Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty

It’s been awhile since my last book review, but don’t worry, I’ve still been reading!

I felt like there was a lot of hype for the Hulu adaptation of Nine Perfect Strangers. They had such a great cast and were promoting the show off the success of Big Little Lies. I made sure to watch it every week and it was certainly interesting. I feel like I enjoyed it for the most part. I cared about the characters and was happy with how things ended for all of them. Nicole Kidman’s portrayal of Masha was a bit odd, but kind of worked? Overall, I enjoyed it.

I really liked Big Little Lies and have wanted to read more of Liane Moriarty’s work, so it only made sense to read the book. I think it’s important to mention that Liane Moriarty is Australian and both books take place in Australia, so it’s interesting to me that they’ve been adapted to American locations. I guess this is Nicole Kidman’s doing, right? She has to be the reason these Australian books are being made into American TV.

Anyway…I have to say that I liked the show more than I liked the book. It was still a good read, but I almost wish I would have read it before seeing the show. It just wasn’t as dramatic or interesting and we didn’t get to see as much of the personalities of the characters.

There were quite a few changes that were made when they adapted it into a show, and I think all of the changes were for the better. The biggest ones for me for the house they stayed in and Masha’s character.

In the book they’re in an old Victorian house that has cracks in the plastic and gave me sort of an eerie feeling. I’m assuming that’s what Moriarty was going for, but it seemed like it would be a better location for a ghost story than a meditation retreat. Changing it to a modern facility worked better in the show. Although it didn’t have that eerie, old feeling I think there’s still something creepy about those cold, empty facilities. Almost like Kim Kardashian’s empty, white, seemingly endless hallways.

The other big change was Masha. In the book she was an overweight business executive that didn’t take care of herself and had a near death experience that made her change her lifestyle. Nicole Kidman’s portrayal was also unhealthy, but not quite in the same way. They had similar traumas prior to their NDE, so that was the same, but their personalities afterward were very different.

Both Masha’s pushed the boundaries to extremes with their guests, but while Nicole Kidman’s moves were carefully calculated and kept in control, book Masha really lept off the deep end. They both helped the guests in similar ways, but by the end Nicole Kidman’s character was respected where book Masha should’ve been institutionalized.

I definitely liked the way that the show handled everything better. It felt intentional, where the book made her seem too crazy. It was a good read though. At the end I found myself wanted to just keep reading one more chapter. I was glad too that they tied up all the loose ends by the end and didn’t leave the reader guessing what happened to everyone after they left the retreat.

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