From Page to Screen: Big Little Lies

I absolutely loved Big Little Lies by Lianne Moriaty and had big expectations for the mini-series since it got high praise but, unfortunately, I wasn’t all that happy with it. First of all, I did love that the show still stuck with the solid theme of women supporting women that was in the book. The show did do that very well and I appreciated that a lot. What I didn’t enjoy was a lot of what was added in and what was taken. Warning: spoilers for the book and show ahead!

What irritated me the most was this whole new storyline in which Madeline cheated on her husband…multiple times. She had a full blown affair with the director of the town’s musical, Joseph, who, to be perfectly honest, I can’t even remember if he was in the book. If he was, he was a very minor and unimportant character. I didn’t see what the point of adding this storyline to the show was. It didn’t add anything to the story and just made Madeline into this selfish character, which was very disappointing for me, because I loved her in the book.

That said, I did enjoy the addition of the petition and Renata trying to stop the play, Avenue Q, from going on. Through this, viewers got to see Celeste in lawyer mode, something that didn’t exist in the book. I really enjoyed that scene when she realized that she is, and always was, more than just a wife and mom, but a kickass lawyer too. That was an amazing moment and I’m glad it was put into the show.

The other issue I had was the ending and how vague it was. I know there are rumors and speculation about the second season, so perhaps this will all get cleared up then, but I really liked the ending of the book and I didn’t like how the show cut out all the conversation that happened when Perry was (finally) killed. You don’t get to hear Jane finally call out her rapist or the horrid moment when Perry straight up dismissed her. You don’t see the complete switch in Bonnie’s otherwise calm personality to blind rage. Also, the husbands weren’t even there, and I loved that added level to it because, in the end it was Nathan who pleaded with Madeline to not turn Bonnie in. After everything they went through, that moment was so nice to see that even though they may not like each other, at the end of the day they’re all still kind of family.

Also, they completely scrapped Bonnie’s back story and the reason why she killed Perry. That’s so important to the story and it was totally taken out. I don’t mind Bonnie getting away with it and not confessing, I just don’t like that there’s no explanation and the show made it seem kind of random that she was the one to kill Perry. Again, maybe this will be explained if there’s a second season, but for that little bit I feel like they could’ve just did one more episode in the series and spread out the end more, not do a whole other season.

If there is a Season 2, I’ll definitely watch because I didn’t hate the show. I was just disappointed by it, especially because it was so hyped up. I fully believe if I didn’t read the book and I watched the show first, I would’ve love it. But since that’s not the case, it was just meh for me.

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2 thoughts on “From Page to Screen: Big Little Lies

  1. stephaniesbookreviews says:

    This is one of my favorite books, but my free HBO ended right after the first episode aired so that’s the only one I saw. I wasn’t terribly impressed with it, so I didn’t mind that much that I didn’t get to see the rest, figured I’d maybe just buy dvds or something. I had heard about the Madeline cheating storyline though and got really angry about it! Madeline in the book would not do that.

    • Zakiya N. Jamal says:

      Exactly! Madeline on the show made me so angry and I loved her in the book. I honestly wouldn’t recommend watching it. It was okay but you can definitely live without seeing it.

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