A few years ago, I picked up the book, The Husband’s Secret, by Australian author Liane Moriarty and read it for book club. I enjoyed the book and it was a great topic for discussion.
Basically, I liked it but didn’t love it.
A year and a half later, I found time in my schedule to read purely for pleasure and not just to meet a deadline for book club and picked up another of Moriarty’s books on a recommendation. This time, it was the tale of suburban school moms weaving a web of intrigue and murder in Big Little Lies (affiliate link).
I didn’t just like Big Little Lies. I loved it. Three very different women leading three very different lives: Madeline, Celeste, and Jane.
It might have also helped that I listened to the audiobook read by one of my favorite narrators, Caroline Lee. That Australian accent is so infectious and her rendition of Madeline, especially, made me fall in love with her crazy, complex nuttiness.
Here’s what I wrote after I listened/read the book:
I love it when I read a book with no real knowledge of the story. Everything is a surprise from the characters to the story to the ending. Most people will tell you it was a shocking twist but I figured most of it out about halfway through.
I listened to the audiobook and loved hearing the Australian accent. The narrator was fantastic and made Madeline one of my all-time favorite characters.
I’ve often heard people say it’s not as good as The Husband’s Secret but I liked it even better. Fantastic read.
So clearly, I’m a big fan of the story. I even used the word “fantastic” twice. But I had no idea that there was a show in the works based on this book until HBO reached out to me.
They simply said they “would love to send you a little something in the mail to help you get excited for the premiere.” And of course, I said, yes.
Inside, I found my very own copy of Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty and a $25 gift card to HBO NOW, HBO’s streaming service. And everything else I might need for my own little private viewing party.
So guess what I did next?
I sent my son off the school and my husband off to his out-of-town meeting and I had my own little viewing party.
Now, before you get too excited, that was sparkling water in my champagne glass. I was still expected to make it to the bus stop in reasonably good condition (although champagne would have been much more authentic to the experience).
But I was hesitant to watch the show. Here’s why.
As I listened to each character in the book, I got a very distinct image of each woman (I can’t even remember if this is how the characters were described. It’s just how I pictured them.)
Madeline – short dark hair, expressive, larger than life, taking no prisoners but with soft heart underneath; like a mighty eagle at times and at others, very much like a wounded bird.
Celeste – wispy blonde hair, waif-like; full of grace and charm and money, but never letting any of it become part of who she really is.
Jane – mousy, simple Jane; intending to fly under the radar but thrust into the spotlight, a stark contrast to Madeline.
With these mental descriptions in mind, I was worried about the casting of the show and if the Americanized version would change the nuances of the story for me.
Reese Witherspoon as Madeline? A perky, blonder Southerner as my Madeline?
Nicole Kidman as Celeste? She seemed a little “mature” for the part.
Shailene Woodley as Jane? Okay, that one I could buy based on the publicity shots.
So I cashed in my HBO credit, signed up for HBO NOW, and tuned in to the first episode. And here’s what happened.
I loved it.
No, Reese wasn’t my Madeline but she was a good Madeline. In fact, the entire cast seemed entirely not what I expected and yet exactly perfect for this rendition of the story.
I recommend grabbing your husband or your girlfriends and a nice bottle of something with bubbles and dig in for this limited run series (7 episodes).
Now, here’s the million dollar question.
How do you watch Big Little Lies if you don’t have HBO?
You can, of course, simply subscribe to HBO. But if you’re like me, you’re living without cable and ONLY using streaming services.
In that case, you can sign up for HBO NOW, HBO’s streaming service, and add it to your streaming device (I’ve been using both my computer and my Roku).
This is not a sponsored post but does contain some affiliate links. I get nothing from you subscribing to HBO or HBO NOW but I actually am excited about this show and it doesn’t have anything to do with those Kate Spade champagne flutes HBO sent me (much).