As promised this my review of the Netflix series 13 Reasons Why based on the best-selling book by Jay Asher. This is a review of Season 1. To label the book and series as being emotional is quite the understatement. Having watched the series and having read the book shortly after turning 13, I can say that I don’t know how I processed the book at such a young age.
I would like to say to all the parents and schools protesting both the novel and series, that you should re-think your decision. What the novel and series bring to the table are the real issues that young men and women face today. Perhaps, parents and schools just don’t want to confront the issues head- on. Sad, but very true.
Yesterday, I sat for a while and just decompressed after finishing the series. After all, for those that have seen the series, Hannah’s death is painstaking, agreed? I thought about life. How grateful I am for my own, but I concluded: I think that inside of each one of us is a little piece Hannah Baker.
Hannah Baker had 13 reasons as to why she died, all of which were recorded on cassette tapes. All of which involved different people- no single one at fault, but all contributing factors. I see much of myself in Miss Baker. The words whore and slut, as well as the degrading other word which I won’t mention here, sounded all too familiar as I watched with tears streaming down my face. I watched my dreams get broken, as did Hannah’s by the ever-encouraging school counselor Mr. Porter. I remembered how many times I looked for help only to get let down, rejected, and shot down. Many personal traumas, I choose not to discuss here; however, I thought my peace and happiness would be found the same way in which Hannah emotionally found her own peace and solace.
Hannah’s parents made the decision to sue Liberty High School. No amount of money can bring back Hannah Baker in season two of the series, just like no amount of money could have brought me back, it would have been just enough to cover the funeral costs—quite pathetic.
I’m not saying that the mental and emotional anguish that I experienced as a teen stemmed from just school, but here’s a piece of advice to parents—enjoy your children. Meet them where they are instead of where you want them to be. Make them first and not last, before they develop the “I am second” mentality. Hannah’s parents were awesome, but even they missed the mark. The only time they should have such an “I am second” mentality is when referring to a relationship with Jesus, which the series or book never mentioned, but it’s something that Hannah would have benefited from.
So, what do I have to say overall? Read the book. Watch the series. Be sure to get in the right “head space” as Tony would say. Take time to cry. Make time for breaks. This is not a binge series, folks. Not a one-night watch type of thing. Educate yourself on the signs of a mental crisis, because you never know who you could be saving. One word can save a life One hug can buy someone time You can change a life. It’s time to end the protests and end the bans, and “be the change.”
Words can build you up, and words can easily tear down, but here’s my plea for, parents, educators, and other role models: We can’t stand for another child or adult for that matter to be written off as a “Hannah Baker” or a “drama queen” It’s time that we all do something. “We can all be better people, somehow”- Clay Jenson.
I want to remind everyone that if you or someone that you know are struggling with suicidal thoughts, depression, or anxiety, resources and help are available. Listed below are resources for those in need.