13 Reasons Why: The Show That Strikes the Core
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Dating back to four years ago, I was in high school getting ready to graduate and start my college life. Then, a book came across my way entitled 13 Reasons Why” by Jay Asher. I was going to through senioritis and did not want to read it but my friends encouraged me to read the book as they said you cannot put the book down. That night, I sat on my read and started reading the first chapter. By the end of the night, I finished the book which was the first time I ever finished a book in one day.
The plot of the book is high school student Hannah Baker kills herself and many people are left wondering why she did it. The book follows her friend Clay Jensen as he is trying to recover from the suicide. One day, he receives a package which includes tapes containing the reasons behind her death. Throughout the story, he goes from past to present as Clay is listening to the tapes and dealing with his emotions in the process
Once the book was finished, I immediately was struck to the core of how emotional the book was and how it can relate to high school students who at times feel lost. As the weeks went on, my friends and I thought this would make a great movie or television show. One day, it was in the news that Selena Gomez would star as Hannah Baker in the movie version which got me excited about it. However, as the years went on, it looked dismal that production would even start because there was no news about it. That would change.
In 2015, Netflix announced that it would release 13 episodes of the television show and Gomez would serve as an executive producer. The show had a lot of great people behind the production of the show including “Spotlight” director Tom McCarthy, coming off an Academy Award for Best Director, Screenplay and Picture. Also, the majority of cast was relatively unknowns or up and coming actors. The most well known actor is Kate Walsh (Grey’s Anatomy) and Derek Luke (Friday Night Lights).
This time around, I was very eager to see what the television show would be like as if it would strike the same core and emotions as the book. The show exceeded expectations and left us wondering about a season two surprisingly but I won’t spoil anything for the fans. Once you watch the first episode, you are immediately drawn into the story as it is already revealed that Hannah killed herself. We are then left to following Clay as he is the shy but good kid who can’t hurt a fly.
Once he starts listening to the tapes, then the story kicks off from there and you begin binge watching. I thought I was going to watch one episode that night, I ended up watching 3. The story is emotionally heavy that you cannot turn pause on your device. Katherine Langford, as Hannah Baker, shines in this role as Selena Gomez could not have had the emotional range as she does in the role. Langford deserves a Golden Globe for this role because of the range of emotions that Hannah goes through in each episode. Your heart goes out to Hannah as the episodes go on.
Clay is the character that at times is going to drive you crazy but that same character that you love. Dylan Minnette, as Clay, portrays the role as it was in the book. He is mysterious, shy, and very emotional. Dylan makes you want to root for this character because Clay is one of the only good aspects of Hannah’s life. He find out Clay’s secret in the later episodes which makes you drawn to him even more.
In the show, they expand the roles of the parents. Walsh, as Hannah’s mother, plays the role in awe. No mother should ever go through what she is going through and has your heart go out to her. She makes you emotional throughout the show as the father is just trying to move on. The student’s behind Hannah’s reasons make you hate them but love their committed performances. Tony makes you want to punch a wall anytime he shows up. Justin gives you mixed feelings throughout but not going to spoil anything.
Overall, this is the show to watch as bullying is still happening and needs to be talked about. You do not have to read the book to watch this book as the show is relatable to the book but expands the emotional depth as well. These episodes get very heavy later as viewer discretion is advised shows up. During your free time, watch 13 Reasons Why as you will think different of making fun of somebody. Suicide is never the answer and we should always help those in need.