(WARNING: may contain spoilers)
Jay Asher’s young adult novel, Thirteen Reasons Why (published in 2007) hit #1 in the New York Times best-seller list in 2011. But it wasn’t until the end of March of this year that Netflix released the 13-episode series, “13 Reasons Why.”
The show is based on main character, Hannah Baker’s (played by Katherine Langford), suicide , who leaves behind several cassette-tapes containing the thirteen reasons why she committed suicide.
The book (and show, of course) takes place two weeks after her death, when Clay Jensen (played by Dylan Minnette) finds a package in his front door steps containing the cassettes
To the relief of those who are fans of the book, the storyline in the show doesn’t change drastically, nor does it give a different view to the plot. Instead, it follows almost exactly step-by-step, while adding extra background stories and adding a little “oomph” to it.
Selena Gomez, although not on screen, has a huge role in the series as an executive producer, while interacting and working with the actors.
Despite the incredibly graphic scenes (showing sexual assault and suicide), the authors and many rape victims defend the scenes by stating that if the scenes are inappropriate to show onscreen, then it’s “ saying it’s something to be hidden,” according to the Inquisitr.
In the show it takes Clay several days to get through all of the cassettes, as he listens to all of them in-depth. Through this, the audience gets to see the effect Hannah’s suicide had on not only Clay, but the rest of the people that she blames for her suicide. Not only that, but viewers also get a little insight to the character’s lives and (to some) their reasoning behind attacking Hannah.
Suicide is definitely not romanticized. Instead of swallowing a handful of pills and “drifting” into sleep like in the book, Hannah’s suicide scene is incredibly graphic. She drags a razor across her arms, cutting her veins as she screams out in pain.
The show also contains more diversity in sexual orientation. Tony, a character who is in charge of making sure the cassettes get acknowledged (and is also Clay’s shoulder to cry on/stalker), comfortably comes out as gay on the show (something that was never mentioned in the book). The subject however, isn’t comfortable for everyone, especially Courtney, who fears coming out as gay, and Hannah’s tapes surely don’t make the situation better.
Characters aren’t perfect. Hannah, for example, despite her suicide and the outpouring of feelings into the cassettes, didn’t tell the stories all that correctly. Naturally (like any other human being), she interpreted situations differently from others. Clay, as well, has a moment of complete rage where he finds it necessary to hurt those who hurt his friend and former crush, Hannah.
A controversy is slowly but surely arising from the show, as some viewers claim that the show is better than the book due to the real-life topic it touches, while others claim that the screenwriters have overdramatized the teenage life to the point of it being unrealistic.
The music is great. The soundtrack includes many great songs from Lord Huron’s “The Night We Met,” to Selena Gomez’s cover of “Only You,” to tracks from The Cure and Joy Division, as well as a great cover for the Echo and the Bunnymen’s “The Killing Moon.”
Last but not least, there is a slight chance there might be a season two. The last episode left many cliffhangers, including the suicide attempt of an important character, and no further explanation or resolve to the Baker’s lawsuit. The media is blowing up with talk about the show, but remember that once you start watching the show (or reading the book), there will be “no return engagements, no encore, and this time, absolutely no requests. Get a snack. Settle In. Because [she’s] about to tell you the story of [her] life,” as put by Hannah Baker in the very first episode of the series.