13 Reasons Why Book and Screen Review

So it was the weekend and I had a list as long as my arm of things to do. I’d been doing really well all week, did a ton of work with more work to be doing. All week my friends had been banging on about this series on Netflix that I should watch. I finally gave in on the weekend and started 13 Reasons Why.

I watched four episodes on Friday and I was completely hooked. I wanted to stay up all night and finish it, but I wimped out and went to bed at midnight. The next day I woke up, sat down on my couch and did nothing but watch the remaining nine episodes. Only moving for food and to go to the loo.

For those of you who haven’t yet watched or read 13 Reasons Why, it’s a teen drama mystery about a girl called Hannah Baker who killed herself and left behind tapes detailing the 13 reasons she did it. The series and the book revolves around Clay Jensen’s turn to listen to the tapes.

By the end of the marathon, I was so emotionally drained. Just sat there staring at the screen, taking in what I’d just seen. It was literally an emotional rollercoaster. I spent the rest of the weekend in a funk I just couldn’t shift. It was like I was grieving.

After I’d finished 13 Reasons, in an effort to get some kind of closure, I immediately started the book by Jay Asher. Read half of it in one go and the rest over the next few days.

It’s very different to the series. The series gave me more of a story, the characters were more developed. In the book, Clay goes through the tapes simultaneously rather than a little bit at a time. In the series, Clay listened to a tape and then confronted its subject, so you got their side of the story.

For example, it’s not much of a spoiler so don’t worry, on Zach’s tape she calls him out for stealing notes from her ‘Compliment bag’. Hannah then leaves him a note telling him how much she needed those compliments. In the book we see him read the note and then throw it away. However, in the series, we do see Zach throw away the note, but later we find out that he actually kept the note and Hannah told a lie. Which then throws the rest of the tapes into question, was she telling the truth?

I saw the series first and then read the book which is unusual for me. I was expecting much more content in the book. It was strange to see a story on screen and then pick up the book to see it diluted. Not sure what I would have thought had I read the book and then seen the series.

What made the series better was the other characters. In the book, we only got Clay and Hannah’s story. So you never got the full story.

13RW has come under a lot of fire because it apparently glamorizes suicide.

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I don’t feel like it did that. What I got from it is suicide is never an option, no matter how bad things get. The mess you leave behind doesn’t equate to the mess you’re in. This may sound naive, but I certainly didn’t think that slashing my wrists was a good idea after watching it. The story is intriguing and definitely makes you think about how you treat people. You have no idea what’s going on in that person’s life. Your actions may have a greater effect than you think.

The series really tapped into my inner teen. I found some parts relatable, I recognised all of those same feelings. I’m not sure I would have picked this up in a shop had I not heard of it by word of mouth. Teen drama isn’t something that really interested me, but I will definitely look out for more now.

Another good thing about the series was the soundtrack. Selena Gomez’s cover of Only You is haunting and fit perfect into the series. For those who didn’t truly get any closure, 13 Reasons Why has also been renewed for a second season coming out next year!

 

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