Big Little Lies (Book/Adaptation Review) By: Liane Moriarty-Also spoilers

This is something that I always kinda wanted to do for quite sometime now, in which I discuss both the book and its adaptation in the same review.

Also this will contain spoilers for both the show and the book.

For Big Little Lies I watched the show first last year when it was on HBO. I always would see the book at stores but never really would pick it up because it was never really a genre that I would grab towards which is mystery novels. My girlfriend would sometimes read mystery novels and they could either be really good or really bad. I also borrowed this book from my girlfriend for almost a year before reading it (sorry Julie).

I am first going to review the show.

Big Little Lies

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The show premiered on HBO last spring in 2017. It starred Nicole Kidman as Celeste, Reese Witherspoon as Madeline, and Shailine Woodly as Jane.

It started with a mystery of what happened on a school’s trivia night and a dead body that came with it. Was in an accident or murder? That is what the book is trying to figure out.

It felt as if I was watching a very long movie, with nice and solid pacing. It was written by David E. Kelly who I have been following since his legal dramas, The Practice and Boston Legal, and it really paced out the book well.

What they left out/Changed

Since it is an adaptation, there will always be changes to fit the narrative. A major change is the setting. While the book took place in Australia, the show took place in California.

Also Madeline had another son, and so did Reneta who weren’t in the adaptation. It wasn’t a big change since those characters didn’t really add a lot to the plot.

Also there was an affair that Madeline had with her musical director in which she worked at, that wasn’t in the book, and I sort of didn’t like the subplot in the show. But it did give Madeline more to do.

There is also the character of Bonnie. Who in the end, was the one that pushed Perry during the trivia night. Her character was a lot more fleshed out in the book, and it actually gave reason as to why she pushed Perry off.

How it is as an adaptation

I watched the show, before I read the book, and I had the book for months because I borrowed it from my girlfriend. The show did follow a lot of the beats as the books.

It starts with the trivia night, and is told mostly through interviews of the other parents and teachers who were there, and starts from the first day of school. In which an incident occurred involving two of the children and Ziggy the son of Jane is accused on bullying, and from there it deals with the fallout from, party invitations, to wars between parties and gossiping moms all around.

It also deals with a semi civil war between the career moms and the stay at home moms. Especially with Renata and Madeline. The book dived more deeper into that situation.

It also dealt with the issue of domestic violence and how while Celeste and her husband Perry seem like an happy normal couple, who goes away on extravagant vacations all the time, but underneath there is violence among the marriage and Celeste tries to hide under all of that.

The show did a good job at highlighting the various degrees of a domestic violence perpetrator in which there are scenes of Perry being a loving and caring Husband and father, and then becomes the monster that he is.

I also liked how both the show and the book, had the same twist in which Perry was Ziggys father. The book was Jane saying his fake name and revealing that he was her rapist, was very chilling in both the show and the book.

As an adaptation I thought the show did an amazing job with the characters, and most of it lies in its performances especially by Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, Shailine Woodley. Aleksander Skardgard and Laura Dern. Those performances elevated the characters and its now suprise that Nicole, Laura and Aleks all won Emmys for their peromances.

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Both the show and the book was amazing. I usually don’t read contemporary books and especially mysteries for that matter but loved it any way. I may read more of Lianne Moriarty’s work.

 

 

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Game of Thrones Season Seven review (Spoilers)

Hello everyone,

With the seventh season of Game of Thrones coming to a close it is only befitting that I review this season. I was initially going to do an episode by episode review but I realized that would take up so much time.

The season sort of picks up where the last season left off. Jon Snow is King of the North with the Starks having control over Winterfell, but is now dealing with the threat of the White Walkers north of The Wall. Daenerys Targaryen, just reached Dragonstone with her three dragons and finally reached Westeros with her allies; Yara Greyjoy, The Dornish fleet and the Tyrells. Cersei being just crowned Queen is trying to make her moves in order to consolidate power.

This season was seven episodes long and everything was moving pretty fast. When Jon Snow went to Daenerys for help with the White Walkers it didn’t take long to reach Dragonstone from Winterfell, when in earlier seasons it would take episodes for a character to reach their destination it took just the same episode.

The meeting of Jon and Daenerys was something that fans have been hoping for. Many since the show started started shipping them, even though it was revealed last season that Jon Snow is actually the son of Rhaeghar Targaryen and Lynna Stark, so it makes Jon Snow, Daenerys nephew so their relationship is very incest. But hey this is also a show in which a twin brother and sister also have sex and produced three children.

