“You never know for sure what kind of impact each of us can have on others. Often, we don’t even realize it. And yet, this impact does exist. “
Reading a book in the days of Netflix, Nowtv, Sky, Mediaset Premium, Amazon Prime and company has become complicated.
Not only because the convenience of sitting passively in bed to let the show scroll through episode after episode killed that bit of new readers’ desire to actively turn the pages (we diehards are a race apart, neither e-book nor anything else will be able to never replace the scent of paper, the pleasure of sneaking ears on the pages, or the utility of throwing the book at someone who allows himself to criticize the reading!), but above all because in the last year they have come out almost entirely films and series based on books. So why, the naive ask themselves, do I have to go out, spend money, carry the weight and use my brain to read, when I can watch it quietly on the Smart-TV?
Sometimes, in the inertia of the evening, with one eye already halfway from Morpheus, I find it difficult to blame them and fight for the preservation of the books!
Especially if the product is also good. And this is the case, better say it right away. However, I still hope, that despite the convenience, you want to go and deepen the plot, the characters, etc., it was only driven by the curiosity to understand where that story that has so passionate us comes from.
When THIRTEEN hit the small screen, I had read the book. So all the clamor, the uproar, the surprise for the issues addressed and for the how, I had already experienced. But I was very struck by how crowds of teenagers approached this story, commenting on it on all social networks, when for a decade the book had been gathering dust on the shelves.
If the story is the same, why did Netflix beat Jay Asher 3-0?
Is it really the same story?
Yes and no.
“I hope you are ready, because I am about to tell you the story of my life. To be more precise, why my life is over. If you are listening to these recordings, then you are one of the reasons. “
I want to start with an obvious consideration, why tapes? Why not videos on youtube? a “return to the past”?, a vintage choice? So it is said. But I immediately thought that it could be a first little big clue to the message that Hannah wants to send, which is: I AM THERE, I EXIST.
They do not go unnoticed in 2007 (setting of the book) nor in 2017 (re-adaptation) of adolescents with the Walkman! I mean, how many under 25 KNOW WHAT A WALKMAN IS????
Maybe, she wanted someone to be interested, to ask, but it doesn’t happen. Not in the book. In which the parents are almost completely absent. Simple extras. Ghosts. Shadows.
And this, in the book, is a beautiful complaint!
Is it possible that no one has noticed the signals? Could no adult have understood Hannah’s profound discomfort?
Asher does not want at all costs to identify a victim or encourage a mechanical and total condemnation, the intention of the work, much deeper, is instead to bring out, in all their elusiveness, those aspects, those behaviors, so defined and “normal” of society to be sometimes invisible to the eyes of many.
Another huge difference is the timing. The novel takes place all in a couple of days, Clay listens to the cassettes one after the other in a crescendo of anguish and expectation, while in the TV series even at a certain point he returns them unable to bear the comparison. Comparison that objectively in the book has no reason to be there because Clay and Hannah are not friends. He is in love with her, she barely knows he exists.
So why is she on the guilty list?
“What I have left is the memory. Worse for me. If every now and then I managed to forget something, maybe we would all be happier now “
The points of view of Hannah and Clay mix, fight and chase each other, but Clay’s succumbs, because it is a posteriori, and now he can no longer do anything about it.
Another change suffered by the show at the expense of the harshness with which the book proceeds is
that in the last episode of the TV series comes the news of Alex’s attempted suicide, which awakens in very serious conditions. In the book, none of the suspects experience this sense of remorse or great upset, with the exception of Clay.
THIS is very important!!!! Because it condemns once again not only the indifference of the before, but also that of the after!
The thirteen of the tapes are more concerned about the impact these post-mortem statements might have on reputation than are overcome with guilt or remorse.
This impressed me a lot!
It is as if there was a virus that sucks up the emotions of these teenagers, and one wonders if it is not the case to find a cure, and soon! Especially seeing and hearing the latest bullying and cyberbullying we are swarming with!
The book in this sense is more direct, more merciless than the TV series. No admission of guilt in the book. No remedy. No redemption!!!
Thirteen takes us to the personal limit that each of us has and goes beyond it, because it does not spare us. It bothers us in the gut, because we can’t pull back. Yet we do it in everyday life. How many things pass in front of our eyes and we don’t see them?
“There are so many different types of loneliness. I’m not talking about when you feel alone in a crowd, that always happens, to everyone. And it is not the loneliness of those looking for love, or of those who are made fun of by popular kids. The loneliness I’m talking about is when you think you have nothing left. Anything. And nobody. You’re drowning, and no one is pulling a rope. “
It is a book suitable for young people but also for adults, because it makes the world of today (re) known and understood a little more, of this new ferocity, of this new INDIFFERENCE, and perhaps, it also makes us understand that sometimes behind a silence hides a universe ….
But are we ready to listen to it?
 From the novel.
 From the novel.
 Instead, I would like to underline the extreme skill shown by Kate Walsh (Private Practice) in the role of Hanna’s mother. A moving, poignant character. She is not in the book, at least not so
 Jay Asher states that the story is about Clay, one of the others, because it has to do with the consequences that Hannah’s act has brought to his life: at the end of the story, he is the one who changes.
 From the novel.
 From the novel.
FUN FACT: there are two versions of the novel in circulation with two different conclusions. The original, in which (as in the TV series) Hannah is effectively dead. And another sweetened by the publishing house in the first draft, as she believed that a suicide was too disturbing for the audience they wanted to sell the book to, and so in the end Hannah was in a coma, but she wakes up. And everyone has a second chance.
I honestly think this alternative ending is less educational and less impactful. Hannah’s death MUST disturb!
MUST leave the bitter.
And it MUST make people think.