It’s been seven or eight, years since I first read 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher. It’s a book that has stuck with me ever since.
The one main difference between the show and the book is that in the book, Clay listens to the tapes in one night, while in the show it covers a time span of several days (or weeks?). Although I didn’t like the changes at first, they eventually grew on me. Having an episode for each tape was to be expected, but what I really loved was how we got to see how Hannah’s death affected her classmates and parents, and how her tapes made Clay see his classmates and friends differently.
In the show, Clay’s classmates don’t want him to pass on the tapes. They bully him, and at one point one classmate says they want to kill Clay and make it look like a suicide. I absolutely hated this aspect of the show because it was just too much drama.
Did Tony follow his classmates around 24/7 to make sure they sent the tapes to someone else, like Pretty Little Liars “A” stalker stuff?
The season ends with Clay giving the box of tapes to the high school counselor, the kids from the tapes talking to lawyers about Hannah, Tony giving Hannah’s parents a jump drive with the audio files, and another teen suicide attempt… So I take it there will be a second season that deviates from the book?
BTW: Hannah commits suicide in the show by slitting her wrists and the show shows that. It also shows her rape, and another girl’s rape.
The main point of the book was Jay Asher was trying to get readers to see the hidden damage little things here and there can do that can create a snowball effect. He also wanted to show readers who are in situations similar to Hannah’s that there are people, like Tony and Clay, who want to be there for you and help, and that you’re not alone and suicide is NEVER the answer. At least, that’s what I get from the story.
Commentary time… First of all, Hannah needed better parents that were not only there for her, but who raised her to be open, and to never be ashamed about things going on in her life. Maybe they would have noticed she was severely depressed and get her on antidepressants, or take her to therapy. A lot of teenagers think it’s not cool to vent to their parents, a family member, or some respected elder, but teenage years are rough! You need someone to talk to regardless of your teenage angst and ego sometimes. If you have someone who cares about you, talk to them and let them help you! They were teenagers once and probably felt alone, worthless, and like a burden at least once in their life.
While I was watching the show this weekend, and when I read the book back in high school, Hannah took the littlest things and made them significantly bigger than they really were. She seemed so weak and fragile at times. There were times I started thinking, “Why is she acting that way?! What a drama queen!” Then I remembered how when I was a teenager I overreacted and felt miserable after the littlest things! When you’re a teenager, you have so many hormones and thoughts that make you feel crazy sometimes, and everything seems 100x worse than it really is so you just want it all to stop and be over.
Hannah felt like she couldn’t talk to any of her friends or family, I don’t understand why she didn’t call a hotline or reach out online. It wasn’t in the book, but in today’s world I feel like most teenagers try to reach out online. Sometimes I couldn’t help but feel like she wanted to stay closed off and miserable, and I kind of feel bad thinking that way. She did talk to her counselor, but not until the very end, when she had already practically made up her mind.
Here are some of the events that snowballed into Hannah’s suicide. Looking at each event by itself doesn’t seem like “enough” to commit suicide, but again snowball effect on top of potential untreated clinical depression and anxiety. The rational part of the human brain isn’t fully developed until around the age of twenty-five or so, so that also plays a role, I think so at least.
Justin ruined Hannah’s reputation by saying they did more than kiss at the park. It’s high school, people start rumors all the time, and guys try to look cool by lying about girls. It’s something that’s been going on for ages, and sadly it’s probably never going to stop. Justin also took a picture of Hannah going down the slide that looked provocative and his friend sent the picture to the entire school.
After her two friends started dating, she could have made new friends instead of being bitter. When she found out she was on a list for best ass, I thought she took it WAY too personal at first! Then people started objectifying her, and because of the Justin situation people thought she was easy.
Hannah goes on a date that ends up being a prank. The guy shows up late and tries to get sexual with her, and she pushes him off. The guy’s friends with Justin. After the fake date, another guy from that group of friends, who was probably the only decent person in that group, tried to make Hannah feel better. She was a massive bitch to him, and then he started taking her complement notes out of some class bag thing.
A friend said Hannah had sex toys in her drawer in the book, but in the show, the girls were drunk and kissing and the girl wanted to hide the fact she was gay after a picture was taken and spread around school.
When Hannah thought she heard someone taking pictures outside of her window, she should have gotten up no matter how scared she was and closed the blinds or tell her parents and gotten the police involved. Doing this would have prevented the sex toy/lesbian thing that happened later on.
One of Hannah’s poems was stolen and published in the school magazine anonymously. I understand her hurt and betrayal, but at least they didn’t post her name with the poem.
Hannah sat in a closet and watched her drunk passed out friend get raped instead of trying to do something about it. WHY, HANNAH?! Hannah was portrayed as being drunk, but the way she was reacting, she was fully aware what was going on, and she just sat there and let some guy ruin a girl’s life. WHYYYYY?!
When Hannah rode home with a friend, the friend accidentally hit a stop sign that would later cause an old man to get hurt and a kid to die, that wasn’t Hannah’s fault, but she felt like it was.
Hannah was raped by the same guy who raped her friend, and in both the book and show she didn’t push him away or say no. In 13 Reasons Why: Beyond the Reasons one of the therapists or someone they had talking said that when experiencing a stressful/traumatic situation, humans have three responses: fight, flee, and freeze. Hannah did try to leave the hot tub until he came over to her, then she froze up. I feel like a lot of people will victim blame her for freezing up and say how they would fight back or flee, but you honestly don’t know what you will do until you’re in a situation like that.
Jay Asher wrote an important story that I hope reaches lots of people and brings up discussions on sexual assault, depression, and suicide.
I feel like this is the longest post I’ve ever typed and if you read all of it… Thanks. lol