I recently watched the tv adaptation of Jay Asher’s book 13 Reasons Why. I personally really enjoyed the show and thought it was extremely well done. The show can be very triggering for suicide, rape, depression, self-harm, and sexual assault; and should not be watched if anything of those things are triggering for you.
It’s been a few a years since I read the book, enough that I didn’t remember much about how the plot unfolds and I’m not fully sure what the differences between the book and show are. With that in mind, this post will focus only on the tv adaptation.
Before we go any farther, there will be spoilers included in this post.
I’ve heard people saying this show glorifies/romanticizes suicide. I disagree with that, the way I interpreted the show was as an honest and extremely raw portrayal of suicide and possible circumstances leading to the decision of suicide.
It shows how small things, that you may not even realise you’re doing, can have a profound effect on someone. Everyone does bad things sometimes, and instead of trying to deny it and hide from it, it’s better to admit it. Hold yourself accountable, apologize, and learn from your mistakes. It won’t make everything better, but it is a start to being better, to doing better.
Some people view the portrayal of Hannah’s suicide, and the tapes, as revenge to get back at the people who have hurt her. I didn’t see it that way. Hannah’s tapes are similar to when you’re upset with someone so you write a letter to them that you have no intention of actually sending, except she did send them. Maybe she did want to hurt them, or maybe her goal was to inspire change. She made 12 tapes and in doing so ended up feeling well enough that she wanted to give life a second chance, to get help.
The show also displays that getting help isn’t always as easy as people think. Hannah tries to reach out for help, but it doesn’t go very well. Mr. Porter even plays into rape culture, trying to discredit what Hannah was saying before even hearing the full story. He’s a horrible counsellor all around.
I think the point of this adaptation was to show the honest, raw, and extremely uncomfortable side of bullying, suicide, and the ignorance of adults. The only unrealistic aspect of this show is how many tattoos these teenagers have.
This is only my opinion and my experience with the show. You may very well disagree with me, favouring the opinions I’m disagreeing with.