Book vs TV – Queen Sugar

/ posted in: Reading

Queen SugarQueen Sugar by Natalie Baszile

Queen Sugar is the story of a black single mother school teacher in California who inherits a sugar cane farm in Louisiana that her father mysteriously bought.  She heads to the farm with her teen daughter in tow to see what is going on.

Queen Sugar, the TV show, keeps character names and places but otherwise totally changes the story.  Now, normally, I’d be on the front lines with my pitchfork sharpened for this kind of book disrespect but I love this show.  It made changes that have allowed the show to look at many aspects of African-American life.  I’m not going to lie though.  I had to keep telling myself it was ok to change the book through the first episode and then I was hooked.

queen-sugar-season-2

Differences

Charley – Instead of a barely scraping-by school teacher, Charley is the powerful manager-wife of an NBA superstar.  When he is caught up in a sex scandal at the same time as her father’s death, she heads to Louisiana to hide.

Micah – Charley’s teen daughter is now a son who has been sheltered from the realities of life as a black man by his parents’ wealth and fame.

Ralph Angel – He is the villain of the book.  I growled when he came on screen the first time.  He’s Charley’s brother and is much more nuanced on the show.  He is an ex-con raising his young son, Blue.

Nova – Charley’s older sister didn’t exist in the book.  I love her.  She’s a journalist-activist who practices traditional religion.

Aunt Vi – She is sort of a combination of a few characters in the book.  In the TV show she is holding the family together.

Hollywood – He’s changed the most.  In the book he was a poor Cajun handyman.  In the TV show he is black and is dating Aunt Vi.

Remy – Charley’s Cajun boyfriend in the book.  Now he’s a black farmer who is helping with her business.


The show has a whole lot more feelings than I generally like.  I don’t generally watch shows with a lot of angst.  But this one has me coming back. 

Has anyone else read the book and watched the show?  How have you dealt with all the changes?