Review: 13 Reasons Why

13 reasons why“13 Reasons Why” is a high school themed drama/crime series which tells a story of a suicide of a teenage girl, Hannah Baker. Perhaps it was my recent 30th bday that encouraged my to indulge my inner teenager and binge on this series, but I have no regrets about watching it.

The series has an interesting narrative structure. Hannah leaves behind a loooong suicide note in the form of tapes. The recordings explain why she killed herself, giving 13 reasons for her deed. Each reason is a different person she encountered in high school who hurt and failed her in some way. I guess it’s questionable whether someone on the verge of taking their own life would have so much integrity to devise such a sophisticated tool of postmortem revenge, but it watches well…

The protagonist of “13 Reasons Why” is bullied and sexually harassed and she’s very much on her own with her problems. She struggles to make friends because of a reputation she got for something she didn’t do. Her parents are facing some financial trouble and they’re mostly focused on making the ends meet. Hannah is just surviving, going every day to a place that horrible things happen to her and she can tell no one about her suffering. Every time she attempts to improve her situation it backfires and she seemed to be deemed to eventually give up. Perhaps it’s a matter of perspective, but have you ever been a bullied teenager? It does feel like tomorrow doesn’t bring anything but pain and lots of kids more or less seriously contemplate suicide.

To tell exactly what the kids do to a protagonist, would be too much of a spoiler. I can only say that unfortunately after very believable high school story till mid season, the plot starts to escalate and at some point you just watch it being like “Right, well, I wonder what else is going to happen to her now”. As truly EVERYTHING happens to Hannah,  her suicide almost seems logical. The creators (or rather the writer as the series is a faithful adaptation of a novel) should have made a life story of a teenager who’s bullied and so overwhelmed by her reality that she stops to believe there’s anything else out there. It’s an American mainstream product after all, so perhaps my expectations are unrealistically high.

The series is too dramatic but it talks about important issues. Apart from the obvious main theme of suicide, the show emphasizes that parents and teachers of teenagers have no idea who the children are. Teenagers drink, have sex, take drugs, are horrible to one another and none of this is known to adults. Unless a kid ends up being knocked up, addicted or fails at school such things usually remain hidden. Of course teenagers prefer to keep their secrets to themselves, but it’s partially because parents and teachers are rather willing not to know too much. Often if children try to open up, they’re shouted at and end up in trouble, which discourages their further honesty.

To sum up, “13 Reasons Why” is an interesting series and an attempt to talk about serious issues. I’m not sure whether it’s a great show for a troubled teenager who may get wrong ideas, but it could certainly serve a parent or a teacher. Also, anyone who was ever bullied could watch it as a reminder of how far they’ve gone from there.

 

 

 

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8 comments

  1. Andrea · September 6

    I watched the show, several times! Definitely a good one. In the last episode when the sing “Vienna” started playing I was close to tears.
    What does bug me is why she never talked to her parents. They seemed like good, reasonable people!
    I am very curious for season 2! I hope they will tell more about Hannah’s past, before she lived in this town

    Liked by 1 person

    • zlotybaby · September 6

      Thank you for your comment! Her parents looked quite focused on the money issues so perhaps she didn’t want to talk to them? She did mention a few times that she had no friends and her parents seemed a bit dismissive. I’m assuming she had some experience with them minimalising her teenage problems which parents often do. Is there going to be a season 2? I haven’t heard anything about it!

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      • Andrea · September 7

        Yes! there will be a 2nd season! The internet suggests “some time in 2018”. Pretty vague, but I am quite a bit looking forward to it!
        Besides, the parents, some other things could be criticized about the series, e.g. when Jessica was being harassed, Hannah also didn’t do anything, but simply put the blame on that guy (can’t remember his name).
        But anyhow, it’s easy to judge from the sideline, we all might have reacted the same in such occasion.
        I enjoy your review. It’s very well written! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • zlotybaby · September 7

        Something to look forward to. I’m curious what they’ll come up with in terms of the plot in next season.

        I agree. Hannah definitely blamed others a lot instead of actually taking responsibility. Also, I had a feeling that she wanted to be popular and be with the popular kids. Surely, there were some other people at school who were more genuine? She perceived her life in a very negative way, but then isn’t it something that teenagers just do? As you say, it’s easy to judge so who knows how you or I would have coped with her circumstances. Thank you, Andrea! I’m glad you liked my review 🙂

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      • Andrea · September 7

        Same here!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Kelly · September 7

    I really understood everything that Hannah was going through, because i can relate. I really encourage parents to watch this TV series because i believe that it is a real eye opener to those who don’t understand what Depression & Suicide is, also what can lead up to it. The understanding of why a person feels the way they do is hard to explain, because you would have to be going through what that person is to get the just of it. But When a person is physically & mentally drained from situations like Hannah’s, then searching for help from those who he or she thought would be there to support but wasn’t there. I would also like to say that i’m from New Zealand & New Zealanders have had it pretty bad from depression & Suicide.

    Liked by 1 person

    • zlotybaby · September 8

      Hi Kelly! Thank you for your reply! I agree it’s an important series for parents to watch. Teenage problems may seem minor to them, but they mean everything to their children and that’s all that matters. Hannah felt extremely lonely and stopped believing anything can change and unfortunately this is how a lot of teenagers feel like. They should never feel there’s no other way but to “end it all”… It’s so sad when someone takes their life away before it even truly started.

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  3. Pingback: Review: Grace and Frankie | rinse before use

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