Streaming Sunday features TV series or movies adapted from books I’ve read, offered on at least one streaming service and I’ve watched.
The series is based on the book with the same name by Karin Slaughter. It’s about Laura Oliver and her daughter, Andrea (Andy) and how their lives changed in a moment after a violent attack in a diner. That confrontation puts Andy on the run, at Laura’s demand, and an upheaval of the life and mother she thought she knew.
A group of us read the book together before watching the series, as is my preference because rarely can I do the reverse and enjoy the book. I’m used to TV and movie adaptations having differences but here there are major changes that impact the foundation of the story, including significant characterizations. They rattled me and most of those involved in the group read but there were also aspects we liked better.
For example, in the book, Andy comes across as TSTL (Too Stupid to Live) often, making decisions where you’re screaming, “Nooooooo!” and wanting to jump into the pages and stop her. She’s a bit smarter in the TV series though she has her dubious moments.
The one constant, however, is Laura Oliver, portrayed by the fabulous Toni Collette who mirrors the book’s complex character rather brilliantly. I wished I’d had her image in my head while reading the story because she couldn’t be more perfect in translating the opaqueness of the woman. She’s the heart of the story even though it’s Andy’s journey through her mother’s past, trying to make sense of the present and navigate the implications on her future.
I’m not surprised that many gave this series a cool reception as the fundamental plot and characterization changes from the book seriously undermined the crux and central themes of the story. It came across as a bit convoluted and difficult to absorb because the backstory transitions required too much telling rather than effectively weaving together an interesting narrative.
When we started the book, we didn’t realize a sequel was in the works, which was implied at the end of the first season of the series. I’m not sure a second season is in the future as reviews were mediocre at best. But it seemed to be a unanimous opinion that Collette made it worth watching.
This is a case where the book is so much better than the TV series. I had my issues with the book, too (see my review) but thought it compelling. It’s streaming on Netflix and starring Toni Collette and Bella Heathcote.