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For many people they haven’t read the best-selling, heavily acclaimed quartet of books “My Brilliant Friend”, but many have seen HBO’s adaptation of these great books. It’s an eight episode season focusing around the first of these four books written originally by Elena Ferrante called “My Brilliant Friend.”
I’m sure the title of the book sounds familiar. Many people read this quartet of books a few years ago. From passing them to friends with nothing but admiration and excitement, to flat out buying them. The fact that Ferrante is also not their real name is also mysterious as well.
But as the hype settles, and more books have come out, we seem to have dropped the book altogether. At least until HBO made an adaptation of the book. It was then where they’ve released eight episodes for their first season focusing on the first book of this series. And overall it’s been accepted quite well. With critics who have read the book believe the series is a good adaptation, with some even saying it’s too direct of an adaptation, it’s clear that the writers milked their source material for what it’s worth.
But getting into this series, we’re following a story of two girls who are growing up in lower-class Naples. And, yes, every episode is spoken in Italian with English subtitles. And while some people may groan at that – would you really want a story like this told in English?
The first girl is Elena who is the quieter of the pair while the other is Lila who is positioned as the “brilliant” friend mentioned in the title. But despite that, we already know from the very first scene that Elena will be growing up drastically different than Lila. Elena will have a level of comfort, Lila won’t.
From there, the adult Elena will narrate the series and jump from that scene back to the 1950s and works forward. The episodes chart the years that these two girls spend as both children and teenagers, revealing things as they come along. Examples are their first understanding of sex and class to topics like the gender politics that were circling around in those times. While Lila might’ve been the smarter of the two girls, she did spend her time growing up in a conservative, and regressive family. This is key because early in the series, the two girl’s parents were left with a decision of should their daughters pursue more education? Elena’s parents wanted Elena to while Lila’s held her back. From there, the story unfolds.
Even from skimming the source material, we’ll see that each book reveals the story of these two girls as they go through life. From children to teenagers to adults, and even when they become older. But for this first season, at least to this point, the pair of women are still young and brimming with potential despite their circumstances. And it’s through these circumstances that people are so interested in watching and seeing where things develop. But one thing that’s most interesting of all is the girl’s friendship itself. The series doesn’t explain why these two women are friends. They simply are.
So follow this series. It’s sure to be a treat.