13 Reasons Why: Review and Suicide Awareness/Prevention


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“Hey it’s me, Hannah— Hannah Baker.”

Ah, another book getting created into a film. Cue the array of die-hard fans who scream from the top of their lungs that “the book is better than the show” and feel the need to point out every missing detail or skipped scene. Cue the people like myself. But despite “13 Reasons Why” being a hit (both the book and the series), the criticism hit an all time low. Seems like there’s no mob of fans or no hate mail getting sent out the producers. Lucky them.

High school; Liberty High School to be exact. A place some may describe as the best time of your life, while others argue the worst. It’s the place where some of your fondest memories, biggest decisions, and best friendships are all created. But it is also a headquarters for bullying, and despite the zero tolerance posters hung on every corner of every hallway there is always one yearbook student getting pushed against the lockers or one girl getting called names as she walks to her homeroom.

As the TRW series begins, the students of Liberty High are all recently struck by the news that Hannah Baker (Katherine Langlord) has committed suicide. Soon Clay Jensen (Dylan Minnette), a particular friend of Hannah’s, receives a box of tapes on his front steps— 13 tapes to be exact, each labeled with blue nail polish. As the story unfolds, viewers learn for every tape is a reason why Hannah Baker killed herself (hence 13 Reasons Why). And along with each reason is a subject, a person, who is responsible for her death.

In a collection of flashbacks and flashforwards, the audience gets a glimpse of the truth. Executive producers Tom McCarthy and Selena Gomez portray the story of Hannah Baker in a captivating and intense way. You can’t help but to feel a pull on your heart strings as you watch Hannah go through her traumatic experiences. With an incredible cast, the point gets more than across. It is felt. You cry with the characters, you feel for them, you get angry, and you almost feel as if you too are attending Liberty High School.

From Justin Foley (Brandon Flynn) to Courtney Crimson (Michele Selene Ang), one by one they all hear their tapes; the things they did that contributed to Hannah’s suicide. A trend of lies, betrayal, embarrassment, and fear all become far too familiar with not only the characters but the viewers. Each character tries to cover up the mistakes, forget the past, and dismiss Baker’s death— all except Clay. Jensen, current owner of the tapes, decides to bring justice for Hannah Baker and all she went through. Although Jensen, too, is on the tapes, his story teaches a universal message to all:

Do not be a bystander to bullying. Do not tolerate bullying. If you see someone being bullied or harassed in any way, report them. If you are being bullied, you are not alone. Contact your parent or guardian and tell them immediately or any authoritative figure. Someone will listen.

As a high school student, this show is all too real. It shows the cold, hard truth some of us face everyday and won’t admit. It reveals the struggles and pain some endure caused by others, and in a world like ours today, it’s getting worse. The technology of today is making it easier to send out anonymous, hateful messages, humiliate someone, and even send threats. But this can and will not be tolerated. Suicide rates among 10 to 14-year-olds have grown more than 50 percent over the last three decades (The American Association of Suicidology, AAS). It’s crazy to think that your words can have such an impact on someone’s life. But it is important to know that if you are experiencing bullying at any degree you are not alone, and you definitely don’t have to deal with this alone.

If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide or is being bullied call this hotline immediately:

National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255

National Bullying Hotline: 1-800-273-TALK