The Timeline Is Completely Out Of Whack
Skipping between the 1970s and the start of the new millennium, Netflix's Firefly Lane occurs in two, very distinctive timelines. Thanks to said timelines, the audience can witness major life events back-to-back, without the struggle of playing catch-up. Much like the episode dedicated to Tully's birthdays, the show's format offers more airtime to its stars, Katherine Heigl and Sarah Chalke.
However, while the two leading ladies have unsurmountable on-screen chemistry, Netflix's chosen format has its downsides. Many moments see the overarching story of Firefly Lane lost thanks to major life events, and ignores days that span in between important moments like holidays, weddings, births and tragedies. Fans of the book will know that the timeline is much more linear, with the book starting in the ‘70s and ending in the mid '00s.
Kate And Johnny Had More Than One Child, They Actually Had Twins
In the first season of the Netflix adaptation, Kate's relationship with her daughter Marah is a storyline that falls by the wayside, despite tension between the two visibly growing. And while Kate and Marah's growing connection is representative of the book's narrative, the series falls to include two very important characters: Marah's twin siblings.
Significantly younger than their older sister, the book mentions that the twins are only two-years-old when Marah is 10-years-old. And while it’s unclear why the twins' storyline was left out of the show, adding twins to an already jam-packed season one may have complicated the storyline further. Another reason could be that they were left out simply to make more room for new characters that were created for the show.
Tully’s Pregnancy Never Existed In The Firefly Lane Novel
To the surprise of fans, it turns out that Tully's pregnancy was never a part of the original book. In the novel, Tully certainly does express her conflicting feelings about motherhood, but pregnant? She is not. Giving Tully a serious relationship and subsequent pregnancy adds significant changes to her storyline that potentially may offer a future plot for the show's second season.
In The Book, Kate And Johnny's Divorce Never Happened
It doesn't take long for viewers to realise that Kate and Johnny's relationship is on the rocks. In fact, by the very first episode, the audience can easily understand that the couple are estranged prior to delving into their love story. Naturally, their separation creates a lot of drama and tension, however, their strained relationship is a significant departure from the book. In the novel, Johnny and Kate certainly have their problems, and while Kate notices various marriages falling apart around her, triggering her insecurities, the pair remain together through it all.
Kate And Travis’ Relationship Didn’t Exist, In Fact, Travis Didn’t Exist At All
On top of Tully's pregnancy, Netflix chose to add many more facets of the show. The audience may remember Travis, Kate's PTA crush who was introduced in the first episode and is the centre of potential infidelity accusations, was actually not in the book. In the show, Johnny accuses Kate of partaking in an emotional affair with Travis, leading to the break-down of their marriage. And while Kate denies the allegations, the pair did exchange flirtatious emails—and an innocent moment when hands touch—but nothing ever came from it until the series' seventh episode.
Tully’s Love Interest, Max, Was Also Not A Part Of The Novel
Just like Travis, Tully's love interest was another addition to the show, assumedly to spice things up. Tully meets Max at a bar, where sparks begin to fly almost immediately. However, unlike the book, Max's emotional leniency on her scares Tully away. Following their surprise pregnancy and more breakups and reunions, the series leaves their relationship rather up in the air.
Kate’s Love Interest, Mutt, Was A Much Less Likeable Side Character In The Novel
Just like Travis and Max, Mutt was given a storyline in the series' version. The only difference, however, was that Mutt did exist in the pages of the novel—but as an unlikable and sidelined character. While Mutt and Kate partake in a serious romance, his sweet boyfriend persona was completely left of field to the Mutt that was written by Kristin Hannah.
The Supposed Infidelity Between Kate’s Mother, Maggie, And Her Father, Bud
If there's one thing that Firefly Lane does well, it's flashbacks. In one particular trip back in time, Kate sees her mother, Margie, sitting on their couch in the company of a man who isn't her father, Bud. Later confronting her mother about it, Margie admits that she and Kate's father have a "mature" love, seemingly justifying the time she's spending with another man. In the end, the show all but confirms that Margie had an affair during her marriage, however, the book stresses her faithfulness to Bud.
And Of Course, Who Actually Dies At The End?
Potentially the biggest difference between Netflix's series and Hannah's original story was one character's tragic fate. In the series cliffhanger ending, the shocking death is teased throughout the entire season. Thanks to brief flashes forward, the audience sees Kate and Marah heading to a funeral that one assumes is Tully's, thanks to their conversation about her friend in past tense. To fans surprise, the parting character turns out to be Kate's dad, Bud. However, Bud didn't actually die in the book—Kate did.
In news that'll surely break hearts, fans of Hannah's novel will know that Kate tragically passes away from cancer in the book, though not before she makes her peace with her once best friend.
Kristin Hannah’s sequel, Fly Away, tells the story of what happens following Kate’s death and for that reason, we're begging for a second season.