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.

From Page to Screen: Confess

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*Warning: Spoilers from the novel Confess by Colleen Hoover will be in this review. Read at your own risk.*

Confess is my favorite Colleen Hoover book so when I heard it was being turned into show I had my reservations. The book was phenomenal and I just couldn’t believe a show could do it justice. But then I heard Katie Leclerc from Switched at Birth was playing Auburn and I was like, “Okay, now I’m intrigued.” So yesterday I binged watched the whole seven episode season and it was totally worth the watch.

On the show, Auburn moved to L.A. (in the novel it was Dallas, Texas) to be closer to her son A.J. and try to get custody of him from A.J.’s paternal grandmother, Lydia. On the lookout for a job, she stumbled upon a art gallery where she met Owen, who ended up hiring her for the night to help him with an art showing he was having that night. Naturally, there was strong chemistry between them but with Auburn trying to gain custody of her son Owen was the last guy she needed to fall for. He was keeping a big secret and Auburn’s association with him could be the one thing that stopped her from getting her son back.

The show definitely made some changes from the book but nothing too major. The time between A.J.’s father’s death and the present is longer (in the show it’s 10 years). Also, Auburn’s job is different. In the novel she worked at a hair salon but on the show she works in a nursing home. Additionally, her relationship with Trey was way more serious in the show than it was in the novel. Again, these changes were small and didn’t really bother me.

The only change I kind of had an issue with was how they changed Auburn’s back story and the reason why she gave up custody of A.J. to Lydia. I won’t spoil it because it doesn’t really get revealed until later on but the change seemed strange to me. As in, I don’t know why the show writer thought it was necessary. I thought the explanation behind why Auburn gave A.J. up to Lydia was fine in the novel. Still, this wasn’t such a big deal, especially in the grand scheme of things.

A change I really did enjoy was Auburn’s roommate, Emory. In the novel, she and Auburn are more friendly than actually friends. However, in the show they were actually really close. Emory and their other coworker were there for Auburn and that was something Auburn didn’t really have in the novel. She really only had Owen’s support and as much as I love Owen I liked that Auburn had friends to turn to in the show.

Overall, the show stuck to the most important parts of the novel. I loved Owen and Auburn and their chemistry was just as good as it was in the book to me. Also, I hated Lydia and Trey, A.J.’s uncle, even more in the show than I did in the book. I liked that the show proves just how manipulative Trey is because there are scenes that weren’t in the book since the book is only told in Owen and Auburn’s point of views.

The show also handled all the plot twists so well. The flashbacks were set up perfectly and I liked how the end, which is my favorite part, was revealed. Also, my favorite lines were in the show, which made me incredibly happy.

Even knowing how the show would end, I was totally hooked, which is why I watched it all in one sitting. I definitely suggest giving the show a watch, especially if you loved the novel as much as I did.

You can find Confess on go90.

From Page to Screen: 13 Reasons Why

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Source: Netflix

When I first heard 13 Reasons Why was being made into a TV show I was not happy. I read this book in high school and I remember loving it and I just felt like a show wasn’t the right way to tell this story. The novel takes place in the course of a day/night and Clay’s literally just walking around listening to the tapes. Yes, he runs into some people but otherwise it’s mostly just Clay and Hannah’s tapes, which to me didn’t sound like an interesting show.

However, I actually really liked how the show was set up. Each episode was one of Hannah’s reasons why and the show jumped between Clay’s present, where he’s listening to the tapes, and flashbacks to the past where viewers get to see what happened to her. Unlike the novel, Clay takes a much longer time listening to the tapes. Also, the show goes into way more detail about the other characters. Like I said, in the novel it’s mainly just about Clay and Hannah. In the show you get to really know every one on the tapes. You also get to see their parents and the school’s faculty because—surprise!—there’s a lawsuit.

The show adds a lot to the story that was not in the novel, the main thing being that Hannah’s parents are suing the school for their daughter’s suicide. This added another level of drama to the show, which I actually really enjoyed. What’s more is the show goes beyond Clay just listening to the tapes. You get to see a bit of what happens after he’s done and passes along the tapes, which I found interesting.

My biggest issue with the show is that the finale definitely felt like a set up for another season, which I don’t want. I was hoping this would be more like a miniseries and once it got to the end of the book that would be it, but that’s clearly not the case. Moreover, I did not like where most of the characters end up at the end of the season. For me, when I read this novel, it was very much a lesson about how the small things we do and say can really affect people. However, the way the show ends it kind of felt like Hannah’s tapes basically just caused more problems and made things worse for her classmates, which could very well me true but then the story becomes less about what happened to Hannah and more about the affect of her tapes.

Moreover, Clay on the show is a bit different. He makes a lot of decisions on the show that he did not make in the book and I didn’t like them. While I think the way he’s portrayed in the show makes the case for no one really being innocent in Hannah’s death I still didn’t like it. I remember loving Clay in the book and it was unfortunate to see his character changed this way.

Lastly, and I can’t remember if this was said in the book so someone feel free to correct me if I’m wrong, but the show reveals how Hannah killed herself and I personally didn’t think that was essential to the story. Also I was surprised there were no trigger warnings in this show (Note: I watched press screeners, so there may be warnings in the final cut). Not only does the show deal with suicide but it also deals with sexual assault and while I have no experience with either I found these scenes to be incredibly jarring so I can’t imagine what they would feel like for someone who does have experience with them. (Note: If you would like to know the specific episodes this occurs just comment and I’ll let you know.)

Overall though I did enjoy the series. I found it really interesting to get to see all the characters home lives and how their “truth” differed or lined up with Hannah’s. I thought that really added to the story and I also liked that we got to see Hannah’s parents. Though Clay obviously had deep feelings for Hannah, his pain is nothing compared to her parents and I think a big part of discussing suicide is also discussing those who get left behind. The show handled that really well.

13 Reasons Why is now streaming on Netflix. If you’ve already watched, let me know your thoughts about the show below!