My health has been particularly bad the last few days and I’ve not been up to much except disappearing into a book. I love to disappear into books and experience a whole new world to forget about my own for a while. But this week (well actually just yesterday, I read the whole thing in a day because I was too ill to do anything else), I read 13 reasons why by Jay Asher.
Warning: this post contains spoilers
I kind of enjoyed it. But it wasn’t great. It didn’t seem like a real portrayal of mental illness. The premise of the book is that the main character has received 13 audio tapes and each one contains a reason/person why Hannah Baker (who recorded the tapes before she died) killed herself.
It seems like a great way of telling the story of suicide. But I don’t think the word depression was mentioned once in the book. I expected a realisation at the end that people don’t kill themselves over other people or for any particular reason. It’s mental illness. The reason is depression and nothing more. If Hannah was not suffering from depression, those things would not have led to suicide. And I’m talking from the experience of someone who has attempted suicide.
The story is good but the ending is a let down and it’s not just a let down to the rest of the story. It’s a let down to everyone that’s experienced suicidal thoughts. Those things may have pushed Hannah over the edge but they did not cause her suicide.
This book has taught me once again (twilight did it first) that just because a book is being adapted to tv or film, doesn’t mean it’s any good.
No spoilers (or nothing more than shown in the movie adverts)!!
I’ve not seen the film yet so this is based only on the script book.
Plot: there’s two big plots, which if you’ve seen the movie adverts you know are- newt scamander’s case of animals has released some animals, and there’s a magical thing causing havoc in New York. Each is fairly good, but they don’t seem to be linked together very well. One is not really necessary for the other to make sense. Each could have been expanded to make it fit an entire book/movie without having the other plot. As a result the overall plot is just a bit weak. And some scenes relating to one plot, don’t make sense and don’t tie in with the rest of the movie until the end. I kept thinking ‘why do these characters keep coming up?’
Characters: it’s a script, not a novel so the characters aren’t going to have as much back story as I would like. But some things didn’t come across well. It took me a while to realise a few things- 1) credence is a boy. 2) Tina and queenie are sisters (I think- still not 100% sure, they could be cousins). At first I thought they were roommates. 3) there’s a twist about one character, which to me was obvious quite far in advance. Having said that there’s not much backstory, pottermore has already given us backstory for newt scamander so we already know who he ends up with (if you’ve read pottermore), which ruins some of the ‘are they aren’t they?’ moments.
Writing- the use of the term ‘no-maj’ to replace muggle was clunky and unnecessary and at times confusing. There’s also plenty of script-talk which has a glossary at the back. This is something I expected since it’s a script but I looked up what it meant online, because I didn’t realise there was a glossary at the back. It really should have been put at the front.
Overall, a script is not meant to be read like a book. As a book, it’s putdownable. To create something unputdownable to me when I’m a huge fan of the wizarding world should have been easy but it just wasn’t achieved. As a script, it’s supposed to draw in actors and directors and producers etc to work on the film. I feel like from that point of view, a lot of people will have worked on it because it was written by JK Rowling, regardless of what the script said.
The characters were fun, even though they weren’t very deep. And learning about the fantastic beasts was interesting. But I won’t be rereading it in any hurry because I didn’t become invested in the characters. When reading fantastic beasts and where to find them script, I didn’t want the main characters to succeed because I liked the characters. I wanted them to succeed because I was sure it was going to have a big dramatic ending when they did. There was one dramatic bit but I saw it coming, and then the ending dragged on a bit. I was sure I must be on the last scene a few times before I actually was.
I think from anyone except Rowling and without the huge fandom around Harry Potter, I would have considered this a fairly good read. But with the expectations that it would be amazing, it’s disappointing that in reality it is just okay.