Why 'Thirteen Reasons Why' is the Series We Need

Take yourself back to middle school, there was this book, you know the one.  It was peculiar. Everyone was reading it, and they had been since 2007–it was just this book that everyone read. I remember after I read it, there was news of Selena Gomez being in an adaption of it.  Even at twelve, I knew there was no way that this book could simply be in a movie. In a sense, I’m glad I didn’t get this adaption as quickly. Thirteen hours isn’t enough for this novel. There should be more, you want more and that’s the point. It’s been 10 years since Thirteen Reasons Why was published and I look at it from two perspectives. I look at it from the girl who read it in middle school, which is a chaos of bullying and hormones and emotions. I also look at is from the perspective of a 19 year old college student who just finished binge watching it.

When I read the book, I remember thinking how insane it was. Instagram was released on all app stores a year later and the book started to make more sense; Snapchat came along the year after increasing that idea.  As I sit here seven years, I can’t help but think about how different it is and how the series showed that. It’s been ten years since the novel was published, but just last year NPR wrote an article on how suicide rates continue to climb in America, especially in teenage girls. See, the series gives us another prospective, reading the book as a person who grew up with technology constanty changing.  It's different than how our parents grew up or even the people a few years ahead of us in school. Say the book takes place in 2005, the main character, Hannah Baker would have been born around 1988. The novel's bullying and the bullying we know today is different. Then add in that the generation that read this book and now watches the series knows today's bullying which the series shows.  It takes this story that's been at the back of everyone who read it forever agos mind and puts it in 2017. It shows how technology has changed bullying and keeps true to the story. 

Image from TV Guide.

I remember reading Thirteen Reasons Why and asking myself why? Now I hate that I don't ask myself why because I'm a young woman under 20, I know. I see what's been said about other women, but then I wonder: has anyone actually done anything about it? There's a point in the series where the characters ask themselves that, it got me asking why again. Why is it that we let these thing happen? Why do we tear others down instead of building them up?  Why have we let this problem get worse to the point that there are suicides in children ages 10-14? At age 10 I still played with barbies and there are children who have killed themselves. In January, two girls at two seperate times both killed themselves on Facebook Live. Yet when I watched this series it only reminded me how little the people who could intervene care. As a society we expect the faculty of the schools' children attend to protect and help them but have they ever? I've never witnessed it myself and I've sat in the counslers office chair too many times. 

You see the show just helps highlight how we use these things as a mask, like they can't touch us. That online isn't like in person, that there's no real consequences. Likewise we see these consequences play out in an incredible fashion. How tragic is it though, that things are played out that way? I hear more about the show being a "trigger warning" than the fact that this is the reality we live in. It's real life–reality is a "trigger warning." Consequences have actions and Thirteen Reasons Why takes them and spreads them out. The consequence for those actions was death, but it's also the consequence in reality because one person every 16 minutes commits suicide; and for every one suicide there are 25 attempts. This isn't something that can be hidden and this show proves it. To truly wrap your mind around it, watch this show because it's real and it can show a person things. You can't sugar coat the fact that we live in a world where 10 year olds kill themselves, where 12 year olds commit suicide on Facebook Live, where we see teens constantly being belittled and torn down until they think death is the only option. Thirteen Reasons Why doesn't give me an answer and it shouldn't give you one either.  It should though make you ask why we live this way, why this story became more real after 10 years. And why the statistics are growing in young teens and young women. Most of all it should make you mad, upset, angry and you should realize we have to ask why. 

Header Image from MTV UK.