This book centres around three women, Madeline, Celeste, and Jane. Each of them have children entering kindergarten in their idyllic Australian town. On the kindergarten induction day, Jane – who has just moved to the area – is shocked when her seemingly innocent son has been accused of choking a little girl. Ziggy firmly denies any wrong doing and a rift opens up between Jane and the other parents, except for Celeste and Madeline, who stand by her. But Jane doesn’t know that they have secrets too, and none of them now that by the end of the school’s trivia night, one of the parents will end up dead.
I really enjoyed this book, which is strange because I didn’t feel any of the suspense that I was supposed to feel and that would usually make me not like a book, but this one was different. It was so compulsively readable that I literally didn’t care. I read it in a couple of days where I was quite busy, and didn’t even notice the pages turning until I looked at the page number and saw that I was suddenly a hundred pages from where I was what I thought was half an hour ago.
The book has several themes: abuse, people’s insatiable need for gossip, social media culture, and the idea of being the perfect parent. In my opinion, these themes were developed brilliantly. The abuse was realistic and not black and white, and at the end of most chapters were police interviews between the school parents after the murder, and they show how events get warped for entertainment and to make the gossip more scandalous. However, the view of social media was what I related to most. The idea of making your life perfect to everyone else to try and convince yourself that everything is perfect, until you almost become a brand that you have to keep up, was quite jolting. That thought kept me up most of night, scrolling through Facebook and seeing brands instead of friends.
The characters were all well-rounded and likeable, with the exception of Madeline (in my opinion), who just blames PMS every time she raises her voice, which is the majority of the book. Celeste’s character was really well done.
As for the writing, Liane Moriarty is good at noticing the little things that people do and by adding them in, she really enriches the writing and read experience.
I had to dock a star because like I said, I didn’t really feel much excitement or suspense, and the pace was a little slow, on reflection. But, I still really enjoyed it.