‘My Life With the Walter Boys’: Why the series and book endings differ
(Credit: Netflix)


‘My Life With the Walter Boys’: Why the series and book endings differ

In the ever-expanding Netflix original content library, My Life With the Walter Boys has emerged as the latest teen drama audiences worldwide are enjoying.

Yes, it is yet another adaptation of a Wattpad novel, like Kissing Booth. Yes, it is terribly low-rated by critics. But the number of people tuning in to binge the show proves, once again, that there is still very much a market for such stories.

Premiering on December 7th, 2023, this adaptation of Ali Novak’s novel has quickly climbed the ranks, securing the second spot on Netflix’s global top ten list of films and claiming the title of the most streamed Netflix show in the USA.

The show revolves around the life of Jackie Howard, played by Nikki Rodriguez, a teenager from Manhattan whose world is turned upside down by a tragic event where she loses her family. She relocates to rural Colorado to live with the Walters, a family with seven sons. 

The coming-of-age drama, developed by showrunner Melanie Halsall, explores how Jackie navigates her new life with the unconventional Walter family. But Halsall changes the book’s ending in a bid to keep things fresh.

How does the book ending differ from the series end in My Life With the Walter Boys?

Showrunner Melanie Halsall made a deliberate choice to deviate from the love triangle resolution presented in Ali Novak’s novel. In an interview, Halsall explained that she wanted to emphasise Jackie’s independence and surprise the audience. The love triangle, involving the two Walter brothers, Alex (Ashby Gentry) and Cole (Noah LaLonde), took an unexpected turn in the finale.

Halsall told Variety, “In the book, she’s with Alex for quite some time, then they split up, and it’s quite mutual. Then she and Cole decide they’re going to be together once she comes back from New York. I knew I didn’t want to do that. The thought I had in my head was that she wouldn’t [end] up with either boy—that she’s a successful young woman, striving out on her own, without a romance. So that was one idea.”

She continued, “I wanted to make Alex a viable option, so we did change his character slightly in order to do that. What I really wanted to do was to surprise everybody.”

In the book, Jackie ultimately chooses Cole, but the Netflix adaptation opted for a more open-ended conclusion. The decision not only defies the conventional love triangle trope but also leaves the door ajar for potential future developments.