Spoiler alert! This story contains MAJOR spoilers about Pieces of Her, both the Netflix series and the book by Karin Slaughter.
The new series, Pieces of Her, was one of several shows to see a March release on Netflix as an addition to the 2022 Netflix TV schedule. Starring Toni Collette and Bella Heathcote as Laura and Andy, respectively, a mother and daughter who find themselves in a deadly situation when a shooting breaks out in the restaurant where they're celebrating Andy's birthday. The series is based on the book of the same name by Karin Slaughter, and you can always expect a book-to-screen adaptation to change some things around to better suit the new medium, but just how true did the Pieces of Her TV show stay to its source material?
While the main plot stayed the same — after Laura brutally kills the restaurant shooter, Andy is sent on a dangerous journey in which she discovers she has no idea who her mother is — quite a bit was changed from Karin Slaughter's book, including a big twist to the ending. Let's take a look at nine of the biggest differences between Pieces of Her the book and the Netflix series.
Alex Maplecroft Was The Character Who Took A Knife To The Hand In The Book
First of all, the characters involved in the stabbing that inspired Laura's violent actions in the restaurant were different in the book. The series showed a flashback to Laura's past (or Jane's past, as it was pre-Witness Protection), when Alex Maplecroft, the woman they'd taken hostage, stabbed Nick Harp through the palm, and he turned the blade around and slit her throat with the knife still in his hand. In the book, however, it was Quarter (a little-used character in both media) who stabbed Maplecroft through the palm, and she attempted to kill Jane before Nick stepped in and killed her.
More was made of the restaurant incident in the book, as well, because rather than just slashing the shooter's throat like in the series, book Laura did attempt to save his life. This was important because of the shooter's identity. He was part of a well-connected family of cops and lawyers, whose father had recently been killed in the line of duty. The series used the restaurant shooting as a jumping off point, but didn't get into any of its intricacies.
Charlie Was Not In The Book, As It Took Place Almost Entirely From Andy’s Perspective
U.S. Marshal Charlie (Gil Birmingham, whom you may recognize as Thomas Rainwater from the Yellowstone cast) was not a character in the Pieces of Her book. In fact, readers had no insight into what Laura was doing after Andy left town that first night, as the present-day story was told only through Andy's eyes, with flashbacks being narrated by Jane.
Paula Kunde Was The One After Laura And Andy, Not Nick And Jasper
Another big book-to-series change was Paula Kunde's role. The imprisoned Paula was barely mentioned in the series, when in the book, she was the one after Laura and Andy — not Nick and Jasper. Paula hired a man to go after Laura after seeing her on TV for the restaurant shooting, and Paula followed Andy to Clara and Eliot's cabin (his name was Eli in the series). Her motives were basically the same — find out where Laura/Jane had hidden paperwork that would implicate Jasper in Martin Queller's murder, thus freeing Nick (who had been in prison for 30 years in the book but had been on the lam for 30 years in the series).
In the book, Paula held Andy hostage, and when Laura showed up under the guise of handing over the papers, she killed Paula instead.
Andrew Died Of AIDS, Not A Gunshot
The event that convinced Jane to leave Nick's Army of the Changing World was Andrew’s death in both the Netflix series and the book, but the circumstances were much different. In the series, he simply died after being shot trying to escape the FBI. In the book, his illness was drawn out, and his death from AIDS showed the absolute monsters that Nick and Jasper were in their treatment of him.
Jane Had Lost Multiple Pregnancies To Nick’s Abuse
Speaking of absolute monsters, Nick's villainy was ten-fold in the book. As all of Laura/Jane's actions in the story centered around wanting to protect her daughter, the book gave a deeper explanation of why. While Jane's pregnancy with Andy is the only one mentioned in the series, the book tells of the multiple miscarriages she suffered as a victim of domestic violence. Nick always told her they'd "keep the next one."
Jane Did Not Slam Her Hand In The Door To Get Out Of Playing Piano
While it was hinted in the series that Martin Queller had been sexually abusive to his daughter Jane, it was stated outright in the book. Jane had a stable of excuses for quitting the piano in the book — she didn't want to use her father's blood money, her instructor dropped her, etc. — but the series cut to the chase and had her slam her hand in a car door to avoid having to go out on tour with her father.
Clara Didn't Die In The Book
In the series, Charlie showed Laura photos of a murdered Clara, which proved that Nick was still out there and a threat. However, she didn't die in the book. Paula tracked Andy to Clara's house, thinking Laura/Jane's daughter might be able to get information out of Clara, who suffered from Alzheimer's. Paula stormed the house, killing Eliot and shooting Clara. In the end, Clara was revealed to be safe in a long-term care home.
Jasper Had A Much Smaller Role In The Book
Paula was the only visible villain after Laura and Andy in the book. Jasper was mentioned as a corrupt politician and frequent presidential candidate, and his participation in Quellcorp's fraud and Martin's murder were the same. However, the campaign stops, visit to Jasper's house and the surveillance of Andy’s phone were all added for the series.
Laura Tricked Nick Into Admitting He Sent Paula After Them, Ensuring He'd Never Get Out Of Jail
The book’s epilogue showed Laura visiting Nick in prison and manipulating him into admitting that he sent Paula after her and Andy. This ensured her ex-boyfriend would never get out of jail and she and Andy were safe. The series didn’t have such a happy ending, with Jasper continuing to spy on Andy and coming into information to hold over Laura/Jane’s head as blackmail. They had to leave the door open for another season, right?
While the story of Andy embarking on a dangerous journey to find out her mother's true identity and outrun the people trying to kill her was similar in both Karin Slaughter's book and the Netflix TV show, quite a few liberties were taken in the adaptation, not the least of which was to make Laura a bigger character and thus take advantage of having Toni Collette.
Mom of two and hard-core '90s kid. Unprovoked, will quote Friends in any situation. Can usually be found rewatching The West Wing instead of doing anything productive.
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