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What is ‘The Stranger’ Based On?

January 30, 2020
4 min read

Everyone keeps secrets. It is either something that you are ashamed of or something that you are scared of. It could be something that keeps you and your family safe, or it could be something that can destroy the world as you know it. For all the secrets you keep from your loved ones, they too have their fair share stacked away. You think you want to know everything, but what if ignorance is the bliss that’s keeping everything together?

In Netflix’s ‘The Stranger’, a small community is thrown into a turbulent situation when a woman goes around spilling everyone’s secrets. This leads to a chain reaction that ends with blood and mayhem. Watching the characters fall into desperation and insanity due to their secrets, you wonder what would happen if your own secrets ever came out this way? Could a lie really destroy everything you have ever known? How much truth is in the story of this show? Let’s find out.

What is ‘The Stranger’ about?

The Stranger’ begins with a man named Adam Price, who meets a stranger at a bar. This stranger tells him about the secrets his wife has been keeping from him and warns him against other things in his life that are not what they seem. At first hesitant, Adam looks into the credit card history of his wife, Corinne, and discovers that she had faked her pregnancy.

He confronts her about it, but before she can explain why she did it, she mysteriously disappears. Meanwhile, the Stranger goes around wrecking the lives of others, and the cases start connecting to each other. One mystery paves way for the other, and if Adam has to find out what happened to his wife, he will have to unlock the secrets of his loved ones as well as of some complete strangers.

Is ‘The Stranger’ Based on a True Story?

No. ‘The Stranger’ is not based on a true story. It is based on the book of the same name written by bestselling author, Harlan Coben. He has written more than 30 mystery novels, a bunch of which have been adapted as films and TV series. ‘The Stranger’ was published in 2015 and is one of the most riveting stories by the author.

The Inspiration Behind ‘The Stranger’

While most mystery writers depend on shocking murders and bizarre characters to tell their stories, Coben is known for keeping it as close to reality as possible. One of the reasons his mysteries strike a chord with the readers is because of how relatable the characters feel. You can also easily put yourself in the situation presented in the book and wonder how it would be if something like that would happen to you.

To allow his readers to connect better with the book, Coben looks for inspiration in real-life events. In an interview, he said: “Almost all my ideas come from something that happens in my regular life. I then think, ‘What would happen if…?’ For ‘The Stranger’, I didn’t make up the Fake-A-Pregnancy website. There are sites that actually sell “bellies” and fake sonograms, along with bogus pregnancy tests. That being the case, my mind says, ‘What would happen if someone found out his wife was never pregnant and just faked it?’ It’s basically the real-life ‘what ifs?’ That’s how all my books start.”

Once he latched on to the idea of a wife keeping secrets from her husband, he dug further to find out where the story could go. “Supposedly it’s (fake pregnancy website) to have fun or if you’re having a surrogacy or whatever else. But obviously my mind starts going, what’s not too obvious? What would lead to it? Then I started to think, everyone thinks they’re anonymous when they do all these things, what are other secrets?” he explained. A little extrapolation of this thought process led to the intricate web of lies and secrets in ‘The Stranger’.

Read More: The Stranger Ending, Explained

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