Book to Movie Review: The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie Oakes

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Don’t Judge a Book by its Movie is a feature on The Candid Cover spotlighting and reviewing book to movie adaptations. 

Book to Movie Review: The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie OakesTitle: The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly
Author: Stephanie Oakes
Publisher: Dial Books
Cast: Elena Kampouris, Kevin Carroll, Kiana Madiera
Director: Jason Blum
Screenplay: Raelle Tucker
Publication Date: June 9, 2015

four-stars
Summary (from Goodreads):

A hard-hitting and hopeful story about the dangers of blind faith—and the power of having faith in yourself

The Kevinian cult has taken everything from seventeen-year-old Minnow: twelve years of her life, her family, her ability to trust. And when she rebelled, they took away her hands, too.

Now their Prophet has been murdered and their camp set aflame, and it's clear that Minnow knows something—but she's not talking. As she languishes in juvenile detention, she struggles to un-learn everything she has been taught to believe, adjusting to a life behind bars and recounting the events that led up to her incarceration. But when an FBI detective approaches her about making a deal, Minnow sees she can have the freedom she always dreamed of—if she’s willing to part with the terrible secrets of her past.

Gorgeously written, breathlessly page-turning and sprinkled with moments of unexpected humor, this harrowing debut is perfect for readers of Emily Murdoch's If You Find Me and Nova Ren Suma's The Walls Around Us , as well as for fans of Orange is the New Black.

Amazon | Book Depository

I was very interested to see that The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie Oakes had become a Facebook Watch TV show since the story is so complex. I loved the suspense in the book, and I must say that the show is equally entertaining, however the two are so different that they seem like separate stories. The show is still enjoyable, however I wouldn’t really recommend it to those who have read the book since watching the story become so different is frustrating.

This novel was pretty much out of my comfort zone since I can’t tolerate super scary stories, so I wasn’t expecting to love it as much as I did. It is creepy and bone-chilling at times, however I wouldn’t say it is too frightening. The book tells the story of Minnow who escapes from a cult after it is burned down and the leader is found dead. Now in prison with no hands and the only inside knowledge of the cult, she must share the story of what happened to her her and adjust to life outside the woods. I adored the suspenseful writing and how Minnow’s shocking story is revealed slowly. If you are looking for an eerie read for the fall season, this is the perfect book.

I had very high hopes for the Facebook Watch television adaptation of the book, but I was pretty disappointed in the result. Don’t get me wrong, Sacred Lies is still enjoyable in its own way, but the plot is so twisted it is almost unrecognizable. I’m fine with a few small details being changed, but in the show, the wrong people are killed and the wrong person is responsible for the crime. However, I did enjoy the humour and the prison aspects of the show much more than the book, and I had a lot of laughs while watching.

Both the book and TV show versions of The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly are enjoyable separately, however the show is a very loose adaptation. If you are more interested in the humorous aspects, you would enjoy the show, but if you care more about the mysterious plot, the book is much better. I would still recommend both versions, however if you have read the book, it is important to understand that the show is essentially a completely different story.

About Stephanie Oakes

Image of Stephanie Oakes

Stephanie Oakes is a teacher and YA author from Washington State. Her debut novel, THE SACRED LIES OF MINNOW BLY (Dial/Penguin, June 9, 2015), about a girl who escapes from a religious commune only to find herself at the center of a murder investigation, is based on the Grimm fairy tale, "The Handless Maiden."

THE ARSONIST, her second YA mystery through Dial/Penguin, is scheduled for publication in 2017.

18 thoughts on “Book to Movie Review: The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie Oakes

  1. Jaime Lynn says:

    How do you change something so much it doesn’t even resemble the original? That would be incredibly frustrating for me. I haven’t read the book, but it has been on my TBR for a while. I know now that I need to definitely watch before I read, if I decide to watch at all.

  2. Elizabeth Jones says:

    I haven’t watched anything on Facebook yet. This does sound like an interesting show. I think that I will try the book first.

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