How Is ‘Nine Perfect Strangers’ Different From the Book?

Nine Perfect Strangers was adapted from a novel by Liane Moriarty. The Hulu series changed quite a few things about the book. Some changes are so small that they don’t have much effect on the story. Others have a huge impact on the narrative. Let’s take a look at seven of the most important ways Nine Perfect Strangers is different from the book.

Carmel lunges to attack Lars in 'Nine Perfect Strangers' Episode 3. Yao and Tony hold her back.
Carmel, Yao, Lars, and Tony in ‘Nine Perfect Strangers’ Episode 3 | Vince Valitutti/Hulu

Lars isn’t a journalist and Carmel doesn’t have anger issues

In the series, Lars is a journalist who comes to Tranquillum House to write about the resort. However, in the book he is actually a divorce attorney. Lars entered this line of work because his father left his mother when he was young and screwed her over financially. When he meets Carmel, he wants to help her get more money out of her ex-husband. Carmel does not have anger issues in the book and she never attacks Lars.

Masha doesn’t receive threats and her near-death experience is different

Masha has a near-death experience in Nine Perfect Strangers when she is shot in a parking garage. This inspires her to leave her corporate life behind and open Tranquillum. In the book, Masha does have a near-death experience, but nobody tried to kill her. She worked so hard and was so unhealthy that she went into sudden cardiac arrest.

The book also describes Masha going through a dramatic physical transformation. Delilah even describes her as “frumpy” before her near-death experience. However, in the flashbacks to her corporate life, she has shorter hair but otherwise looks pretty much the same.

To add drama, the series created a narrative where someone attempted to kill Masha and is sending her threatening texts while she is at Tranquillum.

Tony isn’t an addict or responsible for a man’s death

Tony Hogburn’s life is still a bit of a mess in the book, but he isn’t addicted to opioid painkillers like in the series. He also never kills a man in a bar fight. Even Tony’s strained relationship with his family isn’t quite as bad in the book. He is divorced, but his children still keep in touch, though it is somewhat out of obligation. In the series, Tony’s daughters refuse to take his calls because of his drug addiction.

Ben and Jessica get a divorce

Both the book and the series show a pretty happy ending for all the guests. Tony and Frances get together, Lars decides to have a baby with Ray, Carmel learns to love and accept herself, and the Marconis find some semblance of peace. Ben and Jessica still have a happy ending, but they come to a different conclusion about their marriage in the book.

The book portrays Ben and Jessica’s differences as far more irreconcilable. Ben misses Jessica’s face before her plastic surgery. He misses their life before they got rich. However, Jessica can’t imagine going back to how things were before the money. The couple decides to split in a relatively civil manner. Ben actually ends up marrying Zoe and having a son with her. Jessica genuinely enjoys her life as an influencer.

In the Nine Perfect Strangers series, Ben and Jessica resolve their issues, stay together, and become the new owners of Tranquillum.

There is a love triangle in Hulu’s ‘Nine Perfect Strangers’

In the book, Yao is somewhat obsessed with Masha, though it’s not necessarily in a sexual way. In fact, Yao, Masha, and Delilah never have any kind of sexual relationship at all. Delilah does, however, choose to leave Tranquillum when things start to go off the rails. In the Hulu series, the trio is in a love triangle and Yao and Delilah appear to have a happy ending together in the finale.

The noble silence was scrapped for the series

In the book, the guests at Tranquillum are supposed to adhere to the “noble silence” for their first five days at the resort. They are encouraged not to talk, touch or even make eye contact. Director Jonathan Levine shared why this concept was scrapped for the series.

“I did say we should do a completely silent episode because I loved that in the book,” he told Entertainment Weekly. “And we tried! It didn’t work. In the book, they do the silent day pretty early on, and we just didn’t know the characters well enough for that to work in an episode.”

‘Nine Perfect Strangers’ changed the setting

Nine Perfect Strangers was filmed in Byron Bay, Australia, and set in California. The book is actually set in Australia. In the book, Tranquillum House is described as a “Victorian mansion” that was “sandstone, three stories, with a red corrugated-iron roof and a princess tower.” The series seems to have instead spread Tranquillum across multiple buildings with lush grass and foliage all around.

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