My 13 reasons why you should avoid Netflix's 13 Reasons Why

If you subscribe to Netflix, you should know about the book to film adaptation of Jay Asher's novel, Thirteen Reasons Why. I remember reading the book years ago on a recommendation, and fell in love with the story. It took me through so many emotions as I read Hannah's story. You can see my thoughts on the novel here, because this post isn't about the novel per se.

This post is about what bothered me about Netflix's attempt at capturing this story. So here goes, my 13 reasons why I shouldn't have watched "Thirteen Reasons Why" on Netflix.

1. The language. My goodness, the language. I understand that teenagers curse worse than sailors in many situations, but if you aren't bothered by the ridiculous use of the f bomb as both an adjective, verb, and general space filler-- there is a problem. I stopped counting in one episode its use because I reached 20 before the half way point. Twenty! I don't think they even bothered to come up with other words. Many people feel it was realistic, but I disagree. I work with teenagers. They don't all speak like that. I felt making every character use that word so often really boxed them in and portrayed a stereotype. Instead of kids that curse when they are angry or overwhelmed, they became kids that dropped f bombs just because they could. It was completely overused in my opinion.

2. Why did so much have to be added? What's wrong with just telling the book's story? Why must every film attempt try to make its own story in the process? WHY?! Some parts I felt worked well enough, others did not.

3. Some scenes were so graphic. Ok, this is me being a bit sensitive, but those rape scenes. I just couldn't deal. It was too real. I know it's a huge part of the story, but why couldn't they just hint at it or something? Was there really a need to show all of Bryce's thrusting and such? It made me want to throw up. I also don't like they switched up Hannah's suicide method and made it (yet another) super graphic scene. Wasn't really necessary. She could have just taken the pills like the author intended.

4. Some of the modern updating made for serious plot holes. There were times that I wanted to scream, "Just use your phone, idiot!" but the character in question didn't have one. But 10 seconds later, they are playing on the new iphone. That does not work for me. If we're being honest, the people that say it was "so real" better be taking notes that it is unlikely a teenager goes anywhere without his/her phone attached to their hand. I have to yell at mine to put his down all the time.

5. The Bakers. That is all. Okay, not really. Why does Hannah's mom have such a large presence? She seems to drop hints along the way that the reader never got. The parents' role makes sense because you can see their pain. It felt real. But them being in the picture so much complicates the plot too much. Again, another time filler for the sake of trying to create 13 episodes to match 13 tapes.

6. Okay, not really. That whole lawsuit fell flat. I didn't mind adding that in, actually, until the end. The 13th episode felt rushed. It was a quick, last minute attempt to tie in all the extras. Personally, I don't think it worked too well. It left more questions and wonderings than it answered.

7. Who the heck is Sheri? Still don't understand the name change.

8. I kind of missed Clay's book references, especially when he filled out the dollar valentine as if he were a famous book character.

9. Who is Jeff? (I actually liked him.) Maybe Mr. Asher should have thought about making a Jeff. It worked for the show, but again, not true to form here. When Jeff dies, that's pretty upsetting.

10. Going back to the idea of extra backstory, I don't remember the other characters being after Clay. I really didn't like Marcus' and Justin's "get him" attitude. Seemed a bit stupid. Were they seriously considering killing Clay? Really? I also don't recall Clay being so bent on justice against the others. I know it's been a while, but I feel like I would have remembered that. Going against the others the way he did doesn't really seem to fit with his character that is being portrayed (both in the book and film).

11. This might be due to a bad memory, but was Tony gay in the book? I liked the character they made for the show, but I just don't recall him having a huge presence in the book. Again, this felt like a creation fueled by the need to fill 60 minute episodes.

12. Jessica and Justin's created story made me want to vomit from annoyance.

13. It would have been pretty badass if Clay got a confession from Bryce on tape, but.... Am I really supposed to believe he takes that kind of beat down and then sits and has a drink with the attacker? And am I supposed to believe that Bryce gives Clay "mad respect" for surviving such a beat down? C'mon!

Overall, I think there were elements of the film I thought helped the story along. But I am a book purist. If there is going to be a film, it needs to stick to the book. As far as book to film adaptions go, this one does a much better job of sticking to the original but there were still things added that I felt took away from what could have been an amazing experience. Do yourself a favor, read the book.

