Big Little Lies: Book vs. TV Show

Story by Sarah Flakus, Editor/Staff Writer

In 2017, HBO transformed Liane Moriarty’s hit book “Big Little Lies” into a seven-episode T.V. series starring Reese Witherspoon, Shailene Woodley, Nicole Kidman, Zoe Kravitz, and Laura Dern.

Although the show has a second season, the entirety of Moriarty’s book was covered in the first season. The story follows the lives of three mothers and how an elementary school fundraiser ends in murder. Madeline, played by Reese Witherspoon, is very opinionated and feisty with a love of conflict, Celeste, played by Nicole Kidman, is beautiful with a seemingly perfect marriage that behind closed doors isn’t so perfect, and Jane, played by Shailene Woodley, is a single mother with a dark secret.

Like any book converted into a movie or T.V. show, there are several differences between the two works of art. For example, the book is set in Syndey, Australia, and the show is all about the lives of the women in the Monterrey California society. Also, the ending in the show had some major differences than in the book; however, that could be due to the fact that season two was made, so they had to fit the plotline accordingly.

However, the biggest difference was that there was a whole new plotline added to the show. In the show, Madeline deals with the production of the musical “Avenue Q” and the controversy surrounding it in her town. This intensified the relationships between Madeline and several other characters making the show more dramatic, however, no such plotline existed in the original novel.

Along with the differences though, there were many good and accurate things to come out of the show. The basic plot remained the same, and the casting of each of the women was incredible. Reese Witherspoon captured Madeline’s quirky, determined essence perfectly, Nicole Kidman was phenomenal at embodying the beautiful yet tortured Celeste, and Shailene Woodley really captured the struggle of being a single mom. All the characters were perfect parts funny and dramatic and the show did a great job at mixing the light and the dark sides of the plotline of Moriarty’s original story.

Moriarty’s “Big Little Lies” is a truly capturing book and its T.V. show counterpart, despite some differences, is just as capturing to the audience.