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Infinite Country by Patricia Engel | Thoughts

   Published : 2021   ||    Format : print   ||    Location : Colombia ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆   What was it about the country that kept everyone hostage to its fantasy? The previous month, on its own soil, an American man went to his job at a plant and gunned down fourteen coworkers, and last spring alone there were four different school shootings. A nation at war with itself, yet people still spoke of it as some kind of paradise.. Thoughts : Infinite Country follows two characters - young Talia, who at the beginning of this book, escapes a girl’s reform school in North Colombia so that she can make her previously booked flight to the US. Before she can do that, she needs to travel many miles to reach her father and get her ticket to the rest of her family. As we follow Talia’s treacherous journey south, we learn about how she ended up in the reform school in the first place and why half her family resides in the US. Infinite Country tells the story of her family through the other protagonist, El

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty | Thoughts

Published in: 2014
Format read in: ebook
Location: Somewhere in coastal Australia
Rating: 5/5

Why I read it: Ti’s review of how it looked like a fluff book though was anything but convinced me to read it.

One line review: A page turner whodunnit with a good balance of of levity and serious issues.

Who should read it: If you enjoy suspense or thriller and like school settings, this one may win you over.

About: A murder...A tragic accident...Or just parents behaving badly? What’s indisputable is that someone is dead. Madeline is a force to be reckoned with. She’s funny, biting, and passionate; she remembers everything and forgives no one. Celeste is the kind of beautiful woman who makes the world stop and stare but she is paying a price for the illusion of perfection. New to town, single mom Jane is so young that another mother mistakes her for a nanny. She comes with a mysterious past and a sadness beyond her years. These three women are at different crossroads, but they will all wind up in the same shocking place. Big Little Lies is a brilliant take on ex-husbands and second wives, mothers and daughters, schoolyard scandal, and the little lies that can turn lethal. (From Indiebound)

Nothing and nobody could aggravate you the way your child could aggravate you.

Big Little Lies is not a recent book. It’s been out since 2014 - read and loved by many of you since. Recently (though not that recently!) HBO released a new TV show based on this book, which has brought this book back to many readers’ lists.

Until I read Ti's review of this book, I probably would not have considered reading it. As this book starts, a new wave of incoming Kindergarten students and their parents are descending on the Piriwee school to get through their orientation meeting. Madeline, a mom of three is sending her youngest to Kindergarten. Madeline is someone you would see as the center of almost every social group. She thrives on social gatherings, but also on gossip. She was also someone who stood up for the people she considered close. She was constantly trying to improve the lives of people around her, whether they asked for it or not.

Celeste is described as being impossibly gorgeous and excessively rich, while also being extremely uncomfortable with both. Her twins were also just starting at Kindergarten while her husband travelled a lot and was rarely present at school events.

Jane is the newcomer to town who seemed to be both running away and running towards something. There is a tragic mystery in her past that is causing her to fear something about her son’s temperament. On orientation day at school, her son is accused of attacking a fellow student and that starts a chain of events spanning the next six months, eventually ending in someone’s death.

I loved how this book had thrill, mystery, intrigue, pace, and also, a good set of characters. It’s not often that characters get treated well in a book where the plot is centerstage. Or vice versa. I won’t say that this is a great character read or literature but it was a very fun book that had my attention for the full time I was reading it. 

I was expecting Madeline to be among my least liked characters. And yet, she is the one I would love to befriend. Her exuberant character can be exhausting to someone always in her vicinity but she sure knows how to take care of her friends and make them feel loved.

Jane and Celeste were often the misfits. While all three had their issues and challenges, Madeline knew how to deal with hers, even if she did not always choose the right way. But Jane and Celeste tended to drown in their problems. While Celeste completely shut her problems from the outside eye, Jane didn’t know how to handle hers and was often helpless.

At the beginning of the book, we know that someone has died and that it was being investigated as a murder. Almost every chapter is preceded or followed by interview snippets of various parents, the class teacher, and the detective. It’s an interesting format that I paid too much attention to initially thinking it may come in useful at the end but started finding it too distracting at one point. It also didn’t show parents in a good light. Obviously, as a to-be-kindergarten-mom, I felt somewhat offended by it but meh, it’s fiction. Right? I did like how these parents appeared shallow without context as most people or situations generally are, but when they get their time on stage, they showed more personality.

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? Which character fascinated you the most?