by Liane Moriarty
I’m officially a huge fan of Moriarty. She has an incredible skill for introducing friendly, women who seem like people you know, building up their lives and then taking a sharp turn into the unexpected. Despite the sweet friendships that sit at the core of the story, the book deals with some very serious and real problems, yet it reads like a mystery you can’t put down.
From the first pages we know that the police are trying to solve a murder case. Then we skip back in time to months before the fateful night of the crime. Sprinkled throughout are interviews with witnesses and suspects, adding layers of depth to the plot. We touch on topics as diverse as bullying, financial status, blended families, domestic violence, and more. The book explores the social dynamics and pitfalls of elementary schools’ hierarchy and the personal lives of some of the mothers of students.
Madeline, Celeste, and Jane are all mothers of children in the same kindergarten class. Jane is new to town, a quiet single mother who is overwhelmed by it all. Madeline is the brash center-of-attention who, though well-meaning, tends to stir up trouble wherever she goes. Celeste is the gorgeous wife of a wealthy financier. Each woman has a much more complicated life than what first appears to be happening on the surface.
BOTTOM LINE: A big book, but a fast engaging read. The author makes the characters come alive. She can deal with dark subject matter without making the whole book feel dark. She manages to hit a delicate balance between gravity and readability. I couldn’t put it down and I will be reading whatever she writes next.
*Read as part of the R.I.P. Challenge hosted by Stainless Steel Droppings.