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13 reasons to watch

April 17, 2017

“Hey, it’s Hannah, Hannah Baker. That’s right, don’t adjust your…whatever device you’re hearing this on. It’s me, live and in stereo.”

Based on the book by Jay Asher, the Netflix original series“13 Reasons Why” tells the story of Hannah Baker’s life. Well, why she ended her life. The show focuses on Clay Jensen, played by Dylan Minnette, as he listens to the 13 tapes his friend Hannah, played by Katherine Langford, made to tell her story.

As Clay learns early on, each tape has a story told from Hannah’s perspective about real events that happened to her from being at her new school sophomore year to committing suicide the beginning of her junior year. Each person mentioned leading up to Clay’s tape had already listened to all the tapes and continued to pass them on until they made their way to him. Clay must mail the tapes to the next person on the list when he finishes them.

Every episode is a new tape; 13 episodes for 13 tapes, and each tape is a reason. Thirteen reasons why. As Clay learns more about what happened to Hannah, he grows angrier with himself and the others. He reacts by exacting revenge on some of the people mentioned. As the series ends, Clay realizes that Hannah saw him as more than just a friend. With that realization, he begins to live life to the fullest, and can start forgiving the others for what they did.

As Clay found it difficult to listen to the tapes, many viewers may find it hard to watch the show. “13 Reasons Why” deals with multiple prevalent issues in high school such as bullying, suicide, and rape. For this reason, a viewer discretion warning begins each episode that contains traumatic scenes.

While the series and the book are alike, there are some differences. For one, Jeff is not in the book. People speculate he was included to help Clay kickstart his relationship with Hannah.  Some other names and relationships were changed, as were time periods, but it does not negatively affect the story.

One issue the series focuses on is how difficult it is to know when a student needs help. Both Hannah’s teacher and counselor, as well as friends and family, missed all the signs she was displaying. A twist of events also leaves viewers realizing how difficult it is to recognize the signs.

While “13 Reasons Why” is fiction, it is one of the most non-romanticized portrayals of high school Hollywood has put out yet. It is not for the faint of heart, and it will stir up a mix of emotions, but it is worthwhile to watch and to read.

If you or anyone you know is contemplating suicide, please call the Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273-8255. Talk to a friend or family member if you feel like you having nothing left. Ending a life ends any and all opportunity for it to get better.

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