Thirteen Reasons Why: A Comparison

Earlier this year I happened upon the adaptation of this book on Netflix. I was just minding my business scrolling through the menu and happened to see it as a new release. I knew nothing about it. But I recall it being an early Saturday afternoon and I was doing nothing. One episode wouldn’t hurt. I watched. Again. Again. And again. Until I’d managed to get through the entire season the following evening.

Soon thereafter I bought the book. I made it halfway through and then simply stopped. It wasn’t because I was not interested or it was poorly written, I just have these periods almost every year.

I finished it last night.

I’d rate the show as five stars. I know some call it controversial, but I’m not part of that faction. I’m of the opinion that we need to have a conversation about the topics discussed in the book. All of them. But we aren’t. Not until it’s too late and tragedy has struck. The show began one of those conversations.

But this is one of those extremely rare cases in which the adaptation is better than the original. At least in my opinion. Clay Jenson comes off as accusatory throughout the book. He almost appears to blame Hannah for everything that’s led her to make her final choice. The book also focuses entirely on Clay’s perspective, whereas I think the show gives a bit more from the other involved characters.

I won’t get into every single detail in the book I had an issue with. I still rated it three stars. The show showed us the anguish and isolation Hannah experienced. The book struggled to do the same.

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I did it

I got a new job working for a major publisher! Penguin Random House. I kept it under wraps from everyone, and thank goodness for technology. Didn’t even have to miss work!

Welp. If you believed that, well I don’t know what to tell ya. What I really did was begin reading Thirteen Reasons Why. I’m near certain I’ll release a video next week once I finish it. Too many people talking not to throw my thoughts into the fray.

That’s all. Minor announcement.

Why, Netflix, Why?

It was announced yesterday that Netflix has renewed Thirteen Reasons Why for a second season. I actually just told someone recently I’d be interested in finding out what happens once the season ends. That wasn’t a lie. What I didnt want is another season added on to something I believe ended perfectly. The story was told. The end was the end.

I think Netflix bought into its own hype. As much data and research goes into releasing a TV show on any platform, no one can ever truly predict the reaction of the viewer. Everything I’ve read tells me the reaction of the viewer of this show has been overwhelmingly positive.

Am I surprised this happened? No. At some point we have to acknowledge great books, TV shows, or movies simply don’t need sequels or more seasons. Last I checked the book never had a sequel.

Do you have any thoughts on a forthcoming second season?

On to the Next One

When I started reading The Great Gatsby I fully expected to be blown away nearly a decade after first reading it in high school. I simply wasn’t. If it had pulled me in as I’d expected, then I’d have finished it by now. I think I’ll tackle Thirteen Reasons Why. I see no reason why I wouldn’t enjoy it. And, I’m in a slump. 🙁

They Came Through!

I wrote yesterday about a package delayed from Amazon. A book I plan reading next week. Though it was a bit close, the book was delivered yesterday.

Also, the book is Thirteen Reasons Why. I mean, I’m really looking forward to reading it. If I didnt have it my entire vacation would have been ruined. 😂

Another Person Hooked on “Thirteen Reasons Why”

I think my mom was actually the first in my family to have a Netflix account. Several years ago. But then that account was canceled. I think. And now I’m the only one besides other brothers and sisters with an account.

This weekend my mom was searching for something to watch on Netflix and I had to recommend something. I recommended the adaptation from Jay Asher’s bestselling novel. She watched the first three episodes last night and I think she’s really looking to continue the series throughout this week. I think I should be given a referral from Netflix. What do you guys think? 

On “Thirteen Reasons Why”

SPOILERS AHEAD

I posted yesterday about starting the Netflix series Thirteen Reasons Why. The series is based on the 2007 novel of the same name by Jay Asher.

I watched all 13 episodes in two days. I’ve not read the book, but after watching the first season I imagine the book is incredible.

The themes of the story include suicide, bullying, and rape. There’s more but this post would be 10,000 words if I discussed all of them.

Hannah Baker commits suicide after a series of events leads her to believe her life is no longer worth living. One event was a picture of her in an unflattering position sent around her school. Another was that she witnessed her friend get raped. Another was her own rape by the same student. The final event was that her counselor was unhelpful in her final reach for help.

Hannah records 13 tapes describing the things that were done to her in the time leading up to her suicide. Those tapes are given to the people mentioned on them after her death.

What’s most devastating about the story is that it isn’t really fiction. Rape and sexual assault may not happen at every middle and high school, but bullying? Yes. Cyberbullying? Yes. Verbal abuse? Yes.

Kids and teens are brutal. There’s no reason to question this. How many people don’t talk about their time in high school or college because they’re ashamed of the things they were doing at the time?

We have a president on tape bragging about sexual assault. What’s worse is 60+ million people STILL voted for him. It’s hard to address serious topics like sexual assault and rape if it’s being normalized.

No form of bullying is ever okay. No form of sexual assault is ever okay. No rape is ever okay. Depression and anxiety can be incredibly difficult things to deal with on your own. If you or someone you know is ever having urges to self-harm or commit suicide, then talk. Talk to a friend. Talk to a family member. Talk to a teacher. Talk to someone. Because then that burden is no longer on the shoulders of one individual.

You can speak to someone anonymously 24/7 by calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or by visiting suicidepreventionlifeline.org.

This story is so much more than a story. It’s a wake up call to people who downplay the consequences of bullying and sexual violence. Why is it so hard to believe that people can push others to believe that death is the only solution to their pain and angst? Why is it so hard to believe that people who commit suicide were failed by people, policies, and institutions? Why is it so hard to DISCUSS suicide?

Just a couple of years ago someone told me they were having suicidal thoughts. But that person wasn’t nearby. I couldn’t just get in my car and go help. I told that person to speak with someone. Any one. I never told them, but I was terrified. I was terrified that I wouldn’t be able to do enough. That I might text the wrong thing and make things worse. I don’t know for sure how that person ultimately handled their depression, but I do know they’re doing quite well now.

This story is the heartbreaking stories we see on the news every week. But it serves to show us all that we are not alone in our struggles. Even when things are at their absolute worst, someone will be there. The title of the book refers to 13 reasons why Hannah took her life. But it could just as easily refer to 13 people or things that could have saved it. Every human life is precious. Every single one. Yet we find ourselves valuing some more than others, and not valuing others at all.

This book is immensely popular. Please tell me your thoughts.