Big Little Lies – by Liane Moriarty

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In three words: funny, thrilling, juicy

Think Game of Thrones meets Desperate Housewives. I was fully captivated by this mommy soap opera. It unfolds as the parents of a new kindergarten class get to know each other, while a mysterious murder hangs in the background. Jane, a newcomer to an exclusive beach town, must navigate the complex social waters as a single mom. Two of the other moms, Madeline and Celeste befriend her, while managing challenges of their own. Jane’s son is accused of bullying a little girl, unfurling a series of socialite power plays. A lot happens in this book. Affairs. Domestic Violence. Murder. Attempted underage prostitution. Surprise paternal reveals.

While the book feels a little contrived, the mini-series adaption on HBO managed to shake off that cookie-cutter feeling. Madeline, one of the main characters is made to be more intelligent, emphatic and complex in the series. In the book, she’s a loyal wife. In the series, she’s tortured about her decision to cheat on her husband. In the series, Jane is gutsier and more unpredictable, making her seem more like a real person. And while the ending in the book is tied up with a neat little bow, the ending of the miniseries is more open-ended.

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