Show Review: Thirteen Reasons Why

Thirteen Reasons Why

Speechless.

Disgusted.

Brokenhearted.

Angry.

T-minus twelve hours since I finished the first season of Thirteen Reasons Why and I am still reeling from the emotional aftermath.

Thirteen Reasons Why is a Netflix Original Series based off of the 2007 young adult novel by the same title by Jay Asher. The show is the story about why a high school junior took her life. Instead of leaving a single suicide note, she records thirteen cassette tapes explaining the events that led up to her decision. Each tape is dedicated to a different person who she feels is partly responsible for her decision due to their actions or inactions. These tapes are left with strict instructions for the person to listen to all the tapes and then pass them onto the next person responsible.

I won’t lie. This story is a powerful one if you give it a chance. With its Pretty Little Liars meets Degrassi feel, some viewers may waive it off as another melodramatic teenage story that tries to deal with tough issues, but fails. I think Thirteen Reasons Why is a beautifully horrific embodiment of the worst-case teenage suicide scenario.

Certain topics are just difficult to talk about and/or portray, but Thirteen Reasons Why dives right into the heart of suicide, sex, rape, bullying, and teen culture including drinking and partying. Having only been out of high school for four years, the behaviors I witnessed and experienced are still fairly fresh and so far this show is the truest depiction of how high school actually functions; the so-called popular kids aren’t all perfect nor were they always popular, friendships suddenly end with no warning, the social groups interlace, and the school staff brushes off opportunities to engage in students’ real lives.

I love how Tony, the “keeper” of the tapes, keeps telling Clay that the tapes are Hannah’s truth. I think that one phrase is so important to situations like these, because how actions are perceived by another person are a complete mystery and we never really know how someone will react to them. The events leading up to Hannah’s suicide are brutal, sometimes hard to watch and sometimes hard to hear, but the events are brutal and hurtful enough to push Hannah over the edge. Some of the events might seem harmless or stupid or petty, but when these events are all stacking up on one person it makes a difference.

Thirteen Reasons Why makes you sick. You feel sick because you want to binge-watch it, but then feel guilty for feeling entertained by a real problem. You feel sick because some of the images and events will haunt you to your core. You feel sick because once it is over, you will be begging for another season.

For Book Readers:

It was very creative the way they incorporated this book into a television show. The original book probably could have successfully been made into a movie, but to make into multiple episodes and possibly other seasons, the writers had to do something to draw it out. I was pleasantly surprised by what they came up with. Instead of leaving it from only Hannah and Clay’s perspectives, you get to see what happened from multiple point of views as well as get background information on the supporting characters.

I read Thirteen Reasons Why probably seven or eight years ago during my first year of high school. Back then I had not experienced much involving the tough topics explored in the text, so I read it in one sitting and raved about it. It made me think twice about how I treated people for awhile, but the effects didn’t last as long as they should have. Now, having watched the show, I felt it not only did the book justice, but it was incredibly impactful!

The ending was remarkable. It was tragic yet had an air of lightness. The setup of the story was that you get to experience the aftermath of Hannah’s suicide through the different supporting characters’ lives. More death. More lies. More drugs. More drinking. More hurt. More depression. There was a lot of spiraling out of control that is easy to miss while you are watching the first twelve episodes, because you are so focused on Hannah, but the season finale brings to light how everyone else is reacting and coping to the tragedy. It was provoking and brilliant.

If you choose to watch Thirteen Reasons Why, I hope the story stays with you for a long time and I hope it changes the way you see the people around you and the way to treat others. Let this story change you!

 

Related Articles:

  1. http://www.teenvogue.com/gallery/rape-culture-in-tv-movies
  2. http://www.tvguide.com/news/13-reasons-why-ending-spoilers/
  3. http://www.tvguide.com/news/13-reasons-why-netflix-differences-book/

Big Changes

Well friends, it has been while!

As of now, I am on the path to joining the real world as a full-blown adult in June! I know that you are officially an adult at age 18, but we all know that for most of us it doesn’t really happen until age 22 or so. In my head, being a full-blown adult means you

  1. Have a full-time job
  2. Pay all of your own bills

This year has been absolutely crazy for me, so let me get you up to speed on what has been going on with me.

January – The Beginning of the End

In January, I began my last semester of college. This was a very exciting yet scary realization. I would never have another first day of school, which sounds amazing, but in reality school is all I have ever done full time and I am really good at it, but after 17 years of school, I was itching to start something different.

February – The Proposal

In February, my beloved Jeremiah asked me to marry him under trees wrapped in twinkly lights and a poem he wrote for me. I said yes agreeing to spend the rest of my life with my best friend! This began the endless crazy that is wedding planning. I had hoped to tell you all about it, but it turns out that wedding planning is not as much fun as the movies make it seem.

March – The Fly-Over Month

Nothing monumental happened in March. You know how there are “fly-over states” that are interesting for those who live there, but to everyone else it is nothing special. That was kind of how March was… if you blinked, you missed it. I made my way through half of the semester without killing anyone, found my wedding dress, took engagement photos, and celebrated Jeremiah’s birthday.

April – The Taylor Swift Song

In April, I turned 22! It was officially my turn to post a cute photo exclaiming it was my birthday and I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling 22. What started as a horrible day turned into a very fun evening. I woke up to a job rejection and then had multiple friends cancel on my dinner – that was going to end with cheesecake and that I had planned a couple weeks in advance – so I was feeling pretty grim. The day continued to just hit me while I was already down. When I realized my birthday was probably going to only be me and Jeremiah (which wasn’t a huge deal, but I had hoped I could celebrate with my friends too), I asked my mom to come down and she turned me down too. In the end, 50% of my friends showed up to dinner and 75% made it to drinks afterward. It was a really fun birthday afterall!

May – The Graduate

In May, I graduated college! I said goodbye to The University of North Texas with a smile on face and a diploma in my hand. It was such a bittersweet moment, because as much as I was ready to leave, I had finally made some friends in my major and wasn’t quite ready to let them go. Not only did I graduate (on-time!), I also had a job lined up. The Monday after graduation, I woke up at 6am, sat in traffic for an hour, and started my big-girl salary job at 8am. I am now an associate project coordinator for a telecommunications company in North Texas. I accomplished two of my goals: graduate college and get a real job.

Because I accomplished these two goals, I can actually join the real world and support myself!

Last week, I got my own phone plan and signed up for health benefits. These are two of the most adult things I have ever done and I am so excited that I am going to be able to afford it all on my own. No longer will I have to rely on my parents to help me survive. It is such an exhilarating feeling knowing you are going to make it on your own! Bring on the adulting!