of those books that I couldn't put down. So good. I read it on my flight to/from Madrid and couldn't even stop reading while I was waiting for my bags. Yup. I was one of "those" people reading while standing. Basically, I highly recommend it and have another one of Moriarty's books waiting to be read on my nightstand: The Husband's Secret (Have you read it? Do you like it?) Anyway, back to BIG LITTLE LIES, please note: SPOILERS BELOW.

Synopsis: Sometimes it’s the little lies that turn out to be the most lethal... A murder... a tragic accident… or just parents behaving badly? What’s indisputable is that someone is dead. But who did what? BIG LITTLE LIES follows three women, each at a crossroads: Madeline is a force to be reckoned with. She’s funny and biting, passionate, she remembers everything and forgives no one. Her ex-husband and his yogi new wife have moved into her beloved beachside community, and their daughter is in the same kindergarten class as Madeline’s youngest (how is this possible?). And to top it all off, Madeline’s teenage daughter seems to be choosing Madeline’s ex-husband over her. (How. Is. This. Possible?). Celeste is the kind of beautiful woman who makes the world stop and stare. While she may seem a bit flustered at times, who wouldn’t be, with those rambunctious twin boys? Now that the boys are starting school, Celeste and her husband look set to become the king and queen of the school parent body. But royalty often comes at a price, and Celeste is grappling with how much more she is willing to pay. New to town, single mom Jane is so young that another mother mistakes her for the nanny. Jane is sad beyond her years and harbors secret doubts about her son. But why? While Madeline and Celeste soon take Jane under their wing, none of them realizes how the arrival of Jane and her inscrutable little boy will affect them all. Big Little Lies is a brilliant take on ex-husbands and second wives, mothers and daughters, schoolyard scandal, and the dangerous little lies we tell ourselves just to survive.

1. Who did you suspect was the murder victim? Did it change throughout the book? If you guessed correctly, when did you begin to suspect? How did you feel when you found out who it was?
At first I thought it was going to be Jane. I never really figured out who died until it happened, but I did figure out that Jane's rapist and Celeste's husband were the same (Saxon Banks was Perry), somewhere along the line she mentioned the wedding, and how the twins are the same age as Ziggy, there were two men at the bar where Jane was, it all began to make sense and fit together. Very clever. I was glad Perry was the victim, although I don't believe murdering is okay.

2. Were you surprised when the culprit was revealed? Did she get a fair sentence, in your opinion?
Yes I was surprised it was Bonnie. I feel like it was kind of out of character for her to explode like that, but I guess it was the straw that broke the camel's back. And yes I think her sentence was fair although I don't remember exactly what it was? Community service? But she wasn't sentenced to jail (or was she? Ha! I already need to re-read!), which I'm glad for, because it seemed like an accident gone terribly wrong.

3. Did you think Ziggy was the bully? Did you think he was being bullied? Did you suspect it was really Max?
That's a lot of questions in one! No I didn't think it was Ziggy, I thought it was Ammabelle's (or however you spell it!) mom with a Munchausen by Proxy thing. I never suspected Max at all, but it makes sense after him watching his dad beat up Celeste all those years.

4. Did you suspect Tom was not, in fact, gay? Were you glad for Jane?
No I didn't suspect and YES I was so glad for Jane! Happy endings all around! Well, except for Perry... but he wasn't exactly the nicest guy in the world.

5. Would you watch BIG LITTLE LIES if it became a movie?
ABSOLUTELY!! Books turned into movies are some of my favorites, though I must admit I think the books are always better. Especially in this case where so much of what happens isn't spoken, it's "told" from one lady's point of view, in her head. This whole book kind of reminds me of that TV show The OC. Now THAT was a classic show :)


Kelsey Noble has another set of fun and thoughtful questions about BIG LITTLE LIES by Liane Moriarty on her blog!


