Review By Katie Britton-Mehlisch
The Netflix original series, “13 Reasons Why”, took social media by storm after it’s release on March 31st of 2017. The show is based off of the award winning novel written by Jay Asher. In the show, producer Selena Gomez shines light on the fatal topic of teenage suicide.
The series is from the perspective of Hannah Baker and Clay Jensen. Hannah has left behind seven tapes, and each one has a A and B side. Every episode and tape is dedicated to one of Hannah’s peers. As the show goes on, you learn more about Hannah and the events or people that led her to take her life.
While the book and the show differ, Selena Gomez did a excellent job of sticking to the core message: our actions have an impact on people’s lives. And while a single person can not be held responsible, the bullying and sexal harrassment that Hannah endured led her to take her life.
Personally, I believe the “13 Reasons Why” series should be watched by every high school student and their parents. While the acting may not be phenomenal, the series provides awareness to the heavy topic.
Suicide isn’t the only issue brought into the limelight either. Bullying and rape are prominently discussed and even graphically shown. While these scenes can be difficult to watch, it is important to understand that events like these occur daily without recognition. Knowing the signs of someone who has undergone verbal and physical harassment can help teens get the help they need.
Okay, now to the juicy details. This is your fair warning, if you don’t want the show to be spoiled stop reading now.
As I said before, the show is also from the perspective of Clay Jensen. Clay is reason eleven for Hannah’s decision. But Hannah eve admits that he doesn’t belong on the tapes, that he didn’t cause her any harm.
So this brings up the question, why would Hannah include Clay? Was it so he could hear the pain in her voice as she described witnessing her best friend’s rape? Or so he could struggle through listening to her describe how people treated her differently after they thought she “got around”? While there is no simple answer to this question, one thing is for sure, Clay helped make a difference after Hannah was gone.
Clay Jensen proved that there is a way to hold people accountable for their actions. He took a risk and confronted Hannah’s rapist, Bryce Walker, head on. Which was something that Hannah was unable to do.
The series also sheds light to how important it is for adults to be active in a teen’s life. Especially when teenagers are a vulnerable enough to reach out and ask for help.
Hannah took this risk when she told her high school guidance counselor that she had been raped. His reaction, was one of the main reasons Hannah ultimately killed herself. Since she did not want tell her counselor, Mr. Porter, the name of her harasser he left her with one option. He recommended she should move on and get over it. By not offering her any sympathy or guidance, he pushed her even closer to the edge.
While “13 Reasons Why” was extremely graphic and did not have the best actors, it made society more aware of pressing issues. I recommend that every high school student takes the time to watch the short series, because it truly is eye opening.