A couple paragraphs why…
Written by: Olivia Ware
At the end of March, the acclaimed book “Thirteen Reasons Why” became a Netflix television series. They released the entire first season, which consisted of 13 episodes, all at once.
In the story, Hannah Baker has left 13 tapes with thirteen different reasons why she killed herself on them. It is quite a dark and deep storyline, and it is not meant to be taken lightly. Clay Jensen, the narrator and main character, is on the tapes but does not know why.
The story follows Clay as he listens to all the tapes and attempts to discover what – or who – pushed Hannah over the edge.
Having been a fan of this book since middle school, I was very excited to see it come to life. However, a lot of the reactions to it have begun to ruin it for me.
Some people on social media say things such as, “After watching 13 Reasons Why, I can see how my actions affect others. Always be kind.”
It definitely should not have taken a television show or book for people to realize their actions have consequences and to be nice to those around them.
One thing I do not believe the show did well is depict what was going on in Hannah’s mind. She was not just some whiny teenage girl who had been treated poorly by a few of her peers; she was a girl struggling with depression.
This show brought awareness to suicide, but not to mental health. It also somewhat romanticizes suicide, and blames other people for Hannah’s inner struggles.
If this show had accurately portrayed victims of mental health, I do not think people would be as upset. Some people with depression may have triggers that would set them off if they saw.
For example, some suicide attempt survivors may not ever want to see a razor blade, let alone a reenactment of a suicide, but 13 Reasons Why shows both of these. In the last episode of the show, the viewers see all of Hannah’s suicide – there is not a detail left out. This is difficult for anyone to watch, and I had to fast forward through it.
All in all, the show could have done a much better job of portraying and bringing awareness to mental illness, and it could have romanticized the act of suicide much less.
People should already know to treat others with respect; it should not take a show for them to learn this.