13 Reasons Why 13 Reasons Why Is Amazing

Notebook with the 13 reasons; Lahaye Brushes; Tulips; Primark Accessories

Have you ever read a book that stuck with you for years afterwards? For me one of those books was 13 Reasons Why which I read when I was about 13 years old. It was such a gripping story that I read it within a few days (or rather nights). I mean, my 13-year-old self with school every day gave up sleep for this book! Sadly, somehow over the past eight years I forgot most things about this book and story but I did remember the feeling and fascination from back then. Watching the whole show in two nights I absolutely loved it and just can´t stop thinking about it. So here are 13 Reasons Why the 13 Reasons Why Netflix Original is amazing (even if you´ve never read the book!).

I´ve tried keeping this as spoiler-free as possible but there are some mild spoilers ahead as to the topics discussed, the storyline and the characters. I also read up a lot of cliff notes about the book after watching so that I could actually see how different the story was (because the bloody book takes at least 2 weeks to be ordered). So I didn´t go into this review not knowing anything about the book.

What is the show about?

When Clay Hensen returns home from school one day he finds a suspicious package at his doorstep. He discovers 7 cassettes inside which have been recorded by his classmate and crush Hannah Baker prior to her suicide two weeks earlier. Clay´s life gets turned upside down as he listens to the tapes to discover the 13 reasons why Hannah Baker took her own life and a lot of secrets within his high school. But he is not the only one involved.

Trigger Warnings

I will say that this show has a lot of triggering content. Even though it is awesome you should always put your mental health first! I´ve found this list by Buddy Project which has a detailed list of triggers in the episodes. If you know you are sensitive to blood, sexual assault, vomiting, scenes of death or similar things please check with the list first. I will also add that in general it might trigger anxiety due to the way its cut and the dark side to the story. Plus, if you´ve suffered from severe bullying it might bring back a lot of painful feelings and thoughts. Just be aware of these things if you know you struggle with mental health! I´d honestly rather you missed a great show (& maybe this post) than that you feel worse afterwards.

Notebook with the 13 reasons; Lahaye Brushes; Tulips; Primark Accessories

Why the Netflix adaptation is amazing*

* in no particular order
  1. The scenography is gorgeous. Switching back and forth between the past and the present is done so well that it feels like a simple flow. You feel like you go through it with Clay and how he remembers certain scenes.
  2. It tells you way more about the other characters and how they´re dealing with everything. We see teachers and parents interact more. We see the consequences and actions Hannah´s parents take. We see the other students on the list hang out, grow together as a group and fall down again. We just get to see a world beyond Hannah´s tapes and Clay´s reactions.
  3. The actors are amazing. It´s rare that you believe characters to be real so much as you do with 13 Reasons Why. More often than not there´s just a spark that tells you „ah, yes, those are all actors“ but I haven´t found this here. I was even surprised to see how thoughtful and considered the actors of the "bad" characters were because it was so hard to distinguish them.
  4. Every character is messed up. But that´s okay because we all are flawed too. It´s so great to see this representation in tv where usually characters are either perfect or have a dramatic backstory. But sometimes we are just who we are and we make bad decisions. I loved being able to identify with so many characters.

Notebook with the 13 reasons; Lahaye Brushes; Tulips; Primark Accessories

  1. There´s a documentary about it as well. Actors, executives and psychologists talk about mental health topics and why/how they decided to shoot scenes in a certain why. Everyone working on this tv show has poured their heart into it and is super passionate about the message its sending!
  2. Personally, the ending of the show felt stronger than the one in the book. Mainly because we see the other characters react, we see how they end up dealing with their parts of the story and that I think is such a strong message. Yes, Clay´s new found hope is a good ending but I think seeing that people with bad experiences eventually deal with them is so much more encouraging./li>
  3. It´s such an intriguing way of story telling that´ll get you hooked right from the start. Just imagine one unreliable narrator telling a story to another unreliable narrator and him eventually telling you his experience. Even though we know how Hannah´s story ends you really want to know her reasons. I watched this whole show in 27 hours because I couldn´t wait for what the next episode had in stock and how Hannah´s story would go on.
  4. So many mental health topics being addressed! We have everything from (cyber) bullying over sexuality and depression to rape and of course, suicide. It´s so good to see these topics talked about in a tv show.
  5. Everything feels so realistic. In a movie world that shows us that high school either is a big old party for everyone or even if it sucks it still is a great musical number, we need some realness. In reality high school sucks. And it´s a real struggle. I´ve never heard anyone be glad about their time in high school. So seeing a lot of different people struggle is what we should all see more of.

