13 reasons to watch with caution

By: Mallory Mitnick

Some people suffer in silence while others go out with a bang; Hannah Baker did both. For those readers that are not familiar with the novel “13 Reasons Why”, Hannah Baker is the main character and victim and also the protagonist in the new hit Netflix original series based on the novel.  The streaming site recently turned Jay Asher’s 2007 hit novel into a series, and it is blowing up the Netflix world.  Directed by Selena Gomez, the show follows 12 high school students as they try to piece together stories on cassette tapes left behind by Hannah Baker. On the tapes, she reveals stories of sexual harassment, bullying, rumors, and even rape. Within each tape she provides detailed reasons including the name of the person who contributed to her dismay.

The tapes are delivered to a classmate that is responsible for passing the tapes down the line to the next responsible classmate. The series takes place with Clay Jensen, tape 11, receiving the cassettes and listening to them. As Clay listens to the tapes, he realizes how it’s the “little things” that can really affect a person, and how difficult it is to know what is truly happening in someone’s life. The series is told through the eyes of a teenager, thus making this a very popular show for high schoolers. It is ironic that all 13 episodes are released at one.  The questions remains…will you allow the episodes to unfold naturally in the manner that Clay goes through them, or will you binge watch your way through all 13 episodes in one sitting, much like the other 12 students?

However, this show is considered controversial by parents and teachers, and it is argued by many that the show glorifies suicide.  Suicide among teenagers is not a joking matter or a movie scene, it is a very real topic. Netflix has rated the show for mature audiences, and it is imperative that teenagers be supervised by parents if allowed to watch the show.  It is also suggested that parents take an active role and use the show as a stepping stone to conversations regarding the topics with their teen. These are sensitive topics which should not be taken lightly.


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