2 ½ stars
If depression is the new accessory, this book has just turned domestic violence into a fashionable handbag.
The stars are given purely for the fast pace and suspense of the book. To be fair it kept me wanting to know more about each character as Liane Moriarty unpeels their stories. The ending is largely disappointing – too tidy, convenient and way more satisfying than the reality that usually prevails for the true casualties of domestic violence. This is a novel to read on a holiday by the beach, for an intellect wannabe hoping to utilise down time reading something informative.
The flavour of the year on Australian telly is men learning to respect women. To be more specific, white Australian suburban men learning to respect white Australian suburban women. Like the numerous government campaigns, Liane Moriarty probably thinks she is doing society a favour by exploring a serious subject in a light-hearted manner. I am all for that style of propaganda. However, it isn’t the message that she tries to deliver; it is what that is glaringly lacking in the message that I find disturbing. In this novel, only Caucasians exist in Australia as no other ethnic group was represented in the public school of suburbia Sydney. So often it is the marginalised women, the minority, the migrants or refugees with no family support that struggle to break out of the cycle of domestic violence. There is a complete absence of non Anglo-Saxons, not even a hint of colour in the homogenous cast of ‘Big Little Lies’.
There are constant referrals to the challenges in leaving a violent home, but none of the ‘victims’ seems to need to endure any hardship before the community magically comes together and pull them out of their fix. Everyone comes to terms with their flaws eventually and tries to seek amends and forgiveness. I live in Australia, but alas Ms Moriarty and I must live in very different countries indeed.