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Netflix finally released the 13 episode mini series 13 Reasons Why, based on the novel by Jay Asher. The book, released 10 years ago, has been read by various ages from middle school to adult and has become an instant classic.
The story follows 17 year old Clay Jensen, as he discovers a shoe box left on his doorstep containing 13 cassette tapes recorded by classmate Hannah Baker, just before she took her own life. Each tape is a reason why young, beautiful Hannah is dead. Each tape tells a story. Each tape incriminating other classmates in her death. The episodes are numbered in order of the tapes and focuses on that particular tape until the end.
You watch Clay unravel the mystery while also watching how other classmates lives are being affected by the threat of their secrets and lies being exposed. Friendships area tested, and many are in denial.
I was instantly sucked into this series, and having read the book 10 years ago (I still own it), I never imagined I would like it as much as I did. Even my husband was sucked into it, and he's not into these kinds of stories.
You will find yourself questioning characters motives, feeling compassion for them, and even down right hating them. This series will make you cry... a lot. It's a brutal truth come to life on the consequences of our words and actions. Having been bullied in Middle and High School and even as an adult, I felt Hannah's emotions. I lived Hannah's truths. I even contemplated suicide both as a teen as well as an adult because of it and I've self harmed. I'm also now a parent who worries about her children, and for that reason, I feel pain as a parent who worries about bullying in my children's school.
They picked the perfect cast to bring these characters to life. The acting and storytelling in this series is remarkable, and they definitely do not shy away from the important issues at hand here, even if they are hard to watch. For instance, there are a few brutal rape scenes that are no doubt going to make you uncomfortable, but as a victim myself, I can tell you this is reality. The scene where Hannah takes her own life is also very hard to watch, and the part where her parents find her will make you completely lose it.
We, as a society, need 13 Reasons Why. We need to be forced to see what every single day is like for victims of bullying, the bullies themselves, the school, and the families of those involved. We need this book and series to shock us, wake us, into changing and being more aware of our surroundings and of others.
Watch the entire series on Netflix