“13 Reasons Why” almost had a *very* different ending
Also, in a roundabout way, a very different beginning, too.
2017 marks the 10 year anniversary of Jay Asher’s phenomenal book, 13 Reasons Why, which was recently adapted into the Netflix series you’re totally obsessed with right now. Obviously, there are going to be spoilers for both the book (and, the show) ahead, so if you’re planning on picking up a copy (or binging the show this weekend) turn away now.
In an interview with Penguin Teen, who first published the book back in 2007, Asher reveals that originally, there was a much different ending for his story. The thing that starts off Clay’s whole journey, Hannah’s suicide, doesn’t happen. Instead of cutting her wrists, Hannah swallows a bottle of pills and her parents are able to get her to the hospital and have her stomach pumped before she passes away.
In this version of the story, Hannah actually survives.
"I had a relative who survived a suicide attempt when she was a junior in high school, which years later inspired the novel," Asher explained. "So maybe that’s why my initial thought was to have Hannah’s character also survive. Or maybe I thought it was a creative twist that no one would see coming, allowing me to give all of the characters a second chance. Whatever the reasoning, it felt false for this particular story and for the seriousness of the issue. If someone goes through with a suicide, there are no second chances for anyone involved."
Asher’s reason for changing the ending is that he didn’t want to leave readers “off the hook from needing to consider [the] message,” meaning that he wanted to stress just how suicide can affect everyone.
"With suicide there are no second chances, and with the final ending, that isn’t an option to even consider. But readers are shown that people can change for the better, even after a tragedy, and that was very important to me."