On adaptations and ambiguity – Big Little Lies on TV and by the book

HBO TV series tie-in cover of Big Little Lies featuring upper faces of Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon & Shailene Woodley - aka Celeste, Madeline & JaneI watched the HBO mini-series of Big Little Lies recently and was completely blown away by it. I was also a little curious after watching, particularly about where the book different from the TV show and what extra characterisation might be found in it. Rather than try and find the time to read it, I bought the audiobook, narrated by Caroline Lee. Perhaps because I listened to the book for a specific purpose rather than to listen to a story, I found that listening enhanced my enjoyment of the TV show retrospectively (and made me want to watch it again) and conversely, I found that the TV enhanced my enjoyment of the audiobook because I could see the scenes playing out in my mind as I’d seen them on TV.

I had a number of thoughts about what was different and what worked better. To discuss them however, it is necessary to give away spoilers. This is your official spoiler warning. Proceed beyond here at your own risk!

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