Books · Miscellaneous

13 Reasons Why – TV Show Review

I listened to the audiobook of this story last year and I reread this a few weeks before the show came out. I intended to review the book last year and I reread it to write a book review before the show came out but even though this book has impacted me so much and has kept me thinking for days, I just couldn’t express my thoughts on it without it sounding like gibberish. I love this book, and I think it’s fantastic and so, so important but I don’t know how to express that. I can’t say it’s beautiful, because it’s not – it’s horrifying. I can’t say that I liked the characters because well, I didn’t. There’s so much to say about the book, but I just couldn’t explain how I feel about it eloquently.

However, I digress. This post is about the Netflix adaptation of the book written by Jay Asher, produced by Selena Gomez. This post has no spoilers, don’t worry. My spoiler-y discussion will be up tomorrow and when it is I’ll link it here.

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The story of the show and the book are somewhat similar – Hannah Baker commits suicide, she leaves 13 tapes for the thirteen people who were the reason she wanted to kill herself. Clay Jensen, Hannah’s coworker and friend receives the tapes and both the book and the show follow his journey listening to the tapes. The events of the book are only of a single night as Clay listens to the tapes in rapid succession but in the show, he takes his time as he cannot listen to a tape for a long time without getting mildly terrified. Like Clay, I took a while to finish the show because I couldn’t keep watching for an extended period of time because it gave me chills.

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Since the show spans over a longer period of time, it also delves into all the characters’ lives a lot more. The book is just about Clay and his experiences with Hannah but the show tells the story from everyone else’s point of view as well. That was a great addition to the original story as it added depth to everyone’s character and made them all so real. They all had things going on in their lives which drove them to do what they did and I’ll be honest, I hated all of the other characters while reading the book but on watching the show, I understand them better. I still don’t love them all, but I understand that they didn’t mean to hurt Hannah, they were mostly just looking out for themselves. But quoting the show, “Everything effects everything.” The show’s portrayal of ‘The Butterfly Effect’ is fantastic and is going to make everyone who watches it really think about what they say or do to people because you never know what someone else is going through. Another really good addition to the show is that all the characters’ parents have an important role in the story. I loved that they added that in the show!

The acting in the show is phenomenal. All the actors played their parts incredibly. I hated the ones I was supposed to hate and I felt for the ones that were a little bit lost. They all really got into their roles which made the show feel all the more realistic. Something else that I noticed was the diversity of the cast. I don’t really remember how the characters were described in the book but I liked that they were more diverse in the show. There were times when I genuinely had to remind myself that I’m not looking at a real high school and all the things that were happening in the show are fictitious. The fact that it was so realistic and believable made it all the more scary for me because there may just be people going through something like Hannah is and that, for lack of a better word, sucks. That really, really sucks.

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Every episode is structured really nicely with equal amounts of the past and the present without mixing them up. The transitions between Hannah’s experiences on the tapes and Clay’s in the present are flawless. There are some parts when Clay bikes to a place that Hannah talks about so it looks like Clay is looking at what was happening to Hannah – those scenes are shot beautifully. If I hadn’t read the book, I definitely would have found it quite mysterious as well because each episode ends with a bit of a teaser for the next one.

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I think this show is very important but at the same time, I don’t recommend that everyone goes and watches it because it is quite dark and disturbing at times. It talks about suicide, bullying, mental health, rape, drug abuse and a lot of serious issues that are very relevant to today’s youth. There are a few really intense scenes in the last three or four episodes which I found difficult to watch and I will admit, I cried a lot while watching this. It definitely hit harder actually seeing everything happening instead of reading it or listening to an audiobook.

This story is heartbreaking, thought provoking and very, very important. If you think you can handle it, I recommend you watch it but if you can’t, that’s okay because it’s not for everyone. It ends rather abruptly so I’m hoping there’s a second season.


Let's chat (1)

Have you read the book? Have you seen the show? Which do you prefer? What were your thoughts on the show? If you haven’t seen it yet, do you plan on watching it?

