I like so many other people jumped on the “13 Reasons Why” binge train but didn’t really binge on it. There has been a lot of hype surrounding this Netflix series for good and bad reasons alike. I am not going to spoil anything, I promise. This is more my musing on the show and what I think about it.
So I didn’t start watching it as soon as it came out like everyone else and I didn’t sit for a whole day and binge on it, but I did give it a shot. I teach high school and when a show creates a rumbling and culture within my classes, I want to know what my students are talking about and so damn interested in. Plus if you watch something they do, you have something to talk to them about and connect with them in a different way. Anyway, off the tangent train.
YEARS ago, I read the book by Jay Asher and was enthralled. If you asked to recount the book now, I couldn’t but I do remember that it was one of those books that I could not put down for the life of me. It is super short (to me) and I am almost positive I read it all in one night, raved about it and lent it out to my students. It was on those books that I knew my students would love and could possibly get my reluctant readers to read. I cherished the way it made me feel.
Fast forward 6 years to the Netflix series and the books has had life breathed into it. It gave it a completely different feel and twist. When reading a book we create the characters and their voices in our heads but now Hannah had come to life in a matter of moments. Hearing her voice tell the story made it even more poignant. It shook me to my core to hear someone actually give detailed reasons why they decided to take their life. I mean it is one thing to read a note from them and speculate but there wasn’t any speculation. It was clear and calculated.
I completely see both sides to this show; it needed to be filmed and it didn’t need to be filmed. I understand the argument.
It needed to be filmed to give a voice to those that feel there is no other way besides suicide and that they have no way out. It made viewers (at least to me) realize how much they truly can affect someone and their life, even if we don’t realize it. Suicided needed to be given a voice because we often don’t know why it happened or what could have prevented it.
It didn’t need to be filmed because in a way it does glorify suicide. I had a student several years ago who took her life and nothing like what happens in the show happened in real life. Quite the opposite really. Students didn’t even seem to notice she was gone and there was no big memorial or mention of her name or even the fact that she killed herself. It was like it didn’t happen. So, this grand idea that everyone in the school would have stopped to do something about it seems a little far fetched. I am also in a big city, so that might play a part in it as well. But I do see how the idea of being worshipped after you die could play into someone wanting to take their life. I could not imagine being someone that has suffered with thoughts of suicide watching Hannah’s suicide. I have never had those thoughts and I couldn’t even watch that part. I closed my eyes and was horrified. But choosing to include that scene was important. It showed how desperate someone really has to be in order to go through that much pain.
I applaud the writers, directors, actors and actresses for doing a superb job of bringing this topic and book to life on screen. A lot of time book to film adaptations aren’t that great but I feel this one in particular held true to its values and was more impactful through visual representation.
“13 Reasons Why” is not for the faint of heart but it does carry a powerful message. I will not go as far to say that it is a must see but it does give you insight to how much you can impact someone and just how much someone can take before they break. I didn’t really binge watch it, which leads me to believe I wasn’t as captivated by it as everyone else but it was still worth the time.
If you suffer from suicidal thoughts please talk to someone. Keep talking until someone finally listens. There is a way out.
– ♥ Lindsey