Review: Morning Star (Pierce Brown)

Darrow would have lived in peace, but his enemies brought him war. The Gold overlords demanded his obedience, hanged his wife, and enslaved his people. But Darrow is determined to fight back. Risking everything to transform himself and breach Gold society, Darrow has battled to survive the cutthroat rivalries that breed Society’s mightiest warriors, climbed the ranks, and waited patiently to unleash the revolution that will tear the hierarchy apart from within.

Finally, the time has come.

But devotion to honor and hunger for vengeance run deep on both sides. Darrow and his comrades-in-arms face powerful enemies without scruple or mercy. Among them are some Darrow once considered friends. To win, Darrow will need to inspire those shackled in darkness to break their chains, unmake the world their cruel masters have built, and claim a destiny too long denied—and too glorious to surrender.

The final installment in the Red Rising series delivered a satisfying finish to a beloved story line.  

A good portion of Morning Star takes place in space (hello epic battle sequences), which didn't really appeal to me much. I'm not a fan of sci-fi books, and spaceships and/or aliens is a sure fire way to lose my interest. But I stayed with it! Even though I felt this book started to drag on a bit (it's 524 pages) and got way too technical in the battle scenes for my tastes. 

One thing I do love about this series is the characters. The third book, Morning Star, introduces more new characters. Yes, more characters that you will appreciate too. Of course, there is also more loss of previous characters that you will be sad over. The idea of honor even into death is powerful.
It's hard to capture how much growth these characters undergo throughout this series. It's spectacular. The Darrow and Cassius from Red Rising are not the same Darrow and Cassius you see in Morning Star.  But I think it's Sevro that steals the show in the end. He has really changed in spectacular ways. His crude nature is still there (and often brings humor to tense situations), but the little goblin develops a heart. I really enjoyed his story. 

Morning Star also takes a pretty strong political stance. There are lots of hints at themes dealing with honor and class systems. I should probably reread this one just to make note of those from beginning to end.   

Also, as to be expected, there are twists and turns galore. Sometimes it was hard to keep up! I usually can spot plot twists a good bit before they occur, but the jaw dropper of Morning Star caught be off guard. I didn't know what was happening until it was happening, and I swear it left me misty eyed. I don't think I've ever experienced a more satisfying ending for a character. Wow. Just wow.

I heard a rumor that there will be a spin off series, and I really hope that's true. As much as I liked the ending, I don't want it to be the end of these characters. 


Minute review: The Leaving (Tara Altebrando)

The Leaving
Six were taken. Eleven years later, five come back--with no idea of where they've been.

Eleven years ago, six kindergarteners went missing without a trace. After all that time, the people left behind moved on, or tried to.

Until today. Today five of those kids return. They're sixteen, and they are . . . fine. Scarlett comes home and finds a mom she barely recognizes, and doesn't really recognize the person she's supposed to be, either. But she thinks she remembers Lucas. Lucas remembers Scarlett, too, except they're entirely unable to recall where they've been or what happened to them. Neither of them remember the sixth victim, Max. He doesn't come back. Everyone wants answers. Most of all Max's sister Avery, who needs to find her brother--dead or alive--and isn't buying this whole memory-loss story.

This one starts off spookily enough. I was captivated by the idea that these kids returned with no memory of the previous 11 years. All kinds of theories are thrown out there and sorted through, but the one that remains was a bit surprising and disappointing. But, as disappointing as it was, it was also the ending that made the most sense. I think if anything else would have occurred, I would have rolled my eyes. 

The characters are just meh. Nothing earth shattering or really worth remembering long after the book is finished. I know that sounds harsh, but that's just how most books are. The Leaving isn't revolutionary, but it is a quick and mostly satisfying read. Overall, The Leaving wasn't as spenseful as I had hoped for, but it was a solid read.

Where I have been-- I have not disappeared!

Remember that show? If you do, I bet you just sang the theme song. :) You're welcome.

I'm not writing a witty post about awesome t.v. game shows from my childhood. I'm simply sending out a S.O.S. to let you all know I have not gone AWOL. I am simply in my final semester of graduate school, and it's turned out to be pretty demanding.

I'm here. I'm reading. My brain wants to write about all the awesome books I have found (and the ones that I really didn't care for), but it's a struggle to find time to eat most days. All those cliches are real, y'all. The struggle is real. I haven't forgotten about The Flashlight Reader; it will just be a bit sporadic until things wrap up in May. 

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