CONTAINS SPOILER ALERTS
Published in 2007, Thirteen Reasons Why, by Jay Asher, took the world by storm. The story of a teenage girl who loses her life to suicide, leaves behind a box of tapes explaining the thirteen reasons why she kills herself. Asher’s book dared to talk about topics that no one else would touch. Teen suicide, sexual assault, and bullying. The rawness of the story captured readers and drew them in. Winning multiple awards such as the number one New York Times bestselling book, best book for young adults, the California book award winner, and many more, Thirteen Reasons Why tells an important story that everyone should hear.
The Netflix series stays true to the original story line. There are minor differences here and there but nothing that is distasteful. Everything transitioned from the book to the show very nicely. At points I had a deja vu moment, like I had seen this before, when in reality, I had only read it. That was one of my favorite parts about watching it, seeing everything come to life in a way I had only imagined.
The main difference between the book and the show (my least favorite difference), is that Clay (Dylan Minnette), listens to the tapes over the course of a week, rather than just one night, like in the book. Due to the fact that he took so long to listen to the tapes, the show can feel like it is dragging at times. The first few episodes felt really slow to me, perhaps because I wasn’t expecting it to change the time frame. I was also anxious
Because everything is expanded out into a greater time period, other characters that were not really touched upon in the book, are getting a lot of attention. Characters such as Hannah’s mom (Kate Walsh) and dad (Brian d’Arcy James), are given large roles in the show. They file a lawsuit against the school and are in multiple scenes in their pharmacy. In the book, there was no lawsuit and are only mentioned when someone says they’ve closed their shoe store. The type of store they own has been changed as well.
The acting portrayed in this book to film adaption is impressive. It introduces Katherine Langford, who plays Hannah, and her performance does not disappoint. The emotions in this show are raw and real. The way the entire show was put together makes it incredibly realistic and believable.
The producers did not shy away from graphic content. At the beginning of multiple episodes, there is a warning of graphic content thats states the episode contains “content that may not be suitable for some viewers”. This is very important because it gives a heads up to the viewer that there will be mature content such as sexual assault and self-harm.
Jessica (Alisha Boe) and Hannah are both sexually assaulted. In each instance, the show does not cut away from the scene or skip over it. Instead, the camera pans to the scene and shows everything.
The last episode shows a graphic visual of Hannah’s suicide. Although, in the book, Hannah dies from swallowing a handful of pills, in the show, she is seen cutting her wrists in a bathtub. It is a strong image that is not easy to watch, so be aware of that before watching.
Another main difference, is that Alex (Miles Heizer), shoots himself in the head in the last episode. He remains in critical condition at the end of the season, which leaves viewers wondering, will there be a second season? What happens to Alex?
Although there have been no confirmations of a second season, the show’s executive producer, Selena Gomez has given light to a possible renewal. At this point, everything is hearsay. If there were to be a second season, there are multiple different directions the writers could take. Only time will tell what happens next.
At the end of the day, each character has a story to tell. Their stories are important and relatable. From book to show, the producers, writers, directors, and cast members have done an incredible job in bringing Hannah’s story to life. Hers is a story that must be told and can bring awareness to the topics that are shown in the episodes.
Suicide hotline: 1-800-273-8255