Netflix’s ‘Pieces of Her’ follows a young woman named Andrea, who is suddenly confronted with the terrifying possibility that everything she knows about her mother is a lie. Following a violent incident where Andy watches in astonishment as her mother, Laura, deftly puts a criminal to death with a knife, the daughter begins to wonder just how much has been hidden from her.
The narrative is a minefield of twists, slowly revealing an astounding truth that Laura has kept hidden for decades. Now that the past has caught up to them, both mother and daughter find themselves in a life-or-death situation. As remarkable as the story is, it still remains within the boundaries of what is possible. After all, crazier things have happened in real life. So just how much of ‘Pieces of Her’ is based on a true story? We decided to find out.
Is Pieces of Her a True Story?
No, ‘Pieces of Her’ is not based on a true story. The Netflix thriller series is based on the 2018 novel of the same name by Karin Slaughter and written for the screen by showrunner and executive producer Charlotte Stoudt. Slaughter is a bestselling crime author who has penned over twenty novels that have sold over forty million copies. Like her other works, ‘Pieces of Her’ is a carefully crafted thriller story that blends together many of the author’s ideas into an explosive narrative that centers around the relationship between a mother and daughter.
In an interview, Slaughter revealed that the story is inspired by the realization that there is a side to one’s parents that one knows nothing about. This also extends to the more common idea of how there are facts about themselves that parents will sometimes try to hide from their children. In her novel, the author essentially expands this idea to encompass a mother hiding an explosive secret from her daughter. The latter, in turn, realizes that her mother might secretly be a very dangerous person. This also forms the basis of the Netflix series, which opens with Laura deftly slitting an attacker’s throat as her daughter watches in confused horror.
The author has also explained in the past her inspiration for other aspects of the book. Following her previous novel, ‘The Good Daughter,’ which has a deeply psychological narrative, Slaughter claimed to want to expand the scope of her next book. Thus, partly inspired by her travels while on book tours, she decided to imbibe ‘Pieces of Her’ with a myriad of different locations. Of course, the frantic plot that spans multiple states (and even other countries) compliments the broader geographical perspective employed by the author.
The mysterious extremist group, known as the Army of the Changing World in the series, is also inspired by Slaughter’s long-standing fascination with cults. She revealed how the 1974 book ‘Helter Skelter: The True Story of The Manson Murders’ by Vincent Bugliosi and Curt Gentry was one of the first true crime novels she read, stoking her fascination for violent groups to which people dedicate their lives. She also remembers controversial groups like ACT UP, which were active in the late 1980s and were sometimes described as “extremists.”
The story of ‘Pieces of Her’ draws from a bevy of personal observations and ideas that stem from the author and are stitched together using a thriller-genre plot. The author admits that the narrative’s violent opening is especially brutal because it is a thriller, and it appears that the rest of the narrative is also as meticulously planned. Thus, the Netflix series is not based on a true story but on a fictional novel that is crafted for entertainment.