Big Little Lies

When I heard that Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman had bought the rights to a book entitled "Big Little Lies", and that they were producing a miniseries with HBO, I knew I had to read the book before the show premiered.

A lot of people get quite radical in their belief about not reading a book before it's adapted to the big (or little) screen, or vice-versa, never seeing a movie or tv show based on a beloved book. That is not my case. I get very excited about book adaptations - I wonder about casting, storyline shifts, whether a certain character will be dropped or two characters welded into one, and so forth. It comes from the days when I wanted to be a screenplay writer. I have always believed that there is incredible talent behind adapted screenplays, for to succeed when you have very little freedom to manoeuvre, requires incredible skill. My other reason for reading a book before watching the adaptation? I know how the story ends. Yup, "my name is Beatrice and I sometimes read the last page of the book when the going gets tough." I know, it's shameful. I am curious and impatient, a terrible cocktail for fiction!

So, I read the book Big Little Lies (by Liane Moriarty), while on holiday in Costa Rica. It is a good book. Not a great book but neither is it a "beach novel". What keeps you hooked are both the endearing characters and the nail-biting mystery, and in that way, it reminded me of Desperate Housewives but it is darker and is more feminist - the author lets some of her male characters make misogynistic comments but they never get away with it, they're immediately reprimanded by another character. As with DH, you have a mediating blend female rivalry and female solidarity. My only two qualms with the book are: I felt that the author got bored with her primary character, Madeline McKenzie (Witherspoon's character), there is a point in the book where everything she says is predictable, as if Moriarty just didn't care to develop McKenzie's character any further. My second qualm is that the ending felt sped-up, not sure why, whether it was pressure from the publishing house or something else, but it wasn't natural - and that is coming from me, Miss self-proclaimed "curious & impatient" reader.

It would be impossible to write a piece on this show without touching on Witherspoon & Kidman, and their reason for buying the rights/making the show: better parts for women. At HBO's TCA presentation for the show earlier this month, Witherspoon said “For 25 years, I’ve been the only woman on set. They call it the Smurfette Syndrome: There’s 100 [male] smurfs around and only one woman. […] Here, I’d call Nicole and Laura (Dern), and we nurtured each other’s performances. It’s really a collective performance for all of us.” Witherspoon has been growing more and more active as a producer (“Gone Girl,” “Wild,” and five other announced projects) in an effort to create better roles for women. Bravo! 

The show premieres on HBO on February 19th. Let me know if you intend to watch it and if you do, what you think of it!