Okay, I’m late to the party on this one, but I just discovered that the upcoming mini-series is based on this book which I hadn’t heard of previously. I realize that many of you here have read this already, so it’s not a new thing for you but I’ll leave my two cents worth anyway!
On the surface, it sounded like the typical book about a trio of friends and their lives in a small community; everyone knows everyone else, gossip is rampant and someone will get their comeuppance before the end of the book. Of course, there is much more to the story and I was hooked fairly early on. After all, when the book starts with a death at the school’s social gathering but the identity of said victim isn’t revealed, how could I not help but read on?
Madeline, Celeste and Jane are three women who are as different as you can get. Madeline is the feisty, outspoken one who befriends Jane, the young single mother. Celeste is the local beauty who seems to have the perfect marriage and family. On the day of orientation at their children’s kindergarten class, Jane’s son Ziggy is accused of hurting one of the little girls, and parents are soon choosing sides as to whom they believe. Jane is the newcomer to this insular community; she’s kept to herself and the identity of Ziggy’s father is one of the secrets she is hiding. Her life isn’t what she was expecting it to be when she was younger, but the pregnancy changed everything.
“This was not the career she’d dreamed of as an ambitious seventeen-year-old, but now it was hard to remember ever feeling innocent and audacious enough to dream of a certain type of life, as if you got to choose how things turned out.”
Celeste has twin boys, and a movie-star handsome husband Perry who makes a ton of money and is frequently away on business. Their house is gorgeous as you would expect, the family takes fabulous vacations, and Perry posts pictures on Facebook to show what a happy family they are. And yet, there are secrets that Celeste is keeping from her friends about what goes on behind closed doors.
“Did she love him as much as she hated him? Did she hate him as much as she loved him?”
Madeline seems to have it all together as well, until her ex-husband moves back to town with his hippy new wife and a daughter the same age as Madeline’s youngest. Then her oldest daughter decides she wants to live with her father, and emulate her step-mother Bonnie. Bonnie seems to be the perfect earth mother, who loves yoga and all things natural – the complete opposite of Madeline.
But every time she tried yoga she found herself silently chanting her own mantra: I’m so boooored, I’m so boooored.
The book starts with the death, and then goes back several months to recount the events leading up to the fateful night. You get to see the story unfold from different viewpoints, and you find out all the deep dark secrets the women are keeping. Along the way, they form a solid friendship. Ms Moriarty weaves a good story that is in turn moving, suspenseful and humorous. It all combines to grip your attention and I found myself flipping the pages faster to find out how it all would end.