One week ago, 13 Reasons Why was released on Netflix. In that time (less than actually because we didn’t start watching until Sunday) I have watched the entire series, purchased the novel, and read entire said novel.
Why does this hold any significance in my life?
A) I don’t read. Literally I can count on one hand the number of books I’ve read since graduating highs school (The Hunger Games trilogy and Redeeming Love if you’re curious).
B) The reason I was introduced to this story is very exciting (to me at least).
It all started 2 months ago at my writing critique group. A couple of the other members mentioned that the excerpt I brought reminded them of the style and voice author Jay Asher used in 13 Reasons Why. I asked them to jot the title down in the margins of my paper for reference later.
My plan when I began my first attempt at a novel, and joined the group, was to finish draft one before attempting my hardest to get into reading for leisure. I wanted to see if I felt I measured up to the books out there. I didn’t want to read anything before my first draft was complete to avoid outside influence on my writing.
Soon after that meeting I heard the title again, this time announcing the Netflix series. I knew I’d be watching as soon as it came out! In the middle of the first episode my husband pauses the show and says, “Is it just me or does this remind you of your book?”.
I can tell you, my young adult novel has nothing in common with 13 Reasons Why, except that it deals with teenage relationships. Yet, I could sense exactly what my husband was referencing.
Half way through the series I was too hooked to only watch the show. I HAD to find out how Jay Asher wrote such an incredible piece of work. I began reading the novel on Tuesday, which was fun and challenging since the series and novel are quite different in regards to time line.
After finishing both, all I can say is wow.
I know it has been controversial, but I imagine this book has saved lives. There are always two sides to every story and even more opinions, but my view is, it is an incredible piece of work I could only dream of coming close to.
The fact that someone even remotely compared my story to this piece is flattering, intimidating, terrifying, mystifying, and passion igniting.
Mr. Asher, if ever I become a published author, your name will be on my list of thank you letters to write.
((edit 3 months later to add: I know there are many negative stories out there about the impact this book and series have had. I’m sorry for the pain anyone has endured, but it does not change my view. Had this come out a year earlier I can’t tell you what my opinion would be since I was in the throws of my biggest battle with depression at that time. Please know I do not compliment this show out of naivety. For my writing journey and in my personal life it has been a source of inspiration.))