**disclaimer; I watched this series and wrote the following review when the show was first released almost a month ago and before all the hype and controversy. I’ve also watched it a second time with my mum since. I believe that this is a touching and real story about the affects of not only suicide, but how we treat people. It has got a lot of people talking which I think is a good thing, but there’s also people saying that it has done more harm than good for people who are depressed or having suicidal thoughts. If you are triggered by these types of things, then I highly suggest you don’t watch the show as it can be quite raw and graphic.
Today I’m doing something a little bit different because I just binge watched this Netflix show in three days and it’s given me all the feels and I just can’t move on until I let all my thoughts out. I’m going to quickly talk about my thoughts on the book Thirteen Reasons Why and then I’m going to go into a lot more detail on the TV show 13 Reasons Why and compare them a little bit too.
Please comment below if you’ve read or watched it because I would love to hear your thoughts!
I first discovered the book by Jay Asher when I was in high school (maybe 3-4 years ago) but I could never read it because it wasn’t stocked in any of my local book stores. The blurb sounded so intriguing to me and I wanted to read it so badly that I ended up reading a summary on the whole book and what/who the thirteen reasons were. Don’t freak out! Because by the time I got to the book, I couldn’t remember anything that I read about it… thankfully! I do with that I did read the book when I was in high school, or that the TV show was around then, because I feel like that was a time when I needed a story like this.
So last year I bought the book and ended up reading it in one day (I think I read it during a readathon) and this probably didn’t help my reading experience. I liked the book, don’t get me wrong, it just didn’t have as much of an impact on me as I hoped it would. I didn’t particularly like Hannah’s character (as terrible as that sounds) and I found the whole idea of the “reasons” tapes really awful and I couldn’t understand her aim in doing that.
And then the trailer for the Netflix show was released about a month before the actual episodes were being released (which made this whole process seem really quick) and I could tell just from the trailer that I was going to love it a lot more than the book. Just that once scene from the trailer where Clay slams his locker and screams, ‘BECAUSE EVERYONE IS SO NICE UNTIL THEY DRIVE A GIRL TO KILL HERSELF.’ I think that’s what got me hooked!
So I started the watching it on the Sunday and the first episode killed me. Even though I only read the book a year ago, I could only remember a few details of the story. That episode made me fall in love with Jackson – I mean, how cute was the scene where she hops of the bus and tells him she doesn’t catch the bus and then he’s just stuck there and he screams out the window ‘something something something, HANNAH BAKER!’ And then we’re faced with why he was on the tapes and I think he broke my heart a little bit.
Sunday and Monday I watched half the season, and then Tuesday I was sick in bed all afternoon so I watched the final six episodes back to front and I didn’t stop sobbing the whole time. How could you not?!
What I loved the most about the TV show was how real it was and how it didn’t sugar coat anything. However it could be triggering for a lot of people (there are trigger warnings before episodes with graphic scenes, but I HIGHLY recommend that if you are triggered by suicide/depression or anything along the lines, that you do not watch the show). Sometimes I think it’s really important for depression and suicide to be presented as accurately as possible, and I’m sure that it will get a lot of people talking! However, the word “depression” wasn’t mentioned at all, and it was obvious that Hannah was experiencing this throughout the course of the story. I feel like they definitely could’ve explored mental health a lot more throughout the show by mentioning the word “depression” and perhaps this will be something that they could explore with some of the characters if they do a season 2.
The main thing that made the TV show SOOOOOO much better than the book was that we got the perspective of all the characters from the tapes. It would’ve been pretty hard for a few hundred page book to do this, so I understand why Jay Asher wasn’t able to really explore this, but it definitely helped to understand their stories and grow connections to the other characters. Although they all did really shitty things, not only to Hannah, but we got to see that Hannah wasn’t the only one going through crap because each of these characters had their own story. And all these characters were so different and so diverse, as were there experiences; we had rape victims, people struggling with their sexuality, abusive and alcoholic parents, just to name a few! It was also really touching to see how they were coping with hearing their names on the tapes; for some of them, they were able to accept the fact and open up about their pasts, but for others, it only broke them.
As I mentioned before, I didn’t like Hannah’s character in the book, but the TV show was a completely different story. I don’t know if it was the actor who played her (she’s Australian by the way!) or if she was written just a bit differently, but I LOVED her! She was different, quirky, I admired her dry humour and she was a fun character to watch when I forgot about her story. She went through so much, as depicted on those tapes, and the sympathy I felt for her was inevitable.
And Clay was also portrayed amazingly! I felt sorry for him the most in the book, and that didn’t change much in the TV show. I understood why he took so long to listen to the tapes; he really was a lot different than the rest of those on the tapes and this really showed that. However, I don’t actually think that it took him as long to listen to the tapes as I originally thought. I think the events actually occurred over the course of just a few days (they kept saying the car accident with a particular character (no spoilers) happened a few weeks ago and that was before Hannah died), so my assumption is about a week.
This show broke me! I watched it right before I went to sleep, so I didn’t have much time to wrap my head around everything. But when I woke up the next morning, I was just so sad, and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it since. I laughed, I cried, it made me think about a lot of things, it made me cry again, but most importantly I learnt a lot and it really made me think about how I treat people and that you never know what other people are going through.
Comment below if you’ve read the book or watched the Netflix show, and let me know your thoughts!
And if you’re going through a hard time at the moment, my Twitter DM’s are always open Xx