‘Firefly Lane’ series may disappoint book fans


Lavette Williams, Editor-in-Chief

The Netflix-original show, “Firefly Lane” made its debut to the platform on Feb. 11 and since then, has not left the “Top 10 in the U.S. Today” list.

While some people may be unfamiliar with the name, others know it as New York Times Bestselling author Kristin Hannah’s novel, which came out in 2008.

However, what used to be a favorite book browning on the shelf is now an American drama television series.

“Firefly Lane” tells the story of two, inseparable best friends, TullyandKate.

Tully Hart is successful.

She is a TV host of a talk show called, “Girlfriend Hour.” She is someone who – you would think – has everything figured out, someone who has it all. And for the most part, Tully does. She has the beauty, the fame, the house and all the luxuries that come with her glamorous life. She can have any man she wants. But, it’s her broken past that keeps her troubled.  

Kate Mularkey is not where she thought she would be.

She is trying to jump back into the field of journalism after years of being away. She is struggling with a divorce with her husband. She is a mother of a 14-year-old girl who trying to help her daughter cope with their separation.  She is someone who – you would think – is ready to throw the towel in. But, something – or should I say someone – is making her hold on.

The series weaves us in and out the life of Tully and Kate and their close-knit friendship, taking us from their teens to their forties.

It is through these flashbacks that viewers truly get to know the two. It unveils how someone as cool as Tully befriended someone like Kate, who had been “at the bottom of the eighth-grade social food chain.” It shows their different upbringings and their families. It shows them as teenagers concurring bullies and boys. It shows them in college taking their separate routes. It shows them as young adults working at KCPO-TV, a Seattle TV station.

And so, we are able to witness them not only growing up, but growing together and growing apart.

Ultimately, through their ups and downs, their fortunes and tragedies, we are shown how they got to where they are today.

Could the show have done a better job at telling their stories?  Absolutely.

As a personal fan of Hannah’s book, I found myself longing for more. I’ve read “Firefly Lane” at least ten times and never in a million years did I imagine it being on a big screen. Never.

I felt as though the book had enough description in itself to allow its readers to envision what took place, and that a show was not needed. Like most books developed into a film, some of the important plot gets taken out, the story line gets altered, and characters are added or cut.

This was very much the case for “Firefly Lane.”

I felt like Tully’s life was spot on, but when it came to Kate’s, producers took away her nurturing character and swapped it for this dysfunctional one in order to spice up her life so that she can appeal to viewers.  

Steering away from the original plot, the show has Kate and her husband, Johnny in this back and forth relationship. The couple is constantly in a disagreement but somehow, they always end up at each other’s door. In the book, however, there was never a rift in their marriage. Even in their years of being together, they remained faithful and in-love.

This was not the only thing they altered. They took out Kate and Johnny’s other kids. In addition to having their daughter, Marrah, the couple also had twin boys named Williams and Lucas.  

Another major change is Kate’s health. Whereas Kate is healthy in the show, in the book, she was battling cancer. In my opinion, this was a big part of the story because her illness had a huge impact on the lives of others.

On the other hand, there were still some positives that came out of this alternate plot.

As the book focused solely on the lives of Tully and Kate, it left a gap in other character’s existence. Sean, Kate’s older brother, rarely made an appearance in the book, but the show brings him to life by making him a part of the LGBTQ+ community and giving him a struggle with his identity. Kate’s parents, Margie and Bud, are also given a bigger role. While the book did not mention Margie’s unfaithfulness and desire to escape her scripted life, the show introduces this private struggle and thus, gives Kate’s own marriage something to compare to.

Overall, I, surprisingly, enjoyed watching the show but I still believe that the book was a lot better. And so, I have no shame in saying this: not every book deserves its own film…some things are only meant to come alive on the pages.