***Please be warned that there will be spoilers on this particular post. Mostly are my thoughts but it can still ruin the book or show for you if haven’t read or watched it.***
The story started with Clay Jensen getting a box of cassette tapes when he got home from school. There were no return address or anything. Feeling excited, he immediately listened to it. Got a wee bit surprised when he heard the voice of Hannah Baker, a girl from his school that killed herself, blasted from the speakers. In there, she stated that these tapes contain the 13 people (reasons) why she killed herself.
II. The Novel & The TV Show
I got a hand of this way back in 2012. It was on those days when I was in such a bad place. This intriguing novel by Jay Asher actually helped me.
If you’ve only watched the TV show, you’ll realize that there’s more drama in it. Unlike with the books, it is focused on Clay’s reaction and memories alone and on what Hannah’s tapes contain. Nothing else, nothing more. Although, I admit, there are some reasons that seems to be a little low but I guess if you’re really on the edge, it will affect you in a big way.
An adaption wouldn’t be an adaption without any changes or cuts. Here are some that I can actually remember.
- Tony isn’t gay in the novel.
- The Bakers’ family business is a shoe store (novel) instead of a convenience story/pharmacy (show)
- Jenny is the name of the cheerleader who bumped into the sign (novel). In the show they changed it to Sherri.
- Mr. Porter is a plain old guidance counselor. He’s also an English teacher in the novel.
- Clay finished the tapes in one night. It took him forever to finish the tapes in the show.
- They cut off that one party where Hannah proved that Courtney is a user (novel).
- They sort of changed the happenings on Courtney’s tapes in the show. There wasn’t any girl-on-girl action on the novels and Courtney wasn’t gay as well.
- The list. In the novel, the sequence is Justin, Alex, Jessica, Tyler, Courtney, Marcus, Zach, Ryan, Clay, Justin again, Jenny, Bryce and Mr. Porter. In the show, the sequence is Justin, Jessica, Alex, Tyler, Courtney, Marcus, Zach, Ryan, Justin again, Sherri, Clay, Bryce and Mr. Porter.
- How Tony admitted that he knows about the tapes.
- TV show Clay is kind of dramatic, problematic, insensitive, pesky, and kind of mean (he took a picture of Tyler’s butt and sent it to everyone), Novel Clay is actually a nice, studious, sensitive, and oblivious (he couldn’t even throw a stone at Tyler’s window and just accepted and took everything).
- Bryce isn’t actually rich, unlike in the show where everyone seems to be afraid of him.
- Jeff Atkins wasn’t in the book.
- Hannah took pills instead of slashing her wrist.
And that is actually all I remember. Huh. I must really have a bad memory because I am certain there are more. Oh well. Moving on.
I actually liked how the novel was written. Simple but it pulls you. The back and forth between Hannah’s recordings and Clay’s thoughts and memories is what actually got me. You rarely see anything like that, anyway. Mostly, it’s in a third-person point of view or in first person with the main character only. You get two sides of the story or one story with someone commenting on it. And because it talks about something that a lot of people avoid. Suicide and rape. Although, the main focal point is the suicide of Hannah Baker, they also touched the subject of rape. Those kinds of subjects are kind of taboos or unimportant.
Although, Jay Asher left us with a lot of questions like what is going through those people’s minds when they listened to the tapes? What’s their reaction? Are they affected by these tapes? Do they think Hannah’s lying? Or do they believe Hannah just like Clay did immediately?
And this is where the TV show comes in. Now, let me just say that while I am raving for the book, the show, not so much. I like it, don’t get me wrong. But there’s just something in that show that’s plain wrong that I cannot explain. Let’s just go to the point where I like it. I like the way they gave every single one on those tapes a background. You learn more about them, got their mindset on why they did what they did (except for freakin’ Bryce. He really is just as sick) and what they think about the whole thing. And I am still bothered on why Clay was like that on the show. And they turned Hannah into a mean-spirited bitch. Just saying.
Like I typed in earlier, it touched a very sensitive subject. And let me tell you when I read some posts and comments on FaceBook, Twitter and Instagram. The victim-shaming is real.Yes, she did give up. But let me ask you, if someone did give up, do you have any right to hurt or touch him/her? If you answered yes to this, you better go see a doctor.
There are two types of person, strong and weak. Hannah Baker is weak. Was weak. She was mentally sick for being able to do that to herself and to the people she loved. That is the reason why all those things that happened to her made her miserable that made her end her life. It is a sad story. But it is real. It can happen to anyone. It can happen to someone very dear to you. Moral of the story? Be aware of people. Be aware of your actions and how it might affect someone. Because you’ll never know how it can damage someone’s life. How a simple act can ruin someone.
Let us not glamorized suicide. Let us not glamorized the book or the show. But more so, let’s learn from it. Because that’s the best we can do.