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The Milton Measure

Netflix Releases Series, 13 Reasons Why, Based on Novel

by on Friday, April 14th, 2017

I read the book 13 Reasons Why when I was in the sixth grade and first dipping my toe into the Young Adult genre. The grim plot of the book kept me turning the pages quickly, at once enthralled and horrified by the dark subject matter. From sexual assault to drunk driving to suicide, the contents of the book had me reeling for weeks after.

13 Reasons Why, published in 2007, hit number one on The New York Times Bestseller List in July of 2011. The premise of the book is that high schooler Clay Jensen returns home from school one day to a mysterious package on his doorstep. Inside the package are seven tapes, recorded by his deceased classmate Hannah Baker. Playing the tapes, Clay realizes that the thirteen recordings each narrate one of the thirteen reasons Hannah killed herself. Clay eventually learns that he is the thirteenth person to receive the tapes, the final person cited as a cause of Hannah’s suicide. The book hinges on the mystery of what crime Clay, the seemingly innocent protagonist, could have committed against Hannah to earn his place at the end of the list of perpetrators.

On March 31st, Netflix dropped thirteen episodes of its original series 13 Reasons Why based on the book by Jay Asher. The show stars Dylan Minnette as Clay Jensen and Katherine Langford as Hannah Baker, and is produced by Selena Gomez. The book was originally meant to be turned into a movie starring Gomez. However, she decided her notoriety could interfere with what she deemed to be a “passion project,” describing to The Times that she wanted the show “to be credible.” The show has been well received, earning 9.1/10 stars on IMDB and a 90% on Rotten Tomatoes. A Forbes Magazine contributor even called the show “one of the best original dramas Netflix has made in several years.”

The 13 Reasons Why series has been appraised for presenting an honest and unflinching portrait of high school, a feat that Netflix can accomplish given its freedom from the censorship of broadcast television. The teens on the show use the F-word, and use it often. The bullying shown is cruel, biting, and unpolished.

To some critics, the book’s television adaptation has been considered a glorification of suicide. In the story, Hannah “gets back” at those who have victimized her by calling them out and leaving them with the burden of responsibility for her death. Some reviewers have pointed out that this presentation of suicide as a method of revenge could lead impressionable teenagers to take similar measures as a way to get justice.

Despite its controversial messages, 13 Reasons Why, has drawn in a wide audience with its dark and honest content. The show has stirred up conversations about suicide, self-harm, bullying, and sexual assault – issues unfortunately

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Posted by on Apr 14 2017. Filed under Arts & Entertainment. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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