What ‘Big Little Lies’ left out from the book ending
“Big Little Lies” finally answered the questions viewers have been asking all season: Who died, and who killed them? And who is Ziggy’s dad?
(If it’s still waiting on your DVR, or if you were planning on reading the book version in the near future, this article contains spoilers. You’ve been warned.)
Perry’s dead, and Bonnie did it. And the witnesses — Madeline, Jane, Celeste and Renata — helped cover it up by telling the police that he tripped and fell over the ledge on his own.
Just before that happens, Jane realizes Perry is the man who sexually assaulted her and fathered Ziggy. Based on the looks she exchanges with the other moms, they all figure it out it too.
That’s all true to Liane Moriarty’s original book ending. On the show, we see Perry’s funeral, and then all the women and kids together on the beach. But there was more to the story.
Here’s what viewers didn’t learn:
Bonnie witnessed domestic violence growing up.
Nathan visits Madeline and Ed the morning after trivia night, when the women have all decided to pretend they didn’t see what happened when Perry “fell.”
“Bonnie’s father was violent,” Nathan tells them. “Very violent. I don’t think I even know half the stuff he did. Not to Bonnie. To her mum. But Bonnie and her little sister saw it all.” He says he thinks she “snapped” when she saw Perry hit Celeste, and that he’s sure she didn’t mean for him to die.
Bonnie also goes to visit Celeste that day. She asks her to tell police the truth, and says that’s what she plans to do.
From the book:
“I was going to lie. I’ve had a lot of practice, you see. I’m a good liar. When I was growing up I lied all the time. To the police. To social workers. I had to keep big secrets. … I went to pick up my little girl from my mother’s place, and when I walked in the front door, I remembered the last time I saw my father hit my mother. I was twenty. A grown-up. I’d gone home for a visit, and it started. Mum did something. I don’t remember what. She didn’t put enough tomato sauce on his place. She laughed the wrong way.” Bonnie looked directly at Celeste. “You know.”
“I know,” said Celeste hoarsely.
Later, Celeste says she would have kept lying for Bonnie. “I can lie,” she tells her.
“I know you can,” Bonnie responds. “I think you’re probably very good at it too.”
I was going to lie. I’ve had a lot of practice, you see.
Bonnie confronts Perry before shoving him – and later admits she did it.
The big moment in the finale left something out from the book. Instead of rushing in from the wings, Bonnie confronts Perry, saying she can tell he’s hit Celeste before, and that’s why his son is hurting other little girls. Perry denies that his children ever saw him abuse their mother, prompting Bonnie to say “Your children see. … We see” before pushing him.
Eventually, in the book version, Bonnie confesses to the police. She’s found guilty of involuntary manslaughter and sentenced to 200 hours of community service: “According to Madeline, Bonnie had performed her community service with great pleasure, Abigail by her side the whole time.”
Renata apologizes and moves away.
The book contains a short note where Renata tells Ziggy she’s sorry for being “not very nice to you” at the kindergarten orientation. She also invites him to bring his light saber to Amabella’s “Star Wars”-themed going-away party before the family moves to London.
Later, another mother — Thea, one of the background chorus of women talking to police throughout the series— says Renata’s marriage is “kaput"”after her husband sleeps with their nanny.
Celeste sets up a trust fund for Ziggy.
In the book, after Perry dies, Celeste moves the boys to the oceanfront apartment she’d rented and sells their house and other properties. The boys have some behavior problems at school, so she transfers them to a new one. She also speaks to a group of hospital workers about the signs of domestic violence.
Max and Josh have a trust fund set up for them. Celeste also sets up one of equal value for Ziggy, which she tells Jane about.
From the book:
“It’s Ziggy’s money. If Perry knew Ziggy was his son he would have wanted him to treated exactly the same as Max and Josh,” Celeste had told her. “Perry was – ”
But then she’d found herself unable to speak, because how could she say to Jane that Perry was generous to a fault, and scrupulously fair. Her husband had always been so fair, except for those times when he was monstrously unfair.
But Jane had reached across the cafe table and taken her hand and said, “I know he was,” almost as if she did understand everything that Perry was and wasn’t.
Follow me on Twitter @jessica_roy.
Love a good book?
Get the latest news, events and more from the Los Angeles Times Book Club, and help us get L.A. reading and talking.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.