25 modern book-to-screen adaptations that didn’t let us down

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Big Little Lies

Liane Moriarty’s Big Little Lies is one of those novels you just can’t put down. It tosses the reader into the lives of three very different women, each raising children in the same upper-middle-class neighborhood. And while most of Madeline’s storyline is the very definition of first-world problems, readers quickly realize that there’s more going on with Celeste and Jane than meets the eye. Celeste struggles with her abusive marriage for much of the novel, while Jane copes with the fact that she doesn’t quite fit into the high-and-mighty place she’s moved to, as well as some dark moments from her past.

For the serious subjects it tackles, Big Little Lies maintains a pretty lighthearted tone. There’s also plenty of mystery within its pages, as the book tells us about a murder early on — but it takes its time revealing who exactly was killed and how. That’s up to the readers to unravel as they flip through the pages.

And the HBO series that stemmed from Moriarty’s work holds onto much of her storytelling style. Not only do the characters represent an upper-middle-class world — and the actresses portray them to a T — but the show balances the serious with the shallow, and it somehow maintains that air of mystery as well.

The television adaptation also surpassed the novel it was based on, delving into a second season with the possibility of a third. Where the novel ends by revealing the murder, the second season examines how that terrible event affects the main characters and shapes their lives going forward. While the second season has seen some controversy, we’d say it does a decent job of continuing the story and answering questions readers may have had after finishing the book.