Discussion Questions for 'Big Little Lies' by Liane Moriarty

Book Club Discussion Questions


Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty is women's fiction at its best: a funny and moving page turner that includes lots of plot lines for book clubs to discuss. Use these questions to dig into the novel with your group. They should keep the conversation going!

Major Spoiler Alert: These questions reveal many details from Big Little Lies. Finish the book before reading on.

  1. Who did you suspect was the murder victim? Did it change throughout the book? If you guessed correctly, when did you begin to suspect? How did you feel when you found out who it was?
  1. Were you surprised when the culprit was revealed? Did she get a fair sentence, in your opinion?
  2. Was it fair of Madeleine to ask Ed to lie about what he saw (or didn’t see) that night on the balcony? What would you have done in his position? Of Ed in this situation, who did not want to lie, Madeleine thinks, “Of course he was right, he was always right, but sometimes doing the wrong thing is also right” (p. 430). Do you believe this? He later told Madeleine that he would have lied, but she doesn’t believe him. Do you believe him?
  3. What do you think about Nathan moving into Madeleine’s community, particularly since they have children the same age and in the same school? Madeleine says there should be laws against it. What do you think? Do sympathize with Madeleine in this?
  4. Madeleine is admittedly bitter about Nathan’s desertion of her and newborn Abigail 14 years ago, and understandably annoyed that now Abigail is choosing him and his new wife over her. Do you have any experience, direct or indirect, with co-parenting? Does this scenario and Madeleine’s feelings strike a chord with you?
  1. Abigail becomes passionate about doing her part to end child marriage. She is not one of the more developed characters, but do you think she would have gone through with her “special project?” Do you think it was a valid or effective way to make a point?
  2. Madeleine thinks “Those [child brides] were completely real to Abigail, and of course, they were real, there was real pain the world, right this very moment people were suffering unimaginable atrocities and you couldn’t close your heart completely, but you couldn’t leave it wide open either, because otherwise how could you possibly live your life, when through pure, random luck you got to live in paradise? You had to register the existence of evil, do the little you could, and then close your mind and think about new shoes” (p. 353). Have you felt this tension, the tension between wanting to be aware of the evil in the world (and care about it, do something about it) and yet knowing that if you were acutely aware all the time, it would cripple you? What do you think about this comment? What does “the little you could” mean to you?
  1. Did you ever suspect Saxon Banks was Perry? When did you begin to suspect?
  2. Do you think Perry was indeed genuinely sorry for his abuse of Celeste after the fact? Did he truly believe he’d never do it again? In the car before the trivia night, he swears he’ll get help and says he even got a referral to a psychiatrist on his own. Do you believe him? Do you think it’s possible that, had he lived, he could have gotten help and truly changed? Have you known anyone who was abused by their spouse? Could you see the signs? If not, were you upset with yourself for not noticing, as Madeleine was?
  3. Did you think Ziggy was the bully? Did you think he was being bullied? Did you suspect it was really Max?
  4. The topic of “helicopter parenting” was mentioned only once, by Miss Barnes when speaking with the interviewer. If you are a parent, you are probably familiar with this term and its place in the current hot-button topic of parenting. In your opinion, are parents “obsessed,” to use Miss Barnes’ word - hovering like a helicopter over every aspect of their children’s life? Is this a helpful or harmful development, or a combination of both?
  5. Did you suspect Tom was not, in fact, gay? Were you glad for Jane?
    • Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty was published in the U.S. in July 2014
    • Publisher: Putnam Adult
    • 480 pages
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    Your Citation
    Limber, Anna. "Discussion Questions for 'Big Little Lies' by Liane Moriarty." ThoughtCo, Feb. 8, 2017, thoughtco.com/big-little-lies-by-liane-moriarty-362040. Limber, Anna. (2017, February 8). Discussion Questions for 'Big Little Lies' by Liane Moriarty. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/big-little-lies-by-liane-moriarty-362040 Limber, Anna. "Discussion Questions for 'Big Little Lies' by Liane Moriarty." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/big-little-lies-by-liane-moriarty-362040 (accessed March 25, 2018).