Liane Moriarty has done it again. Her writing is so smooth, witty and entertaining: just really easy to read and enjoyable.
In this book, we follow the accounts of three mothers of kindergarten children in the seaside town of Pirriwee.
Madeline has just turned forty and has three children. Her first daughter Abigail chooses to live with her father (Madeline’s first husband, who abandoned her and Abigail for 5 years when she was first born) and his annoying hippie wife Bonnie.
Jane has just moved to the area, having house-hopped for a few years with her young son Ziggy. She’s a 24 year old single mum who fell pregnant to an awful man during a one night stand who told her she was a fat, ugly girl. Horrible stuff.
Celeste is ridiculously rich with a seemingly perfect family: she’s extremely attractive, has twin boys and a successful, loving husband. But behind closed doors, it’s not all perfect. Her husband gets angry and hits her. She hits back, too. She battles with knowing if it’s normal, if it’s just a thing they do, or if it’s actually domestic abuse.
These three ladies start a friendship on kindergarten orientation day. As they pick their children up, a snobby lady Renata’s daughter pinpoints Jane’s son as a bully, and the kinder parents become immediately suspicious of Ziggy and Jane. They tell their children not to play with him. As school goes on and Renata’s daughter continues to be bullied, the parents start a petition to have the school suspend Ziggy, with no substantial proof that he is doing the bullying…
Anyway, we know from the start of the book that it ends in a parent riot at a trivia night. Moriarty cleverly takes us back in time to see the events leading up to the night, feeding us snippets of interviews with the parents about what happened on the night.
The book is a little bit predictable, but I love how everything becomes so perfectly wrapped up at the end (I mean, it’s kind of a shame that Celeste’s abusive partner – secretly also the man who knocked up and verbally abused Jane – has to die. He is a person after all).
The best quote I found in the book to explain its main theme is:
It occurred to her that there were so many levels of evil in the world. Small evils like her own malicious words. Like not inviting a child to a party. Bigger evils like walking out on your wife with a newborn baby and sleeping with your child’s nanny. And then there was the sort of evil of which Madeline had no experience: cruelty in hotel rooms and violence in suburban homes and little girls being sold like merchandise, shattering innocent hearts.
Moriarty expertly weaves the three ladies’ stories together to tell us a greater story about how cruelty and evil come in many forms. The cruelty in this book, set in a suburban town and the playground of innocent children makes it so much more shocking.
10/10 would read again – and will probably go back for some more Liane Moriarty too 🙂