Our next Noble Paiges book club discussion will be, and it's a twist on the norm because it's non-fiction: EMPTY MANSIONS by Bill Dedman and Paul Clark Newell, Jr. I started this while filming in Denver and I'll be honest, I was hesitant to begin because, really, a non-fiction book? I haven't read non-fiction since high school when I had to. BUT, after just the first page, I was hooked. It's so good and interesting and completely, totally, and utterly FASCINATING!
Synopsis: When Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Bill Dedman noticed in 2009 a grand home for sale, unoccupied for nearly sixty years, he stumbled through a surprising portal into American history. EMPTY MANSIONS is a rich mystery of wealth and loss, connecting the Gilded Age opulence of the nineteenth century with a twenty-first-century battle over a $300 million inheritance. At its heart is a reclusive heiress named Huguette Clark, a woman so secretive that, at the time of her death at age 104, no new photograph of her had been seen in decades. Though she owned palatial homes in California, New York, and Connecticut, why had she lived for twenty years in a simple hospital room, despite being in excellent health? Why were her valuables being sold off? Was she in control of her fortune, or controlled by those managing her money?

Dedman has collaborated with Huguette Clark’s cousin, Paul Clark Newell, Jr., one of the few relatives to have frequent conversations with her. Dedman and Newell tell a fairy tale in reverse: the bright, talented daughter, born into a family of extreme wealth and privilege, who secrets herself away from the outside world.

Huguette was the daughter of self-made copper industrialist W. A. Clark, nearly as rich as Rockefeller in his day, a controversial senator, railroad builder, and founder of Las Vegas. She grew up in the largest house in New York City, a remarkable dwelling with 121 rooms for a family of four. She owned paintings by Degas and Renoir, a world-renowned Stradivarius violin, a vast collection of antique dolls. But wanting more than treasures, she devoted her wealth to buying gifts for friends and strangers alike, to quietly pursuing her own work as an artist, and to guarding the privacy she valued above all else.

The Clark family story spans nearly all of American history in three generations, from a log cabin in Pennsylvania to mining camps in the Montana gold rush, from backdoor politics in Washington to a distress call from an elegant Fifth Avenue apartment. The same Huguette who was touched by the terror attacks of 9/11 held a ticket nine decades earlier for a first-class stateroom on the second voyage of the Titanic.

Our next Noble Paiges discussion of EMPTY MANSIONS by Bill Dedman and Paul Clark Newell, Jr. will be on Saturday May 9th 2015, so put it on your calendars and "see" you then! And make sure to visit Kelsey's blog for the other half of this discussion!


  1. These both sound good!!!! I will have to get them both!! And LOL to standing and reading ... I ALWAYS walk back from my breaks/lunch at work while reading! LOL!!!

  2. The Husband's Secret was the first Liane Moriarty book I read. I was reading it during my husband's family reunion and had to force myself to put the book down and go interact with people :) The narration is really interesting, especially at the end.

    1) I was afraid the murder victim would be one of the women, and I was relieved that it was Perry. It's probably bad to be relieved, but he's the least sympathetic character by a long shot.

    2)Yeah, I really didn't suspect Bonnie. If you don't know her backstory with the abuse, it doesn't ever seem likely.

    3) I was certain it wasn't Ziggy from the beginning. He just really didn't seem like a bully at all.

    4) Tom not being gay was basically the only thing I guessed. I am a terrible guesser, but I was super happy for Jane. She needed something happy!

    5) Ooh! I read that Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman optioned this as a miniseries, so it is coming to the screen :)

  3. 1. It changed a million times throughout the book. I thought at one point or another that is was Jane, Celeste, Ziggy, Renata, Ammabella, Skye, Bonnie, etc. I did eventually settle on Perry about 20 pages before we found it was him. When I found out that it was Perry, I was happy. That seemed to give us the happiest ending.

    2. Bonnie being the killer was surprising. She wasn't developed that much as a character so there was no real reason for us to suspect her. I assumed that Celeste would snap or maybe Jane. Her sentence was fine. I actually wish all the parents had stuck to their plan to keep their lips zipped. I think that would added more umph to the ending.

    3. Nope. Never thought it was Ziggy. I thought maybe Amabella was doing it to herself to get attention. I also never thought the real bully was Max.

    4. Yep. I knew he wasn't gay from the beginning. It was pretty clear to me that the author was leading us towards Jane and Tom getting together. Tom's actions throughout the whole book were those of a guy who is into a girl. And yes, I was glad for Jane.

    5. Yep. I hear that Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman are going to be in it and I don't like those choices at all. I like it when the actors portraying characters in a book I've read aren't famous actors I already know. When they're famous, I'm not seeing the character, I'm seeing Reese Witherspoon. Oh well.

    Good book!


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