As a book purist, I clearly despise alterations when it comes to film adaptations of books. Most of the time, I compare and complain. But with 13 Reasons Why, it was different. I did not mind the changes at all.
This is rare for me but I got to admit, the TV Show was so much better than the book. Watching it gave me a lot of feels. Don’t even get me started with the last two episodes, the rape-scene deeply scarred me while the suicide scene will forever be engraved in my mind.
There are adaptations that makes unnecessary changes but with the 13 Reasons Why TV show, the changes were exactly what book readers like me needed to satisfy our conflicting feelings about the book.
So what are those notable changes you ask? Find out below:
- Clay Jensen in the book had a crush on Hannah but they barely knew each other. He briefly worked with her over one summer in a movie theatre but was hardly friends with her and they were never as close as they were in the show.
- Clay listened to the tapes all in one night and never confronted anyone. While on the show as mentioned by Tony, he was the slowest yet to listen to the tapes which was caused by his anxiety (also not mentioned in the book). He also confronted every person mentioned on the tapes.
- There was no Law suit in the book while it was one of the integral parts of the show.
- The book only showed Clay’s perspective and did not inform the readers how the tapes affected the other characters. The parents are also more involved in the show which was never mentioned in the book.
- Sheri Holland from the series was Jenny Kurtz in the book.
- The order of tapes was changed. Clay was the 9th person to receive the tapes followed by Sherry/Jenny unlike in the show where he was number 11 followed by Bryce.
- Courtney was not a lesbian in the book and she spread a different rumor. Unlike in the show where Courtney and Hannah’s kissing scene was intentional, the girls act out an entirely fabricated scene, pretending to be into each other in the book. Courtney also started rumors that Hannah had sex toys in her bedroom rather than the rumor she spread that Hannah was into threesome in the show.
- Jeff doesn’t exist in the book. Jeff in the book was the unnamed boy who crashes into a car with an old man after Jenny knocks down the stop sign.
- Bryce in the book was a total jerk and not the resident “nice” guy he is in the series. He is known for grabbing girls and manhandling them. In the show, he overall doesn’t come off like the threat he actually is because he’s nice to everyone.
- In the book, Hannah does not flee when everyone but Bryce got out of the hot tub and even when he started putting his hands on her, she just stays there not moving. In the show, it was a full on attack. She begged Bryce to stop and very clearly kept trying to get away from him.
- Hanna originally committed suicide by swallowing pills unlike in the series where she slit her wrists.
- The public exposure of tapes was never done in the book.
- The book ends with Clay going to school the next day after mailing the tapes to the next person on the list (Sherry/Jenny), as instructed by Hannah. In the series, Clay skips number 12. Instead he secretly records a confession from Hannah’s rapist and adds it to the box, before sending the tapes to the last person on the list.
But you know what I think the biggest change was? Season 2! The 13 reasons Why had no sequel whatsoever, it had an open-ended ending where readers were left to imagine what happened next. So I’m glad that that was not the case for the show. I’m surely looking forward for the next season!