Book To Screen Analysis: Thirteen Reasons Why

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It's currently all anybody can talk about: Thirteen Reasons Why has made it to Netflix. I read the book many years ago, and I always felt that it was an important and powerful piece about the severity behind every action -- including the ones that you may think are no big deal.

So, needless to say, when the show finally came to Netflix, I hopped online right away. As somebody who has read the book (and as a resident English geek who will always push for reading a book before watching a movie), I wanted to see what the hype was all about. 

Overall, I really enjoyed the show. It definitely gave deeper backstories to all of the characters than the books did. It was also a lot more graphic (perhaps not suited for younger viewers), but I feel like that was important. I've heard a lot of talk about this show glorifying suicide, but I don't think that's the case. I think that the graphic suicide scene was necessary, even though I am a super squeamish person and had to watch with my eyes peeking out from under my hands. (And even then, I had a hard time.) I think that scene did the total opposite of glorifying suicide -- it showed the gory, ugly side of it, the side that nobody except the victim sees, and the side that shows everyone just how horrible suicide truly is. The same goes for the rape scenes -- implications can only go so far. Seeing it (and being uncomfortable by it) with your own two eyes hits home in an entirely different way. That's part of the reason I think this show is powerful in ways the book can't be -- because words on a page are incredibly important, but the message won't ever come across the same way as if you saw something with your own eyes.

As for Clay and Hannah? Oh my god. Episode 11 in and of itself made me cry happy and sad tears at the same time, and I've gone back and rewatched it multiple times already. I LOVED THEM SO MUCH, GUYS. I LOVED THEM IN THE BOOK AND I LOVE THEM NOW.

Now that the show is becoming the "thing" to watch, I'm seeing a lot of memes and jokes -- especially on Twitter -- and I feel like those are what's making light of the situation, not the show itself. People default to humor when they are uncomfortable, and there are plenty of jerks out there that have been making "welcome to your tape" jokes on Twitter, as if Hannah made tapes for every single thing anybody has ever done that made her upset. Which isn't true. The thirteens tapes symbolized small but significant things that people did that caused her to end her life -- not somebody not giving her a pen in class. (Yep, I saw one particular Tweet that made a joke like that, and it made me very angry.)

This show (and this book) should shock you and horrify you while also managing to make you aware of the little ways you treat those around you, and it should make you strive to be a better person. Not to make Twitter memes.

Overall, if you're on the fence about starting the show, I definitely think you should. It's dark and heavy, with a few happy scenes in between, but I think that the sadness is necessary, and that the show was very tastefully done. However, as a total book geek, I also recommend that after watching the show, you pick up the book as well. It's a totally different experience, but an important one all the same. If Netflix made a second season of the series to explain further what happened, I wouldn't mind that. In fact, I'd enjoy it. But if they let it spin off into a multi-season disaster (i.e. Pretty Little Liars), then I'll start to be disappointed.

I'm glad I watched this. I always knew that the things you said and did to people could hurt them more than you could ever imagine, but I feel like this show demonstrated that very, very well. I'm impressed with what I watched, and I'm looking forward to a potential second season.

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