13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher – Book Review
Clay Jensen is a fairly normal, quiet teenager who has suddenly come into possession of a series of cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker, a classmate who has recently completed suicide. The tapes are being passed around the people who Hannah claims played a part in her decision to die. There has been assaults and friendships gone bad, betrayal and loss.
I watched this after watching the series, and it meant that it didn’t have as much impact as I think it may have reading it first would have. I think I spent a lot of time noticing the differences rather than enjoying the book as it unfolded. I think that it is a very troubling story in that it is difficult for a dead person to put the blame of all of their problems on other people – even if those people have done terrible things. I also think that the book only touches on the depth of most characters, and that the series was able to explore things a lot more, which presents its own problems….
13 Reasons Why – TV Review
Because Hannah is no longer there, and we are getting the story through the tapes and through memories, especially those of Clay, the TV show is told in two main ways – partly as a series of flashbacks, and partly as current events in the post-Hannah world. This means that we get to know the characters a lot more, see their flaws and this makes the idea of blame coming from beyond the grave even more problematic. It also makes Hannah more flawed as a character, which I think works well because it de-romanticises her, giving the real sense that her blame is very much her own opinion, and not straight out fact.
There have been a lot of claims, especially since the television series came out and the story has been able to reach a wider audience, that this could set off other people who may be having a tough time and feel that suicide may be an option. This is coming from professionals and I think that they have a very valid position that comes from research and experience. I also think that there are issues, particularly in relation to the way women and girls are seen and treated in society, that are handled very well in the show. It is very much worth watching the documentary, 13 Reasons Why: Beyond the Reasons that plays afterward if you let it carry on automatically on Netflix. I think that the show is flawed, but I think that the show is important, and has importance beyond the original premise. I don’t know what to do about those who may have more difficult issues that are pushed by watching the show, but I feel like perhaps it may help to open up conversations about some of these issues.