Study Guide

Big Little Lies Chapter 1

By Liane Moriarty

Chapter 1

  • Mrs. Ponder is talking to her cat. Again. 
  • In between making "Let them eat cake" jokes (the cat's name is Marie Antoinette), Mrs. Ponder is complaining about the ruckus coming from Pirriwee Public. 
  • It doesn't sound like a trivia night, thinks Mrs. Ponder. It sounds like a dang riot. 
  • Her daughter was right: living next to an elementary school has some downsides. 
  • But usually the kids were cute and the moms, although it seemed like 100% of them were helicopter mothers, were friendly. 
  • Tonight is different. Through an eerie fog, she can see that the Audrey Hepburn and Elvis-themed trivia night (which means that all the moms dress up like Audrey Hepburn and look gorgeous and all the dads dress up like Elvis and look…goofy) has turned into something that resembles a brawl. 
  • One Elvis punches another Elvis.  
  • Mrs. Ponder considers whether she should call the police, but too late—she hears sirens. 
  • She also hears a woman screaming. 
  • Cue the theatrical dum dum dummm. 
  • Now the chapter switches lanes and we're reading something that seems like a script. 
  • A bunch of different people—Gabrielle, Bonnie, Stu, Jackie, the list goes on—are gossiping about some event. 
  • They're not giving us a whole lot in the way of details, but it doesn't sound too good. 
  • Some people say it was the moms' fault. We hear about something called "The Mummy Wars," which apparently raged between the stay-at-home moms and the career moms. 
  • Some people blame overall hurt feelings. This guy named Stu gets his sexism on and blames women in general. Suddenly we're talking about head lice. 
  • For two-and-a-half pages, we have zero clue what people are talking about. 
  • But the last line of the chapter clears things up: someone has been murdered. 
  • Cue that dum dum dummm music again.

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