One of my gripes with this season was how Daenerys had allies and then were lost within an episode. She lost Yara Greyjoy and Dorne to Euron’s fleet very easily and the Tyrells to the Lannister army. I think it was to speed up Jon and Dany.

 

Another plot dealt with the reunion of the surviving Stark children. First it was Bran who became the Three-eyed Raven and then Arya. The reunion plot line dealt mostly with Arya and Sansa, both reuniting after being through some shit. Both also wondering if they would trust each other, with Littlefinger trying to pull the strings. But in the end, they realize that Littlefinger shouldn’t be trusted and he gets executed which was a glorious scene to watch.

The end of the season comes in which a council meeting being set up with all of the kingdoms represented, in order to deal with the White Walker situation, and the tension was very high, with Cersei doing a little backroom deal with Euron, and Jamie finally telling his sister off, and telling her that is was a stupid idea.

While this season was a short season with seven episodes, it still told a lot of story. It also moved the plot even more forward with only 13 episodes left. You can tell from this season that the end or “Winter” is coming. Six more episodes and the show is over. It does fell weird that I am watching the show ending rather than reading it, but George RR Martin didn’t finish the books yet.

I felt this season was really good, while not as good as season six but still a great season. you see everything is coming to an end, and I am excited to see how the series ends.

Grade: A

Best Episode: The Wolf and the Dragon

Season MVP: Leanna Heady and Sophie Turner

13 Reasons Why: TV Show Review (TW: Suicide, Depression, Sexual Assault, Mental Health) Also Spoilers

I finally finished watching 13 Reasons Why on Netflix, and now I am go give my thoughts on the series.

First, let me discuss my views on the book. I felt the book was little over hyped. I did like the ideas the book portrayed such as how bullying leads to suicide, the problem I had with the book was mainly the character of Hannah, and I didn’t connect with her like I did with Clay. I also feel that we didn’t get enough depth about the character on the tapes.

The show, follows the same beats of the show, it starts after the suicide of Hannah Baker, Clay receiving the tapes and starts listening. In the book Clay listens to the tapes in one sitting, but in the show he takes his time to listen to each tape and process the information. That was one of the show main strengths, is not just listening to tapes but also seeing how the school and the other characters on the tapes react to them as well.

Each episode is one tape, that was a big plus because the story could also be more fleshed out. I remember when I first read the book a movie was optioned with Selena Gomez playing Hannah. A movie would not have done the book justice. A TV show made it so much better, and part of me kinda wishes that Hollywood should adapt YA novels into TV series instead of movies.

Another plus was how the characters were a lot more fleshed out, and you them on the tapes and also after the suicide. The characters I felt were more fleshed out were Jessica, Justin and Alex. WIth Jessica especially with what happened to her is who I felt had the most development throughout the show. Justin, while it was a douchy thing that he did , you also see a glimpse into his family life. Alex, is a character who actually really felt bad with what happened to Hannah.. Some other characters such as Marcus and Courtney who didn’t really change in the end and kept conspiring against Clay.

The performances were also very outstanding. Katherine Langford who plays Hannah does an amazing job with the role. She added a lot of depth to the Hannah role, which I always felt was lacking in the book, in which we only see Hannah through the tapes and not her as a person. Another amazing performance is Dylan Minnette who plays Clay is also outstanding in the role, and you really feel for Clay throughout the show. Kate Walsh who plays Hannah’s mother is also great in the role. She does a great job at playing a grief sicken mother dealing with her daughters suicide. Hannah’s parents don’t really play a role in the books so I was glad that it was included in the show. The rest of cast are also very good, and I think it has the best teen cast since Friday Night Lights.

The show also takes a few liberties with the book. It deals with a lawsuit brought forth by Hannah’s parents. Also how Clay listened to the tapes, instead of one night its about a few weeks. Another is how Hannah committed suicide. in the book she overdosed on pills, while in the show it she slit her wrists. Hannah’s suicide could seen as very triggering.

Now to give my thoughts on themes of the show. This show is very split on how it handles suicide and depression. One half says it raises awareness of teen suicide, another side says it trivializes suicide. Some people will say that Hannah’s suicide and the use of the tapes sees it as more of an act of vengeance rather than trying to deal with her mental health problems.

As someone that has dealt with bullying, dealing with depression and has on a few occasions contemplated suicide. I think there is no right or wrong way to write suicide, or mental health stories, and I feel that Hannah’s story shouldn’t have to match my story or anyone else’s. While for some the material the show addresses could be triggering I could fully understand if anyone doesn’t want to watch the show. I kinda wish that both the show and the book did a better job at addressing Hannah’s mental health issues.

