Okay, I’m just going to start with I thought it was good but I didn’t love it. I didn’t dislike it either, I’m just sort of ambivalent towards its. I watched the show before I read this – and had pretty much the same feeling – so I spent a lot of time comparing the two.
It got into the story really quickly… almost too quickly. I hate when it takes forever for a story to start but I like a bit of a lead up. I like seeing how the story affects the main character and for that you have to see what they are like before the plot starts, but it doesn’t here, the plot starts within the first couple of sentences. So you don’t see that change really. Funnily enough, I found it ended kind of abruptly as well.
Structure wise I liked how Clay’s narration and Hannah’s tapes were interwoven. The recordings were in italics, in between Clay’s thoughts, so easy to read and understand, though I did get confused sometimes when I didn’t notice the italics, but that’s my own fault rather than the book’s. It also helped highlight some of the parallels between Clay and Hannah, as they both had similar thoughts or did the same thing. For example, after leaving the room they first kissed in, they went downstairs and grabbed / leaned against the piano. They left the room at different times and both did it for different reasons but it’s interesting that they did the same thing. Or how they both wanted to be new and improved to those that didn’t know them, Clay to Hannah and Hannah to the school.
Character wise, I found everyone one-dimensional, other than Clay and Hannah. It’s actually where I think the show really outshined the book. I understand why it’s like that – the book is limited to the two points of view while the series can show multiple – but I think the show demonstrated the message more, about how you never know all that’s going on in a person’s life, how your actions can effect another or how everything can just build up. In the book we see it only with Hannah, and to a lesser extent Clay, but the series shows most of the people on the tapes. We see how Alex is affected by Hannah, while he deals with his feelings for Jessica and his insecurities with his dad, the pressure from the jocks. We see what this situation has done to Tony, along with how his past relationships have affected his current one and what he would do for his family. Sonder is a good word for the show in comparison to the book. It’s not a complaint on the book, just saying in this aspect the show was better. Hell if the book did try to put everyone’s POV I might of got bored tbh.
Keeping with the characters, a quick note on the mains. I can understand where Hannah was coming from, I don’t agree with but I could see what led to it and can’t say for certain that I wouldn’t do the same if I was in her shoes. Clay, I found more likeable than his TV counterpart … Hannah too for some reason… but I still don’t understand why he couldn’t just ask for the walkman.
Hope I got my thoughts across here, I found it hard to work through them for this, and I’m not sure I’m explaining it very well. I may not have loved it but I’m glad I read it and for all my criticisms I do recommend reading this and would love to hear your thoughts on it.