The Netflix series 13 Reasons Why was a successful book before it was a series.
It ended up on Selena Gomez’ bookshelf. She ended up co-producing it. We’ve ended up talking about it and all the ways its portrayal of suicide is dangerous since its release on Netflix in March.
But, wind back to the book being published in 2007 and another production was put together.
A Blair Witch-style YouTube series with actress Olivia Thirlby from Juno was released alongside the novel.
It was an initiative of the book’s publisher Razorbill (part of Penguin Random House), which commissioned an advertising agency to create the YouTube campaign.
The series features Thirlby’s voice reading the tapes over the top of footage of an old-school cassette player.
It is spooky and raw and is as problematic as the remake in the way it portrays suicide as a form of revenge. As a solution.
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The novel 13 Reasons Why was written by Jay Asher, who dropped out of university and was working as an assistant librarian and bookseller when he pitched the idea.
He had always wanted to be a writer and had been submitting manuscript after manuscript to publishers. In total he put together 11 manuscripts, all of which were rejected, before Razorbill paid him to begin work on 13 Reasons Why.