At this point, you probably think I am pretty terrible with the amount of movies/tv shows that I watch before I read the books. To my credit, however, I did not realize that Firefly Lane was a book before I began to watch the tv series. It was only as I neared the end of the series that I began to get that feeling that those of us who have watched and read enough book-movie/tv series adaptations get. That feeling that tells us the series is actually based on a book.
I actually was able to read the book amazingly quickly after watching the show. The library recently had its first big book sale in over a year (whoop whoop!!) and I noticed the book sitting there. As soon as I finished the book I was already reading, I moved onto Firefly Lane.
A few things should be said off the bat about both the tv series and the book. First of all, the book is actually a part of a duology however, I was actually really happy (or rather, content as it was a sad ending) with the ending of the book and I don't know if or when I will read the next book. If you look up the book on Amazon, you will potentially see what the first book ended with and why I don't want to read the second book (Fly Away) after the first book in the series is centered around the relationship between Tully and Kate. I don't want to spoil anything for you though so I won't reveal the ending here.
The other thing you should know is that the tv series is very mature. It is graphic, there is a lot of cursing, and there are drugs and smoking. It is not a tv show for kids. What I did feel, though, was that, for the most part, the cursing, sex, and drugs were not out of place (though there were places it didn't follow the storyline of the book at all). The thing I hate most about a book or movie is not when it has these things but when these things are present and seemingly unnecessary. I did not feel that that was the case (mostly) here.
In the book itself, there is still some of this. There is still some cursing. One sex scene is fully described (necessarily) and the drugs and smoking are still present. Mostly, though, the sex scenes are left off once the characters have their clothes off. It is not appropriate for younger teens but less graphic than Sarah J. Mass's books or the Virgin River series. I really enjoyed it because I felt like the places where the mature themes were emphasized the point of the characters' pain and trials. There were some intense scenes but I felt that they taught something to the reader.
One thing that was very different between the book and the tv series (aside from the divorced Kate, missing twins, and gay Sean in the tv series) was the way that the tv series jumped between the past and present while the book presented the story in order. I actually really enjoyed the way that the tv show presented the story (though I perhaps would have organized the flashbacks better and placed dates with them). Maybe it was just me (after all, I write in the same fashion) but I loved seeing the decades side by side rather than in order. I did enjoy the book as well though but felt it moved slower than the tv show not because of the pacing but because of the ordering.
Aside from that single note, I really enjoyed the book more (if only because Kate and Johnny never divorced!). There were quite a few differences between the book and the tv show. In fact, really it seemed the tv show did the 70s reasonably accurately but then deviated from there. They made up a few characters, created a few plotlines, and killed off the wrong character. And they also got rid of Kate's twin boys (who I felt were pretty cute kids) and desire to write a novel. I related most to Kate in the book so as I then thought back to the tv series I was a little frustrated that they had made her into a much crappier person (sleeping around, taking a job for a crappy boss doing something she doesn't want to do, selling out her friend even if accidentally).
Truly though, the book was good. It was incredibly refreshing to read a realistic fiction novel. The characters were real (often in a heartbreakingly-sad way). Their trials were full-on and relatable. The struggle to balance family/love and work/passion (especially for females and mothers) was really incredible to see written out in a book and I loved seeing the strong females and stronger friendship portrayed on paper. This is a love story but not between a man and a woman (though there is one of those in the pages of the book) it is the love story of two friends learning what friendship means over decades and as their lives change. It is a beautiful, encouraging, and at the same time, heartbreaking story, and I really encourage you to read it.