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13 Reasons Why- Netflix Series Review

Andi Blair

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“Wow,” that was the only thing I could say when I finished watching 13 Reasons Why. It was the worst thing I’ve ever had to see, but the best thing I’ve ever could have.

If you haven’t already heard, 13 Reasons Why is a Netflix series based off of a novel by Jay Asher. Simply put, the story is built around a high school girl named Hannah Baker who takes her own life before the story even begins. Before Hannah killed herself she recorded 13 reasons why she chose to do so onto seven tapes. These tapes are to be passed out to each person that supposedly contributed to Hannah killing herself.

The first episode starts out with seventeen-year-old Clay Jensen. Clay is a beautiful character all the way around. He wouldn’t hurt a fly, he is completely in love with Hannah Baker, and he cannot figure out why his name would be anywhere on Hannah’s tapes. Personally, what kept me watching for a good amount of time was a line Hannah said in the very first episode: “And you, lucky number 13, you can take the tapes straight to hell”. I wanted to know who number 13 was.

I was not prepared for the bloodbath that was this series. The first few episodes made me think that I could get through the story without feeling anything. Let me warn you if you start thinking the way I did; the events Hannah talks about get worse, way worse and they forced me to feel. This series brought to life a number of topics I’ve always tried to pretend didn’t exist. I wanted to skip through some parts because my innocent mind couldn’t handle the fact that these things happen and they happen every day. I felt like I couldn’t skip through these graphic scenes, though if I had, I would’ve felt guilty. I felt like I couldn’t just watch it, I had to experience it.

13 Reasons Why touched on so much more than suicide. It made the pain, abuse, bullying and unintentional blindness so many suffer from so real to me. So real that I felt like I wasn’t watching something of fiction by the end of the last episode. I think thats exactly what I was suppose to feel, though, and thats something I constantly search for in any type of story. Obviously there are things I will never understand that happened in this series unless it happens to me, but it definitely slapped the rose colored glasses right off my face.

I’ve heard people say that Hannah’s story romanticizes suicide. I can see why some would feel that way in the beginning of the series, considering it follows Clay Jensen’s experience while listening to Hannah’s tapes. However, that is not the way I interpreted it in the slightest. Clay was never the main character to me, only Hannah. Clay wanted change after Hannah’s suicide and was severely troubled by everything the tapes revealed. He was a representation of what those who watch should mirror. There was nothing romantic about anything that happened in Hannah Bakers story. I talk about her like a real, living person not because this was such a carefully woven story that it made me rethink my entire existence after my iPad screen went black. I talk about Hannah Baker like a real person because her fictional story made me realize that she is a real person.

My initial reaction after finishing the series was simple because I was just speechless. Once that moment of silence passed, I literally said “wow.” Then I thought about the ones closest to me who have depression or deal (or dealt) with bullying, myself included. My third thought was that I wanted people around me to watch this. My final thought is that I have nothing bad to say about 13 Reasons Why and that you need to watch it.

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13 Reasons Why- Netflix Series Review