After three sessions of binge watching, I’ve finished watching 13 Reasons Why. And just wow, what an intense and powerful story.
Interesting fact – Selena Gomez was an executive producer!
13 Reasons Why is the powerful story written by Jay Asher as a novel, and now a series on Netflix. Led by character Clay Jensen, it tells the secrets that resulted to the suicide of Hannah Baker.
First up, I give this show an 8/10 because of it’s rawness and honour to what can really happen to those who are bullied, abused and neglected in both minor and major ways. It depicts the potential, real life affects of seemingly small events in the modern teenage world.
Please be warned, there are triggering scenes in this series which I believe Netflix warns you of.
*Spoiler Alert. Do not continue reading if you haven’t yet watched.*
The series begins with Clay finding a package on his doorstep. He opens it to find a shoe box full of cassette tapes numbered 1-13. Clueless to the content, he eagerly borrows his Dad’s ‘Boombox’ and begins listening to tape 1. This is where Hannah enters the story.
There are 13 sides and 13 Reasons Why Hannah chose to take her own life (with 13 hour-long episodes to the show, conveniently). Each side represents a different ‘Why’ where Hannah tells a story about an individual person. We follow Clay as he listens to each tape and battles with more and more pain as the truth slowly unfolds, discovering the onslaught of betrayal.
I found this show to be incredibly eye opening, and it left me with a heavy feeling of sadness. As although it’s fiction, it’s content mirrors realities all over this world – these are the realities of teenagers dealing with challenging lives with the feeling that there’s nowhere to turn.
Bullying isn’t just kicking a kid to the floor and stealing his lunch money. It’s spreading rumours, whispering, laughing, writing nasty things online and telling people’s secrets – it’s an awful lot of things and we see multiple types of bullying occur in this series.
More mercilessly, this story involves the rape of two young girls on different occasions. The scenes themselves are fairly graphic and would be triggering to those who are sensitive to these subjects. I felt very sick, but I feel the representation of rape was a very important one to portray and will open eyes, shocking people about what can and does happen to young girls. Huge message: just because a girl doesn’t say no, it doesn’t mean she’s saying yes either.
The suicide itself is included in a scene at the end of the series and will definitely be triggering for those sensitive to suicide and self-harm. I felt the inclusion of this scene was as necessary as the rape scenes to show the harsh truth.
Overall I really enjoyed this series, my only criticism would be that I felt it dragged a little in parts and probably could’ve benefited from shorter episodes.
However, I did thoroughly enjoy it and felt it touched on some really important issues in young people’s lives today. I hope it touches people like it did me, and helps them to understand the emotional damage that could be happening to those around them through the hardships of teenage life.