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The Sinner: Book vs TV Show

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Discussion of the book by Petra Hammesfahr vs the TV series. The linked book was written as a TV tie-in, so presumably follows the same plot.

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I'm up to Chapter 12 of 15. The whole story is still coming out in dribs and drabs, so the tv show will be a long slog for at least the next three weeks too. Cora was a slightly rebellious teenager because of her hyper-religious mother, but nothing other than shoplifting and pilfering from her mother's wallet for the most part. Kid sister lived to be 18, and wanted a heart transplant; there's a hint that Cora may have started hooking to pay for it. There is a backstory with the guy she murdered but she's blocked it out of her memory.

 

Oh, and the hubster in the book beats the crap out of her right after she stabs the other guy, and none of the cops are weird like Bill Pullman.

Edited by NeenerNeener
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I was so intrigued by the first episode that when I realized it was a book, I had to have it.  I didn't want to wait 6 or 8 TV weeks to find out what the story was.

I barreled through it in two evenings - it was hard to put down.  The series has made some deviations from the book (the lead detective isn't weird) but so far, nothing huge.  I'm glad I know what the deal was and I'm also glad I read it first.  I think the back and forth timeline reads (literally) better than following it visually.  The book details are more fleshed out and things like why Cora's father sleeps in the same room with her are quite clear.  It was written by a German author so some of the names and all of the places are different.  In the book, quite a bit happens "inside her head" regarding thoughts/feelings along the way so you get a better understanding as to her actions.

I really enjoyed this book and am curious to see if it can translate well to the screen. To provide a barometer, I wanted to break things when I finished Gone Girl and refused to see the movie.

I would not, however, describe Cora as an unreliable narrator.

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2 hours ago, NeenerNeener said:

Oh, and the hubster in the book beats the crap out of her right after she stabs the other guy, and none of the cops are weird like Bill Pullman.

Goodness! Did the police not follow up on that?

This is a spoiler thread, so all details are welcome. :-)

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Finished it!

The cops didn't seem to care about the husband beating on her at the beach; they didn't bother to arrest him. Since the book is set in Germany maybe that's not a felony over there.

I'm curious to see how much of what Cora had to do for her sister ends up in the tv show. They did show her freaking out when her husband went below the waist, but will they have a different explanation for why that bothered her so much in the show?

Be prepared for a whole boatload of red herrings if they follow all the wild stories she spun to the cops, lawyers and doctors because her past was blocked so thoroughly in her mind. The prostitution thing is one of those little herrings. The actual explanation for her action is pretty straight-forward; she had met the guy before, he was present when she was assaulted and he was responsible for the death of her sister. Oh, and that song was playing during her assault.

Edited by NeenerNeener
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On 8/11/2017 at 4:48 PM, NeenerNeener said:

and he was responsible for the death of her sister.

If you are having consensual sex with someone, and that person has not disclosed to you serious medical conditions that are exacerbated by physical activity, how are you responsible for their death? In fact there would have been witnesses to swear Magdalena and Cora hid her condition, and the doctors had given her mere days to live. Of course Frankie felt guilty (so much guilt in this book!) but her death was more suicide than anything else.

Edited by Broderbits

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It's what she wanted though - to die experiencing this with a male partner instead of her sister as surrogate. 

This mini-series has strayed so far from the book, I wonder what the author thinks.

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4 hours ago, Broderbits said:

This mini-series has strayed so far from the book, I wonder what the author thinks.

It's definitely made the husband a more important character than he actually was in the book, and I personally don't think the tv cop's kinks and family issues are adding anything to the story at all. We're also not getting the full sense of the mom's religious obsessions, which had a whole lot to do with why the girls were so messed up to begin with. I guess this is another case where I like the book better than the film reimagining.

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I agree completely! The changes they made have not helped the story one bit and some of them don't even make sense. Leaving out much of the background story just diminishes the characters.

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Ok, we're back to the events in the book. This episode just flew for me because it didn't waste time on the kinky cop. They could have done this in 6 episodes if they'd ditched the B plot.

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I just finished the book.  Actually, I like the TV show better, the book was VERY slow, I mean for most of it, nothing happened, and it didn't make any sense.  

And I have questions:

Spoiler

 

When did Cora and Magdalena/Phoebe leave the house?

How long was Cora missing?  Was it from May to October?

Why did Margaret, Cora's aunt make up a story and find a body to pretend it was Magdalena/Phoebe?  Why would she just assume that Magdalena/Phoebe was dead?

 

I think the book takes place either in the 80's or the 90's when forensics wasn't what it is today; also they're in Germany and I guess at that time there wasn't a 24 hour news cycle.  No way any of this could have gone away quietly, at least not in the US; it doesn't make sense in 21st century America.  

Edited by Neurochick
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So, tv hubbie was miles better than book hubbie. TV detective, on the other hand, didn't need to be kinky to feel empathetic towards Cora; that was a misfire. They really should have spent more time on the dysfunction at home while the girls were growing up, and no time at all on the cop and his quirks and peccadilloes.

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