Before the summer started the entire internet and media was in a frenzy about a new Netflix series called 13 Reasons Why, where a girl leaves 13 tapes behind after committing suicide. The tapes are her reasoning why she decided to kill herself. Intrigued by the hype, I decided to watch the show myself. And I really, really liked it. It was well written and beautifully acted. So I decided to give the book, written by Jay Asher a chance.
There are several differences between the series and the book and while I enjoyed reading the book, I didn’t like it as much as I liked the TV series. And this is a first for me. I mentioned it in my Big Little Lies review as well, I usually like watching a film/TV series based on a book first, so I will still like it after I have read the book.
This time it is different and I think it has to do with the changes they made in the series. In the book Clay listens to all of the tapes in one night, whereas TV-Clay stretches this out for weeks. This way you get to see his reaction. Not just his immediate reaction, like in the book, but also how his opinion changes throughout the weeks.
Another big change is that because it takes Clay several weeks in the series and it is a TV series, you also see the reactions of the other people on the tapes. In the book, you only really get Clay and Hannah’s point of view as they are the two main characters. Tony has a small role in the books as well but the other eleven people mentioned on the tapes are only ever shown from either Hannah or Clay’s side.
One thing I actually liked better in the book was the fact that Hannah’s suicide was only mentioned. You know how and why she did it but you don’t have to read it actually happening. In the book she takes pills, in the series, however, she slits her wrists and the viewer gets to see it unfold. I do appreciate that they showed the painful and horrible side of suicide, though, instead of the romanticised version, you sometimes get to see on TV or film.
Since I spent so much time comparing the book and series, I will now try to dive into some of the topics the book covered. The biggest is, of course, suicide. However, the book also covers rape, consent, bullying, depression and what being an outsider means. I liked how these topics where brought up and how they fit together in the grand scheme of things. Not just in the book, but in real life too. The book doesn’t offer a solution to those problems, but it analyses them quite well.
All in all, and if I could change time, I would probably read the book first. I still liked the book though. I even finished it in about five hours. (I had to wait at the airport a lot.) The one thing I am not sure yet, however is, if I will buy a non e-book copy of the book. Did you read the book or only watched the series? And if you have read it, did you like it? Did you like the Netflix series? Let me know in the comments.