Home Comparison Netflix 13 Reasons Why: Major Differences between Series & Book?

Netflix 13 Reasons Why: Major Differences between Series & Book?

by Amara
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13 reasons why

Netflix 13 Reasons Why has been a huge hit among teens and adults alike, with its themes of bullying and suicide starting serious conversations across the spectrum. The series is inspired by the adult novel of the same name by Jay Asher, this series opens up some of the darker sides of highschool life. As with every other series based on books, viewers are always keen to keep up with the references and cross-check with the source material. So we have made things easy for you and compiled a list of the differences between the 13 Reasons Why book and the series. 

1. The Timeline

One of the obvious differences is the timeline of the show and 13 Reasons Why book. While the events of the book happen over the course of a day, the show stretches it out over a couple of weeks. This consequently gives the show more freedom to explore backstories and include more plot lines. 

The longer timeline of the Netflix 13 Reasons Why and the nature of the show itself allows Clay to hear the tapes Hannah Baker has left behind, one at a time. The glacial pace has been a point of scrutiny among fans as it seems implausible according to some. However, in its defense, a lengthy show requires a different plot progression than a 288-page book. 

2.The Tech

There is a difference in the time the events of the book and the show are happening. While in 2007 social media was hardly a thing, the events played out old school style, and word-of-mouth was the trending hashtag. Netflix 13 Reasons Why, however, adopted the technology of the time to propel the plot and change it in ways that mostly did justice to the plot, with the use of group texts and selfies. However, one thing the show retained from the books is the use of actual cassette tapes to record her voice. 

3. The Lawsuit

One of the biggest additions the creators of the shows made is the lengthy legal procedure that follows the death of Hannah Baker. Readers of the book might reel in shock as there exists no such lawsuit in the 13 Reasons Why book at all. This is added due to the lengthened timeline of the story in the show. It is also a major focal point of Netflix 13 Reasons Why exploring the implications the cassette tapes could bring upon the major characters. 

4. Clays Hallucinations

Those who have read the 13 Reasons Why book and watched the show might have noticed how the “anxiety” angle is incorporated into the series to aid the plot progression. The show has Clay struggling with depression and anxiety, while such psychological issues are non-existent in the book. Moreover, the series clearly shows Clay’s mother placing a bottle of duloxetine next to his breakfast one day. There is also Clay hallucinating Hannah bleeding out in the middle of the school gym, which is absent from the book. Her presence in the show post-death is mostly his hallucinations. It is also this same issue that is used to slow him down on listening to the tapes one at a time.  

5. Graphic Content

13 Reasons Why book contains an ample amount of disturbing content, including the traumatic events of Hannah and Jessica’s assault, and Hannah overdosing on pills. However, the show takes it to a whole new level of disturbing content. The suicide is a harrowing scene that is almost too difficult to watch, as Hannah bleeds out in her bathtub. Netflix, however, removed the scene after much controversy and included a trigger warning in episodes containing graphic scenes. However, the show makers said the graphic nature of the content was used to emphasise how horrifying it is and to make sure no one would emulate it. 

These are some of the major differences between Netflix 13 Reasons Why and the 13 Reasons Why book by Jay Asher. Join the conversation through the comment box and tell us what you think about it.


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