Why Netflix’s Firefly Lane Isn’t as Good as the Books
Kristin Hannah is a spectacular writer – I would even say she is my favorite because of the sheer number of her novels I have read and recommended to others. As with any good female writer, seeing everything she paints in vivid colors rather than black and white on a page and in her 2008 novel makes you feel just right in the story Firefly Lane is no different. This story captured my heart and took me on the wild ride that is the life of “TullyandKate”. I couldn’t put the book down even if my laughter turned to tears and then came back to laughter. I really felt connected to each and every one of the characters and the role they played in bringing the story together.
Unfortunately, all of these wonderful aspects of the book didn’t come together on screen for me, and my feelings as I watched the recent Netflix customization ranged from confusion to events not featured in the books to outright anger over some of the most important ones were relationships in history were depicted.
Let’s start with the superficial: I almost didn’t finish the series because the first few episodes were so cheesy. The lighting – come on Tully, nobody has such strong terrace lights – paired with cheap pictures of the “sky” and the “fireflies” made me roll my eyes and wince at times.
But my real problem with the Netflix series is that the added onscreen drama didn’t match the characters and their personalities at all. For example, what the hell did you do with Johnny Ryan and Kate Mularkey’s beautiful marriage and love story? In the book, their partnership is strong and comes from a place of deep respect for one another. I felt similarly about the infidelity in the marriage of Kate’s parents. Those relationships were unbreakable, loving, and true in the book, and there is absolutely no point at all for Ms. M sneaking around a man from church or for Kate to flirt with a PTA father via email. Not to mention that Tully’s entire relationship with Max lasted a year and a half.
The show was very loosely based on the book and didn’t get close to the story. It seemed to me that the Netflix adaptation was being written as a “choose your own adventure” version of the novel, in which the wrong adventure was selected for each character.
I noticed that the connection between Tully and Kate seemed real on-screen – especially in her teenage years – and I appreciated that Tully’s miscarriage was used on the show to raise awareness, despite the scene in which she loses her baby , is a bit traumatic.
A total of, Firefly Lane did not meet my expectations. Had I not read the book first, I probably would have enjoyed the show to some extent – that seems to be the case with a lot of new fans!