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Book review - Big Little Lies (and other books) - Liane Moriarty

"Oh, she 's very popular this summer," a Waterstones assistant tells me as I go into try to buy this for my friend's birthday. I end up choosing Nine Perfect Strangers for her instead, which I've also read, along with Three Wishes. I am a ex-booker, now a Kindler. (I have long since abandoned my crowd-led exclamations of "Oh it's just not the same as holding a book in your hands" etc. In fact, I've come to realise that I don't want to store another book in the house, or pack it off to the charity shop/save for the next car boot sale - I just want to READ the bloody thing. And my latest infliction, an arthritic thumb, sometimes makes holding books very painful, believe it or not. And I do buy the books that are important to me - like the latest Harry Hole or Rebus books. OK why did I need to justify all of that?) 

One of my things with being a Kindler is that I just find another book from the same author, purchase, rinse and repeat. I ended up last summer reading about ten books all based around the same premise of a haunted, abandoned premises investigated by a solicitor/journalist/writer/cat whatever. It was like eating a huge bag of liquorice allsorts - I enjoyed each of them was slightly different, but they still all had liquorice in them and I felt slightly sick at the end of the bag. 

I've sort of done this again with Liane Moriarty. I'm off work for six weeks (yes I work in a school, yes I'm lucky, no I don't get paid so stop having a go) so I like to rack up my reads in advance. With two holidays possibly out of Wifi (Cornwall and Spain), I have to be organised. (This is the same as the pile of books I had next to my bed - my son asked me in a derisory tone why on earth I had books I wanted to read NEXT in a pile near my bed. He is not a reader. I wonder whether he is my son.)

Liane Moriarty's best seller, Big Little Lies/Little Lies, has been adapted for TV but I'm not keen on watching it as it's been Americanised, and I liked the Australian-ness about it. (I have just realised from Wikipedia that Erik the vampire from True Blood is in it, so I may change my mind...) Whilst this is bound to be the beach book of the summer, what sets her writing apart from other chick-lit (which I only like to read as much as I eat fast food... ahem) is her characters are real. You don't always like all of them. She has a way of including sound bites from unknown off-stage characters/interviewees which add to the story just enough to keep you reading, nothing much is given away. 

Big Little Lies will appeal to school mums, Nine Perfect Strangers to fans of health spa/retreats and does go off-piste, but just go with it, and Three Wishes is just a tale about triplets. Never have they felt trashy or chick-lit; they are well written with no lazy backstories or snippets of conversation that don't sound right. Yes they are easy to read, and that does appeal greatly for relaxing beach holidays, but these are more than that.

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