Book vs. Series: Big Little Lies

By Catherine Maier

The new HBO series, Big Little Lies, is based on the book that was written by Liane Moriarty. I read the book and was anticipating the release of the show to see if it would resemble the plot and context of the book. The series has kicked off as being very entertaining and thrilling. I often find that I am a fan of the book over the movie because of the detail that books allow for but I was pleasantly surprised to find that they were making this book into a series, and more excited for it rather than if it were to be condensed into a movie.

The series is no longer set in Australia, which at first I thought would be a disappointment, but I think it was done purposefully. Being set in Monterey, California allows for the beautiful shots of the ocean to be incorporated into the series. Imagination is important when reading the book, but the show allows for these scenes to come to life and be visually appealing. Another aspect of the series that having the location change allows for is the emphasis on the wealth of the characters in the series and how that will play a role and influence the storyline.

In the show, Reese Witherspoon who plays Madeline Martha Mackenzie, does not have a son whereas in the book she does. I’m interested to see how this difference will factor into her development as a character. Her family dynamic is incredibly important to the series as well as in the book due to the conflicts that arise with her ex-husband and new wife. The lack of a son in the series will hopefully be more clearly articulated as the series continues.

I mentioned earlier how books often reveal more details and backstory to certain characters in comparison to movies, but in series I think there is often more room for exploration. The series gives some of the characters in the book who are of less importance come to life both visually and contextually. This helps makes the series more dramatic in my opinion, and is also so fun to watch because of all the different twists and direction the series allows for the story to go.

I am excited to see how the series plays out and how the aspects of the books are incorporated, altered or even left out as it continues.

For those of you interested, I think Entertainment Weekly does a good review of the show.

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One Response to Book vs. Series: Big Little Lies

  1. mediaphiles says:

    Thank you for sharing this! Past experience told me that the original book is always better than the movie/show adaptation, but I’ve neither read the book nor seen the adaptations of Big Little Lies, so I might give it a try! Your description of the book and show makes them really interesting, chances are I may enjoy them very much!

    -Kevin

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