When my friend told me to watch the new Netflix hit 13 Reasons Why I asked him for one reason why I should. He told me it was the best thing he’d ever watched. When a 16 year old says that you need to listen.
His brief summary sold me, “A girl makes 13 tapes and sends them to the people that are responsible for her suicide.”
A few days later, a friend and extensive reader said, “The Netflix show is really good, but the book was better.”
Nothing more was required; I sat down for a 13 hour binge.
As I watched the closing credits I sent my friends each a thank you note. They were right.
13 Reasons Why has restored my faith that people can make shows that matter. This Is Us, the NBC show that debuted this year, gave me hope that we would go back to making shows that didn’t rely on fluff. 13 Reasons Why crossed the finish line.
The story covers many topics as it delves into why Hannah would make the ultimate decision. Bullying, rape, the social media frenzy, neglect, words left unspoken. I think most people can see a glimmer of themselves in one of the 13 scenarios. It’s hard to watch. Yes, devastating in places, but I have recommended it to everyone I know.
What shocked me were the media reports about the Vancouver School Board coming out with a warning about the series. The airwaves were filled with experts talking about how the show glamorized suicide. I yelled at the radio, “Have you even watched it?” I could tell most of them hadn’t. I read the VSB message to parents; it said the show should be a part of a conversation. Talk to the young people around you. Watch the show together. Talk about the Reasons Why.
The show reminded me what is was like to be 16 years old again. Did my parents know anything I was doing? The big difference between then and now, when I was young we had no social media. There was everything else, but we had no way to flame the fire into an unstoppable frenzy.
Thank God. I may not have survived.
Here are 13 reasons why I want you to watch…
1. The writing is perfect.
2. The actors become the characters. You will never forget them.
3. The simple devise to indicate the flashbacks is clever and pure genius.
4. This is happening with teenagers right now.
5. The violence is not gratuitous.
6. You can watch the series and then read the book.
7. You can read the book and then watch the series.
8. My young friend will know his opinion matters and I’ve told everyone.
9. The soundtrack is brilliant.
10. The characters are diverse without trumpeting the fact.
11. You never know what will change someone’s mind.
12. Because kids are dying and we can do something about it.
13. Stop reading this blog, go watch the show, then talk to someone.