Every Single Way The "Big Little Lies" Book Is Different From The Show
Including a Tom Cruise reference and why Amabella is named Amabella. (Warning: ALL OF THE SPOILERS!)
1. The book takes place in a fictional place called the Pirriwee Peninsula in Australia, not Monterey, California.
2. The children are entering kindergarten instead of first grade.
3. Their kindergarten orientation day takes place months before school actually starts, not the day before.
4. Bonnie is also interviewed in the sections involving the police investigation.
5. Celeste, Madeline, and Jane all go out to brunch during orientation and drink mimosas in celebration of Madeline’s birthday, which leads other parents to believe they're drunk when they pick up their kids later that day.
6. When Madeline first gives Jane a rundown of their town, Jane asks what the dads at the school are like.
7. Renata explicitly explains that her daughter’s name is Amabella when she introduces herself at orientation. She says, “That’s Amabella, by the way, not Annabella. It’s French. We didn’t make it up.”
8. Madeline doesn’t immediately come to Jane’s defense when Amabella accuses Ziggy of hurting her.
9. In addition to her younger daughter, Chloe, Madeline also has a son named Fred with Ed.
10. Perry is described in relation to Tom Cruise in a section of the book about Celeste, who’s played by Nicole Kidman on the show, who, as we all know, used to be married to Cruise. “Women always took to Perry," the author, Liane Moriarty, writes. "It was that Tom Cruise, white-toothed smile and the way he gave them his full attention."
11. Jane explains that her son Ziggy is, in fact, named after Ziggy Marley.
12. Thanks to the interviews that are included from the police investigations, the reader learns early on that it’s a parent who dies in the end.
13. Jane’s parents are present characters, and when Jane’s mom meets Madeline, she asks her to watch out for Jane.
14. Madeline is working on a production of King Lear, not Avenue Q.
15. Jane describes her rape as something she can clearly remember, including that her rapist was verbally abusive and called her a “fat ugly little girl.” He also asked if she wanted to watch a movie after, and she said goodbye when she left him in the hotel room.
16. Jane says after her rape, she developed an eating disorder and became insecure about her body.
17. Celeste goes to therapy alone, without Perry.
18. It is Celeste’s idea to get her own apartment, not her therapist’s.
19. Madeline starts a book club with the other moms from school.
20. Jane tells Madeline that her rapist’s name is Saxon Banks, and in a conversation between Celeste and Madeline, we find out that Perry has a cousin named Saxon Banks. The two women assume he's Jane’s rapist and Ziggy’s father.
21. Celeste and Perry’s babysitter, who’s an older woman, seems to be aware of the abuse in their relationship.
22. The principal of Pirriwee is a woman.
23. Jane and Miss Barnes, Ziggy’s teacher, have a friendly relationship.
24. Jane volunteers to help read with the children in Ziggy’s class, and when she has alone time with Amabella, she asks her if Ziggy is the one who has been bullying her.
25. Ed is a journalist, not a web developer.
26. Renata and Perry know each other through work.
27. Renata’s husband, Geoff, has an affair with Juliette, their French nanny (there's no mention of Madeline having any affairs in the book).
28. Abigail, Madeline’s oldest daughter, actually goes through with publishing her website about auctioning off her virginity to raise awareness about child sex trafficking.
29. In the book, Abigail is 14 years old instead of 16, which makes her auction illegal because she’s not of the legal age to give consent.
30. Perry was bullied as a kid, and his cousin Saxon came to his defense.
31. Madeline accidentally drives into the back of Renata’s car at pickup after school.
32. Jane gets a very dramatic haircut.
33. The only reason Abigail shuts down her virginity auction is because someone offers to donate $100,000 to Amnesty International if she closes her auction immediately.
34. Madeline invites Tom to sit at her table at the school’s trivia night; he and Jane technically don’t show up to the event as each other’s dates.
35. Celeste’s son, Josh, is the one who tells her that her other son, Max, has been bullying Amabella and Skye.
36. After Perry finds out that Celeste has rented her own apartment, the couple fight in the car but they walk into trivia night together.
37. Bonnie accidentally spills her drink on Madeline in the middle of a tense moment between them, instead of Ed accidentally spilling his drink on Nathan.
38. Celeste approaches Jane (not the other way around) at trivia night about how Max is the one bullying Amabella.
39. Most of the women’s husbands are present when Perry is murdered. Madeline, Ed, Jane, Renata, Bonnie, Nathan, Celeste, and Perry are all on the balcony outside of the school’s trivia night leading up to Perry’s death.
40. Jane immediately recognizes Perry as her rapist and says to him, “I think we’ve already met… Except you said your name was Saxon Banks.”
41. Jane also reveals that she moved to the Pirriwee Peninsula because the night she was raped, she saw that Perry had a real estate brochure for that area, and she wanted to find him.
42. Celeste confronts Perry in front of everyone, then throws her drink in his face. After Perry hits Celeste, Bonnie tells him that Max is hurting Skye because he sees how his father behaves. That’s when she pushes him and he falls to his death.
43. Starting with Renata, all of the women agree that they “didn’t see anything” happen on the balcony in order to protect Bonnie, which upsets Ed.
44. We find out that Bonnie’s father was violent toward her mother, which is what triggered her reaction to push Perry.
45. Both Madeline and Jane end up injured in the hospital after trivia night because of a brawl that occurred inside the event, separate from Perry’s murder.
46. Nathan visits Madeline in the hospital and asks her to lie to the police for Bonnie. She agrees, which upsets Ed, who makes it known that he’s deeply unhappy about not telling the truth. There’s a struggle between them about whether or not he’s going to tell the truth.
47. In the aftermath of Perry’s death, Bonnie visits Celeste at her home and discusses the events of that night. At this point, Celeste and Jane haven’t spoken.
48. Bonnie confesses to murdering Perry and is sentenced to 200 hours of community service.
49. Celeste goes back to work, decides to still move in to her new apartment with Max and Josh, sells their old house, and she also sets up a trust fund for Ziggy.
This post has been updated to reflect that Madeline did not engage in an affair in the book version of Big Little Lies.