Notebook with the 13 reasons; Lahaye Brushes; Tulips; Primark Accessories

  1. It shows that even if you do everything right sometimes you can´t change or even tell what someone else is thinking or doing. Sometimes you just have to live with what´s coming your way despite how hard it is. You have to fight through and continue on living. After all, there is some light at the end of the tunnel and there´s always something you can learn from that experience.
  2. This is not only a teenage story anymore. Where the books keeps its storylines strictly PG this show goes deeper. For example, instead of imaginary sex toys in drawers there´s a picture of two girls kissing and rumors of threesomes going around. Instead of taking a handful of pills we have a girl slicing her arms open. You get the idea. I think this is so good because it actually makes the show sometimes hard to watch and therefore enhances the feeling of reality.
  3. Despite being written 10 years ago the story is more relevant than ever now! There´s a discussion about rape and when it starts, about LGBTQ+ people, about cyber bullying, about drugs and alcohol, about mental health and wellbeing… I could go on and on. I think it´s important to spread the right messages on all of these topics which the show definitely tries to. every person who faces these topics is another person who is thinking and helping.
  4. It is something totally different to everything I´ve seen around in tv so far. On the one hand it´s told like a mystery thriller, like there´s going to be one bad guy in the end that killed her, but on the other hand it totally could be like Pretty Little Liars were someone finally tells all the secrets. But it´s not comparable to either of those. It has elements of them but it´s its own thing that´s just really hard to put into words.
Notebook with the 13 reasons; Lahaye Brushes; Tulips; Primark Accessories

From the first episode on I basically knew that I had fallen hard into the trap of this show. Despite being super tired I watched four episodes in a row before I went to bed that night. Honestly, being sleep deprived for two days was totally worth it! Please remember, this is coming from someone who values sleep over a lot of things. Anyway, I have some extra thoughts concerning changes from the story to the books that I wanted to share with you. These contain spoilers though so you can decide whether you´d like to read them now or come back once you´ve finished watching the show.

Points about the changes (spoilers ahead, open at your own risk!)

Firstly, if you want a pretty detailed account of almost all changes in turns of the storyline check out the article on Busted. In my opinion, most of the changes from the original book are changes for the better. I like delving into deeper, more serious topics and getting to know more about the other characters. I also totally see why they switched the order of the tapes around for the ending to evolve into this strong meaning. Plus, honestly, I understand Hannah´s motivation to kill herself much more this way around. The minor things still end up to take everything she has but having those bad incidences in between definitely makes it even stronger and better to understand. 


Additionally, I think Clay changed for the better. He´s still shy and has his characteristics but for once he´s taking actions and you can see him react and act. He´s not just listening to tapes he´s reliving the story and fighting for justice. He´s not just the nerdy, super afraid guy; he feels like a normal student exactly like I was. 


And super bonus point for evolving the story longer. You really get to see how much this whole thing drags on every character. With each episode and day passing they look more like zombies of the people they were before. This is amazing and makes you feel the story more. Even Hannah´s tragic story feels even more tragic as you start to see it in her own eyes how much every little reason affects her! This just wouldn´t really have been possible if Clay listened to all tapes in one day like he does in the book. 


Due to the last two mentioned changes it´s really possible to establish the beginnings of a real and close relationship between Hannah and Clay which then makes this story so much more cruel and devastating. I loved seeing the two of them connect! In the book it seemed more like a slight crush and developing their relationship beyond this has been beautiful to watch. So in general a big yay for changing the story for the better!

I´m super interested to see if there is a plan for a second season or if this show just kind of ends here. Both possibilities definitely seem reasonable to me. I´d honestly love to delve deeper into the world and see more about every character but I´m also worried as to how the show will continue as Hannah has already explained her reasons. Unfortunately, I don´t get to have a say in this regard and so I´ll just have to wait for what happens like everyone else. I loved watching the first season a lot and I know this is a show I´ll definitely watch a few more times to catch all the details!

Have you watched 13 Reasons Why already or are you planning to? Have you read the book? Do you feel the show told the story well compared to the book?

3 comments

  1. I read the book when I was 13 as well and have been waiting for someone to turn it into a film or to show ever since! I started watching it yesterday and I'm already hooked, loved this post! xx

    www.emmakatehall.co.uk

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  2. I have just started watching 13 reasons why and your post makes me want to go and binge-watch it in one night (who needs sleep). The series is truly amazing, I love how it is raising awareness for mental illness and that it is addressing so many important topics. And I think it's a good thing that all the characters are flawed - that makes the story more realistic and intriguing. xx

    113thingstosay.com

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  3. I read the book a few years ago, and then watched the show last week. My thoughts are here: http://horch.org/?p=29

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