“Mothers took their mothering so seriously now. Their frantic little faces…Ponytails swinging. Eyes fixed on the mobile phones held in the palms of their hands like compasses.”
When a parent’s night at the local school ends in death questions need to be asked, was it an accident? Was it murder? The masks of perfection that parents have been wearing all year are starting to slip, but it all started long before.
Now, this isn’t my normal read, I’ll put that out there to start. I was part of a book club and this was the book of choice. I’d tried another Liane Moriarty book in the past and struggled with the characters, so I was a little apprehensive when starting but hearing everyone rave about it, I gave it a go.
This is very much a book about the wars Mums have in the playground, the stuff that is in my nightmares. The novel focuses on three women, each very different. Madeleine is battling with bringing up her teenage daughter, her son and the fact that her daughter is in the same class with her ex-husband’s new daughter. Celeste has a life that seems perfect with her twin boys and charming husband, but demons are lurking beneath the surface. And finally, we have Jane, a young mother who has moved to town with her son Ziggy to start a new life. All three become friends and help each other get through the school year.
Now I know, I know so many people loved this novel but the unnecessary drama drove me absolutely mad. This Mum was bickering with this one and this child was accused of this. I think if it wasn’t for knowing someone was going to be murdered I would have stopped and put the book down a few chapters in. While I was intrigued by the trio, in particular, I found them all to be quite stereotypical. It might be because I haven’t experienced it myself but I just struggled to care about the whole ‘he said, she said’ situations within in novel.
That said, I will admit that the mystery of the death drew me in. Moriarty uses twists throughout to keep your attention, which is something I personally needed. While some, I worked out quite early on others, such as the big twist toward the end really threw me (so much so my best friend took a picture of me at that moment). So, in that respect there is a reason to read.
Overall, I think that there is reason to read the novel but I give fair warning that if you don’t want to read about unnecessary drama, this isn’t the novel for you. There are some serious themes touched on throughout, but for me personally, it took too long to get to those.
I gave this novel 3 stars. Admittedly, it did engage me eventually but I just felt it took a little too long and if I had just picked it up from the library I would have probably not gotten to the end! That said, I would quite like to watch the television series as I feel this would play out much better on screen rather than in a novel!