Book to Screen: Firefly Lane

Courtesy IMDB

How do you feel when you hear that a book is being turned into a movie or TV series? Depending on the book, I can go either way where I’m happy to see something I’ve enjoyed get a bigger spotlight, or I’m like please don’t ruin the book by adapting it.

When I originally heard that Firefly Lane was heading to Netflix, I wasn’t that happy about it. I loved the book, it left me in a puddle of tears and I just felt that the emotion from the book wouldn’t translate to the screen. Then I heard that Kristin Hannah, the author of the book would be a producer and I thought okay if she is behind this then it is going to be great and couldn’t wait to for the series to premiere. And then I saw the first episode and was crushed.

I understand not every thing we read in a book is going to work in an adaption or makes sense to make the leap from page to screen, but in the first five minutes of the show, I felt that the book I loved was destroyed. Kate and Johnny are getting divorced and they only have one child? The whole driving force of the end of the book isn’t even mentioned, what is going on here? I contemplated not watching the nine other episodes after finishing the first because for me, the emotions I felt reading the book were not there at all, but decided to try a few more and figured I could bail after two or three more episodes if I didn’t see it improving. By the third episode I started to get into the series more and finished it the other day, and would definitely watch a second season if it is renewed.

If you love the book like I do, you need to watch the series realizing that the two are very different. I read an interview that Hannah gave where she said she gave them permission to keep the basic storyline of Kate and Tully meeting as teens but then veer off course as they wish. There are certain things from the book that they do play out in the series as is or close to what happens.

When you separate the show from the book, it’s a good show. My sister who hasn’t read the book likes the show because she has no idea what is ideally supposed to happen. Would a season of the show work if it followed the book’s ending where Kate passes away at the end leaving Tully, Johnny and Marah in shambles? Probably not. Would the show still be enjoyable if Kate and Johnny lived their life like they did in the book, happily married with three children? Probably, but then where would the struggles of life be for them for possible later seasons.

I originally thought this was going to be a one-off mini-series, but it looks like the intention is if the show is successful to have more than one season so I can see that changes definitely needed to happen to have this continue. Things that happen in the book can still happen in a later season and with that cliffhanger ending, I’m hoping a second season announcement for the show will be coming.

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