In the end, 13 Reasons Why was a very good show that expanded on the book and fleshed out a lot of characters. If they make a second season, I think they will address the lawsuit, maybe Bryce getting arrested for rape, Alex’s suicide attempt and maybe Tyler shooting up the school. I want to see where the story goes.

Season MVP: Katherine Langford, Kate Walsh and Dylan Minnette

Best Episodes: Tape 1, Side A, Tape 6, Side A and Tape 7, Side A.

Season grade: A

Stranger Things: TV Review

Hello everyone,

Here is another TV show review, and this is one of the most talked shows of the summer. Stranger Things.

If I were to describe the show I would describe it E.T. meets X-Files with a little bit of Super 8.

The main story-line of the show is the disappearance of a young boy named Will Byers, and how his mother (Winona Ryder) and his friends try to find him and figure out how and why he disappeared. As his friends are looking for him they come across a young girl (Millie Bobby Brown) who has strange powers and who may have a clue of what happened to Will.

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This show is a basically an ode to 80s sci fi movies, and what I loved about the show is the acting of the boys. It was nice to kids act like normal kids, they rode bikes, played games and stayed out till the street lights came on. It really did feel like a throwback series.

Another stand out is Winona Ryder’s performance as Joyce Byers. She did a good job at playing a mother whose son has disappeared. Also David Harbour who plays the local sheriff on the case, also does a really good job.

If you are a fan of sci fi and 80s movies, this is a show I highly recommend. The only reason I am very vague in this review is because I don’t want to give anyway too many spoilers because the show is very good, and it should be watched.

I really hope season 2 dives deeper in the shows mythology, because I believe we are seeing a new version of the X-Files.

Season MVP: Winona Ryder and Millie Bobby Brown

Best Episodes: The Disapearance of Will Byers and The Body

Grade: A

Game of Thrones Season Six Review with Spoilers

Yeah, I meant to do an episode by episode review of the season but than I got really bust and didn’t have time to watch the episodes live, so this is me doing a season six review of Game of Thrones.

This season, in my opinion is seriously the best season the show has put out since season three. I really liked that this was the season in which stuff was getting done, story lines are moving forward. Also as a book reader I was excited for what the season had to offer because since the last two books Winds of Winter and Dreams of Spring hasn’t been released yet I really didn’t know what was going to happen.

Lets discuss some story lines. First Bran’s story line in sort of flashing back to when Ned Stark was fighting in the war. He was finding out some family secrets with the help of the Three-Eyed-Raven and also learning the significance of the White Walkers and where they came from.

One of the key parts is in the episode The Door in which he was flashing back to when Ned was a child and met Hodor who could actually speak, but while he was there he may have led to Hodor’s sanity and maybe Bran is manipulating time, especially when Hodor was told to “Hold The Door” which led to him saying Hodor, and also his death.

Another key story line was Arya in Bravoss. When working for the Faceless Men she is tasked to killing an actress, who basically stars in a Westeros version of the Ember Island Players from Avatar: The Last Air Bender. After she fails her tasks, she ditches the Faceless Men, but soon after she confronts Walder Frey in the best way possible; killing him after letting him know she killed his sons and baked them in a pie.

While Maisse Williams and the Arya story line was pretty brief within the episodes it did make an impact on her character and her development.

In the Iron Island, after the death of Balon Greyjoy, Euron takes control and willing to kill both  Yara and Theon to take his power. Yara and Theon leaves to make their way to Meeran in order to meet Dany, and start an alliance with her. While it was also a brief story line it did lead to Yara and Dany shippers.

After Daenerys, manages to leave the Dothraki army she finally returns to Meeran and trying to maintain control from the Slavers with the help of Tyrion, and in Battle of the Bastards she succeeds by using her dragons. Also with the help of Yara and Theon finally manages to maker way to Westeros while also naming Tyrion, Hand of the Queen.

At the wall, Jon Snow coming back from the dead is now dealing with the fact that Ramsey Bolton has Rickon and using him as a bargaining chip in order to get Sansa back. Snow is trying to form an alliance with other house in order to have an army to fight Ramsey Bolton to back back Winterfell. The Battle of The Bastards episode was such a great episode, with great visuals and Ramsey Bolton being the bastard that he kills Rickon by making him run towards Jon and killing him right when Jon gets to him.

When it felt that all hope was lost, Sansa with the help of Littlefinger brings to Knights of the Vale in order to fight the battle with Jon Snow defeating Ramsey in a hand-to-hand combat. It was so great seeing the the Stark banner back in Winterfell and seeing the Starks reclaim the North. Also the Ramsey Snow death scene was so good to watch especially seeing Sansa feed Ramsey to his dogs.

