Big Little Lies: Why the HBO limited series is better than the book
Big Little Lies is an HBO limited series based on the novel by Liane Moriarty and I didn’t enjoy the novel so I’m very biased on this post.
If you want to know why it wasn’t the book for me, I’ll leave a mini-post that I wrote on Goodreads here.
I watched season 1 and season 2 in two weeks so my thoughts might be all over the place…
Here’s the trailer for the first season so that you have some background on what the show is about 🙂
A little sneak peek on how the main characters present themselves:
Madeline – has two daughters named Abigail and Chloe. She has a strong temper and every parent at school wants to be on her good side.
Celeste- Has two twins, Max and Josh. She is perfect in the eyes of everyone in Monterey. Every mom wants to be like her and every dad wants to be with her. Also, she’s Madeline’s best friend
Jane- has one son named Ziggy and she is a single mom. She is the youngest of all moms and often is mistaken as a nanny
Bonnie- has one daughter named Sky. Also, she also seems to be a free-spirited calm person and she runs and owns a yoga studio.
Renata- has one daughter named Amabella. She’s a businesswoman who works very hard to have the life she’s always dreamed about. She has a very strong temper (like Madeline).
(I’ll mention some of these characters throughout this post but I’ll mainly focus on the adaptation overall)
Side Note: **There will be spoilers only about the characters but not about the plot.**
So… let’s begin with why I liked the limited HBO series more than the novel!
Why I liked Big Little Lies (the limited series) more than the novel
1. The characters have so much personality!
I’m only gonna focus on Renata and Celeste here.
Renata Klein is honestly the best 😂
She reminds me of all the school moms who would always overprotect their children and have fights with everyone who would think differently. In the book, I didn’t like her at all.
In the series we get to see much more of her story and what type of person she is. AND I love it. She’s sassy (in a good way) and so confident!
Celeste is so inspiring! She has a law degree, and we get to see how she impresses everyone with her knowledge. Being a mom of two, surviving everything that happens to her, AND be able to practice law, is inspiring!
2. The second season doesn’t seem forced.
There is only one book. Big Little Lies is actually a standalone novel.
A lot of the time, there are standalone novels that have their adaptations and become series instead of a movie. It is most likely that if I had read the book first, I give up on those series after the first or second season.
Season 2 is as good as season 1 tbh. We get to see Meryl Streep as the bad guy! And she is an amazing villain cause I hate her character so much.
After watching the first season, I didn’t know what else they could add for further seasons. Turn out that the second season is actually very well planned and because of it I think there could easily be a second novel too. (I don’t think the author will write one tho)
I feel like this has to do with the fact that the author Liane Moriarty involved in the making of the series!
See what happens when the author is involved with the adaptation of their work… This should happen with every adaptation!
3. Perfect casting! +More diversity comparing it to the book
Every single character from the book is white but in the series, there are several people of color. Yeah, it’s not a lot, but they could’ve chosen actors like the ones in the book but they didn’t and decided to change things up a bit. Which is great!
Reese Witherspoon is the perfect Madeline. Shailene Woodley is the perfect Jane Chapman. Zoë Kravitz is the perfect Bonnie Wright. Laura Dern is the perfect Renata Klein. AND Nicole Kidman is definitely the perfect Celeste.
4. The kids are more involved in the series.
Their personalities are exactly what I picture when reading the novel.
Plus, problems that they face like bullying and family relationships, is very well shown.
So, I’m not an 8-year-old but I feel like this age group is very well represented here (comparing it to how teens are represented)
Talking about teens…
Madeline’s daughter, Abigail, is 16 years old. Her storyline is very interesting too and there is this teen representation we’re she doesn’t follow all of the stereotypical TV teenage clichés.
4. The series sticks to the novel format in the first season.
There are time jumps and these don’t need to have a caption or a different filter to understand that a scene isn’t happening in the present. This is exactly what happens in the book too!
Bonus: The intro from the first season and second season is great! Soundtrack on point!
5. Bonnie’s character development is so interesting!
Bonnie is one of my favorite characters! She’s a chill person who doesn’t give this a lot of thought to little things but she’s also one of the bravest characters from the entire series. For example, in the book, Bonnie doesn’t show up that much, but after season 1, we get to see more about this character and her past.
6. The husbands have a bigger role in the series than in the novel
Idk if this is a good thing, but it adds up to every character’s storyline! By “every character’s storyline”, I’m referring to the woman in the show (who are the protagonists btw). Also, most of the husbands are so toxic that they make me be more empathetic towards the main characters.
What I didn’t like about Big Little Lies (the series)
How everything ended in the last episode of season 1.
There were some lines from the book that I would’ve loved to hear.
The scene I was looking forward to the most was “incomplete”.Overall, there were some scenes that I would’ve liked to watch.
There was a small detail that I think was essential for the “surprise factor”. Yes, I’m talking about Saxon Banks (for those who have read the book, you’ll know what I mean).
Is Big Little Lies the right show for you?
I have to give some content warnings about the show.
There is a lot of violence, sex, nudity, sexual assault, guns, sexual harassment, bruises, and blood. So, no. It’s NOT family-friendly at all.
I’m not gonna lie, I often had to skip some parts because they were too difficult to watch.
If any of these topics trigger you in any way, even if it’s just in the slightest bit, don’t watch it.
The book doesn’t have any sex scenes, but it deals with violence and sexual assault too.
Other than that, there are 7 episodes each season and they go by really quickly because each one ends with a cliffhanger. I finished season 2 like three days ago and it was great! The story is very compelling and raw and it not only centers on the awful stuff.
Have you read Big Little Lies?
Are you interested in watching or reading Big Little Lies?