Last month I finished listening to the audiobook of Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher, and since I watched both seasons of the series on Netflix, I wanted to compare the book to the series.
Trigger Warning: Suicide
13 Reasons Why follows Clay Jensen after he receives a box of cassette tapes recorded by his classmate Hannah Baker who committed suicide 2 weeks earlier. In the tapes, Hannah explains the 13 reasons why she decided to end her life and why Clay is one of those reasons. Both the Netflix series and the book follow a similar plot, but in the book Clay listens to all the tapes in a single night whereas in the series it takes him much longer and he interacts with his classmates at school as well as Hannah’s parents at their business. Clay’s relationships with the others adds another element to the story, but the book by itself is powerful. The second season of the Netflix series departs from the book and follows the court case between Hannah Baker’s parents vs the school because they failed to protect her from committing suicide, which was interesting to watch.
In both the book and series, you hear Clay’s thoughts as he is listening to the tapes. I thought it was important to see how someone close to Hannah was impacted by her death. The book and series discuss difficult topics including suicide, bullying, and victim-blaming. Despite the difficult topics, I did not find the book that emotional whereas the series made me cry several times. I have also read some negative reviews saying that the reasons why Hannah committed suicide were not believable, but I thought they were. Hannah went through horrible experiences in high school that built up inside her. Just because many teenagers experience bullying in high school, there is no reason to believe it was unrealistic for Hannah to commit suicide since people cope differently.
13 Reasons Why is an important book to read because it shows how your actions no matter how small can affect others. If you decide to read the book, I highly recommend the audiobook because there are two narrators, one for Clay and one for Hannah when Clay is listening to the tapes.
Overall, I recommend reading Thirteen Reasons Why because it highlights difficult topics including suicide and how people’s actions can affect others.
$10.30 at Book Depository
Have you read or watched 13 Reasons Why? What did you think?
If you or anyone you know need help finding support and crisis resources in your area, go to 13reasonswhy.info for more information.