Finally in Kings Landing, Cersei is dealing with the power struggles in regards to her sin, King Tommen and the Grand Maester who basically took over Kings Landing and his ruling by proxy. Cersei is spending most of the season trying to gain power back at Kings Landings and it comes to a head at the finale when she is suppose to be on trial, she doesn’t show up and in her absence burns the trial room and all inside including the Grand Maester and Queen Margery. King Tommen then kills himself which leads to Cersei becoming Queen once again. But not before killing most of her enemies including the Nun who “shamed” her.

What a great season it was and it took so many twist and turns. It really pushed the stories forward and you could tell that the show is coming to close. Dany, and her crew is on their way to Westeros. Cersei is on her way to becoming the Mad Queen and the Starks took back the North. It was truly one of the best seasons the show has done.

Grade: A+

Season MVP: Kit Harrington and Lena Heady

Season Best Episodes: The Door, Battle of The Bastards and The Winds of Winter.

 

Game of Thrones Season 6 Episode 2: Home (with Spoilers)

And now for my episode 2 review of Game of Thrones, and this episode is where the story really picks up.

We see Bran Stark, after being absent for all of the previous season, getting visions of his fathers life when he was a child and seeing Hordor who was called Willis actually talk. It is also worth noting how much puberty Bran went through in the course of the season. He also gets word of an impending war that is fast approaching.

The next story line is seeing Ramsey Snow taking control and trying to one up Joffrey in the being an awful person. He first kills his father Roose Bolton and then kills his baby brother who was just born along with the mother in order to maintain control. All I could say is yeah, Ramsey Snow is truly worse than Joffrey. While Joffrey was more drunk with power, Ramsey Snow is someone who would kill someone just to watch that person die and be amused by it.

Another plot is one of the Iron Isles and the death of Balon Greyjoy at the hands of his brother. As someone who read the books, this was a long time coming since he was killed in third book. This will basically introduce a power struggle for control of the Iron Isles.

Arya Stark is still blind and getting her training from the nameless men. While it was brief it still, hopefully it will lead to something in the future.

On Meeran, Tyrion is still dealing with the dragons with the absence of Daenerys, and keeping the people in line and maintaining order.

There was also a few brief scenes with Sansa, Brienne and Theon, with Theon leaving while the rest go to Castle Black.

Now for the one that everyone wants to know. JON SNOW LIVES!!!!!! While it was a little cliched how it happened, and I knew his eyes would open at the last minute than cut to credits, but it was handled well and kept me on my toes.

Overall, I thought the episode was much better than the premiere and really set up what is to come of the season which also gets me excited.

Tell me what you thought of the episode and do you have any theories comment below!

 

 

Game of Thrones Season Six Premiere: The Red Women (w/Spoilers)

Game of Thrones is back for season six, and now comes the part where everybody does not know what’s going to happen next because George RR Martin hasn’t even finished the last two books and the show finally caught up with the books.This is actually pretty exciting for me because I don’t have friends pestering me over what happens next.

What I am going to do is review each episode of season six and discuss them with you. I will also be posting spoilers so if you haven’t seen the episode yet do not read, unless you want to be spoiled.

Now the season six premiere like most of the season premieres in Game of Thrones picks up right where the previous season left off and in that case, Jon Snow dead after being stabbed several times. I know there is many theories that predict Jon Snow isn’t really dead, he will be resurrected and etc. but as of the writing for this review he is pronounced dead. Now there maybe a civil war between the nights watch man who support Jon Snow and the other watchman who don’t. This could be something that plays well into the season.

Next is Theon/Reek and Sansa escaping from Winterfell with Ramsey Bolton’s men out to get them. Of course they are both saved by Brienne and Podrick, with Brienne swearing her allegiance to Sansa, and Sansa accepting.

Another cliffhanger from last season was the poising of Mycella who was engaged to marry the Prince of Dorne, and now that she is dead, Queen Cersei believes in the witches prophecy that her three children will die. Also on Dorne the women have taken over by killing both the prince and his son, while also maybe declaring war on the Lannisters.

After escaping on her Dragon, Daenerys is now a prisoner for the Dothraki, and hoping to use the fact that she was marrid to Khal Drogo before he died, it actually backfired and now has to live the rest of her time in a temple for the widows. While on Meeran, Tyrion and Varys are now dealing with the aftermath of Daenerys escape and trying to keep the city in order.

All in all, I think this was a good season premiere that attempted to tie up what happened at the end of the previous season and also set up what is to come for the upcoming season. I will not grade each episode until I give my season review.