13 Reasons Why: A Must See

I first heard about 13 Reasons Why on Pandora. Almost immediately, it caught my interest. Why would this girl kill herself and then leave a tape recording behind? Even before watching the show, I was captivated. I could not wait until March 31 rolled around so the show would be on Netflix.

The story revolves around a high school student, Clay Jenson, who returns home one afternoon to discover a package on his front porch. Inside the box, Clay finds a series of tapes recorded by Hannah Baker, a student who recently committed suicide. The tapes reveal the thirteen reasons why Hannah took her life.

At first glance, this show might seem like it is only about a girl who could not deal with the world around her so she took her own life, but it is so much more than that. 13 Reasons Why illustrates the harsh realities of high school. It addresses bullying and the impact that rumors can have on students, among other, more mature themes, such as sexual assault and rape.

Unlike other shows or movies about high school and high school students, 13 Reasons Why displays each of these themes in a realistic way; it did not shy away from the brutal issues that it addressed like so many other shows and movies do.

On each of the tapes that Hannah recorded, she told a story about the person who inspired that particular tape.

Her first tape addresses how a person’s image can be completely changed when an innocent picture is taken out of context.

The second revolves around betrayal by people who were considered to be friends.

The third tape illustrates the impact that slut shaming has on teenagers.

The fourth and fifth, similarly to the first, portray the effects that pictures have on people and on friendships between people.

The sixth and seventh tapes regard humiliation and revenge that other classmates desired to bring upon fellow students.

The eighth tape displays the impact that the exploitation of personal thoughts can have on a person.

The ninth tape shows the impact that sexual assault can have on people who have relationships to the person who was assaulted.

The tenth tape regards the impact that ignorance can have on the lives of other people.

The eleventh tape illustrates the impact that leaving somebody in their time of need has on both parties.

The twelfth tape highlights the harsh realities of rape and the shock that that has on a person.

The thirteenth one presents the lack of help that is offered for young adults who are dealing with depression.

Through listening to the tapes, the characters and the audience can get a glimpse into what Hannah was dealing with internally and how each of these events impacted her. The interactions that Hannah had with her classmates had a deeper impact than what the people around her could see. Inwardly, each of the encounters with her classmates collided with something that was going on in Hannah’s life, eventually causing a chain reaction leading to Hannah taking her life.

The show also does a superb job of displaying the realities of life for a high school student today. Cyberbullying was one of the topics in the show as well. When a picture of Hannah was taken and sent around the school, the audience can see the direct impact that it had on the relationships that Hannah has with the people around her. For the people who have either been bullied online or have participated in ridiculing a person online, this particular issue would resonate with them.

Slut shaming is another topic that is apparent throughout the show. When Hannah is singled out for having the “best ass”, she suddenly finds herself subject to even more mockery. She shifts from being a human being to being an object that the males around her can use to their own desire. With the abundant amount of technology available to teenagers, slut shaming has found itself running through the veins of teenage society.

As a member of the audience, I found it difficult to watch the show because of its honest portrayal of teenage life. At times, I found myself saying to myself “Wow, this brings back bad memories” and I am sure that other viewers were saying the same thing to themselves. Because of the show’s controversy and mature themes, it raises criticism from adults and parents (I know my parents were not too thrilled to have me watching it). Teenagers and young adults on the other hand, seem to find themselves drawn into the show within the first few episodes.

After finishing the show, I found myself crying. The graphic image of Hannah slitting her wrists remained in my mind where it will remain forever engraved. The reason this show is one that I would recommend is because of its faithfulness to the the lives of teenagers. It illustrates the lives of teenagers in an authentic way unlike so many other shows which follow high school students.

13 Reasons Why displays the truths behind being a teenager: the desire to separate oneself from their parents and establish independence, the confusion of growing up and the emotional rollercoaster that is high school. While other shows tend to shy away from mature themes, 13 Reasons Why embraces them face first, generating an authentic feeling throughout the show that can be appreciated by any young adult.


Suicide should not be an option. There are help centers and support groups that you can seek out if you are thinking about suicide. Please talk to somebody if you are considering suicide.

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