Oh my goodness. I was so excited when I saw that Netflix was producing a mini-series based on the book Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher. I read this book nearly six years ago and the impact it had on me was substantial. This was one of the earliest of my Required Reading books and not because I thought my readers would really enjoy it. I think this book should be teen, pre-teen, and parental required reading. I really liked this book so I had high hopes for the series, but I was keeping my expectations low.
Those low expectations were absolutely unnecessary.
It is extremely rare that I feel like the film adaptation of a book is better than the book.
THIS is the BEST book-to-film adaptation that I have EVER SEEN. I know, that's a lot of bold, all-caps, but it is absolutely justified. The timeline of this book takes place over one long night. It is compressed to show the urgency the main character feels listening to the tapes of his friend who has recently committed suicide. The mini-series allows the timeline to expand to a number of days, perhaps even a couple of weeks, though it isn't exactly clear. This expanded timeline allows for so much more character and story development. So many things that were left unexplained and unexplored in the book are shown through the thirteen episodes of the mini-series. The book makes it seem as if the only people in the story are the main characters and only what Hannah says about them. The mini-series allows the viewer to see much more, including the effects of Hannah's suicide on all the people she has left behind. It is this that makes the mini-series so much better than the book; not just because we get more viewing minutes, but because the viewer is allowed to understand so much more.
We can never know what is going on in someone else's life. We can never fully understand how our words and our actions affect the people around us. Be kind. Be kinder than is necessary. Tell the people that you love what they mean to you.
And please, PLEASE, if you are struggling with thoughts of self-harm, please ask for help. If there is no one in your life to whom you can talk, please call for help.
As of now, the only viewing platform for this mini-series is Netflix, though I have high hopes that it will be available on DVD because I would like to own it. If you don't have a Netflix subscription, this mini-series alone is worth it. Subscribe, watch it, then cancel if you want, but you really need to see this. This is required watching.