I only picked this one up because I recently watched and adored the HBO miniseries ‘Big Little Lies’. The show is absolutely fantastic and I wanted to compare it to the source material, and see how much artistic license they exercised in the adaptation.
Whilst I did enjoy this, I found it to be much fluffier and more chick-lity than I expected considering the darkness and serious drama of the TV show. Obviously I am a huge fan of the story itself, and the show doesn’t change much of the plot at all actually, it stays very close to the novel. The only real difference is the setting, the book being set in Australia and the show being set in America instead.
Somehow they do a much better job at handling such serious subject matters on the show. There is a lot more humour in the book, it’s somewhat more tongue in cheek and whilst Moriarty does handle the issue of domestic violence with delicacy, the novel just didn’t affect me anywhere near as much. I can’t say whether I would have seen the twists coming, as clearly I already knew what they were from watching the show, but I suspect that I would have. Hints and clues are definitely dropped throughout, there isn’t much in the way of subtlety. As harsh as this sounds there isn’t much to the writing style either, it’s simple but very readable and fairly compelling.
There’s a huge cast of characters here but we only ever see into the heads of three main women: Celeste, Madeline and Jane. The trio of friends are complex and contrasting female characters,but I have to admit I loved each one far more through watching the show, and certainly wouldn’t have related to Jane as much without having previously seen Shailene Woodley’s phenomenal portrayal. The child actors in the show are a real highlight as well, whilst they didn’t have anywhere near as great an impact in the novel. Basically, the casting for the show was brill and they did a really great job at picking actors who selected the best parts of their written characters and really built on those foundations.
Ultimately this is a good enough read, but I don’t feel that it left any long lasting impact on me. However, I would definitely recommend watching the TV show. It’s sleek, brilliantly acted and deeply affecting. I wouldn’t say it’s necessary to read this after you finish either.