 

 

 

 

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18 thoughts on “13 Reasons Why – TV Show Review

  1. I haven’t watched the series, but I remember loving the book when it came out. I really love the way it showed how all the things we may think of as “small stuff” can snowball into something larger, and how every small gesture/word matters.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes I think it’s one of the only books I’ve read that shows that even the slightest things you do can affect people. If you aren’t triggered by graphic scenes, you should try to watch the show sometime because it’ll give you a different perspective on all the characters and their stories. It’s a great show.

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  2. I’m watching the show right now. I’m at episode 7, so I’m about halfway through. I haven’t read the book or anything but I knew what it was about. To be honest, I didn’t expect much. I thought it was going to be another typical high school story. Boy, was I wrong.
    I’ve actually never seen a more realistic way of portraying what goes on in high school and in teenagers’ lives. There are a lot of secrets and it’s complex (not everything is black-and-white) which I love.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve read the book but I expected the show to be a cliche high school story but I loved that they stayed true to the essence of the book and made this realistic, unflinching show. ❤ The secrets and the complexities make it feel almost like a mystery, I felt.
      Let me know if you like the show when you're done!

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      1. Update: Okay, so I finished it a couple of days ago and I LOVED it ❤
        It's very intense, though. I couldn't binge-watch more than two or three episodes because it got too heavy (especially near the end). But, like you said, I loved how it was realistic and unflinching. It didn't shy away from talking (and showing) things that are hard to talk about (or aren't even talked about when they should be).
        It's a shame that the show's starting to get backlash though… Somehow, I feel that's going to stop others from making similar content when that's something we absolutely need. We need more tv shows and books and movies that explore these topics and don't apologize for it.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. You summed it all up wonderfully! 😊
        Yeah I’ve started to see so many posts on Facebook and Instagram about how the show romanticized suicide and I just didn’t see that at all! I thought it reinforced that suicide is never the answer and there always going to be people like Clay and Tony who will be willing to listen.
        I hope we get more content like this. As much as I love cheesy high school shows, we need more representation of what high school is really like. Hope the backlash doesn’t affect the future production of similar shows highlighting important issues!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Thank you 😊 And I couldn’t agree more! I think the show did a good job at showing us Hannah’s story, the story of someone who suffered mentally and physically. Like I said in my review, it’s not the utopian message a lot of those critics want to see but I still think it’s true to reality.
        I love my cheesy high school shows too but you’re right. There should definitely be more serious / realistic shows that tackle important issues

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      4. We were just talking about how this is very realistic but it’s been getting a bit of backlash and now my school counselor has put this long post on why no one should watch 13RW on my school’s Facebook page. .-. She wrote about how it’s not a realistic depiction of schools and glorifies suicide. :/ I didn’t think it glorified suicide at all, I thought it showed how it was a terrible thing to do!

        Liked by 1 person

      5. I don’t think so either. To be honest, I think a lot of it is part of the snowball effect. Once someone shouts out it’s glorifying suicide, the others just join in. It’s sad that’s the only thing they’re focusing on right now instead of raising awareness for mental illnesses, bullying, etc. which was essentially the point of the show. And don’t get me started on how everyone’s now hating on Hannah and making all kinds of jokes and memes about the show. Ugh. 😞

        Liked by 1 person

      6. Yeah. The first week or so was full of positivity from people who understood what the show was trying to portray and now it’s just a mix of people saying they don’t like it / it glorified suicide.
        UGH OH MY GOD yes I hate that it’s becoming this ‘trend’ and there are so many stupid memes that are just lowering the value of the show 😦 I saw a bunch of people put this ‘Let’s play 13 Reasons Why’ on their Instagram stories where they said they’ll tell anyone who responds to the story with whether they would make a tape on them or not and that’s just the opposite of what the show was trying to say and I got so annoyed about that!!!

        Liked by 1 person

      7. OMG. I hadn’t even heard about that yet. God, why do some people have to turn something that’s meant to be good into something potentially harmful? You’re right. That’s the complete opposite of what was supposed to happen

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I am watching this series right now. I haven’t read the book yet, but I’ve heard from several that the show is so much better. I don’t think I’ve ever heard that before about any other book adaptation! LOL

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The show is much more detailed than the book but still captured the essence of the story. Usually in adaptations they cut out a lot of parts – that wasn’t the case here 😛

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m happy you’re liking it! Binging this would have made all the tapes a bit muddled in my brain so I took my time but however you like it! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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